Humans of ME/CFS
I am 23 years old, and I've just been diagnosed with ME after being sick for nearly six years. I was a professional ballet dancer, dancing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet when I started to feel ill. There were a few instances where I can imagine this all began, but I always had a weak immune system. I had a few bouts of infection from various illnesses and surgeries.
From then on, I began to feel weak and ill. I was dancing my little heart out and couldn't cope after a while of pushing myself to my limits. It got to the point where I had pushed myself too far and things got out of control. I was hospitalized and had to return home to British Columbia. I thought my body was just telling me to rest and recuperate and that I could return to Winnipeg after a few weeks off.
Two years later, I found myself still ill with no answers. I went to countless doctors and naturopaths and never found myself bouncing back. I would explain how I gained 40 pounds in what felt like one day. I felt dizzy, nauseous, had vision disturbances, menstrual issues, gut issues, almost no energy, which caused anxiety, mood swings, depression. I felt like I had lost my identity. I decided to audition for the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C. I was having serious performance withdrawals and there's less issues about body image with actors/singer/dancers.
I was accepted and started in September 2012. I thought perhaps getting back into dancing and exercise and being in an environment that I loved again would help me feel better. It did to some degree, as I was running off adrenaline. However, I would crash like I'd never crashed before. Between each year in the summer holiday, I would come home to my family and hardly do anything all summer to recuperate for the next year. This was a three-year program, and I graduated in February. I am so glad I attended the college as I now have a potentially promising career in Musical Theatre.
Since February however, I have felt worse than ever. I had a big crash just after graduation and didn't get out of bed for about three weeks. In June, I got a call from the Complex Chronic Diseases Program at B.C. Women’s Hospital to say I will be starting at their program. It felt a bit like fate, as I was planning to move home and save some money and recuperate again before starting my career.
I've since started the program, started a treatment plan and got a supportive set up at home with a flexible job to allow me to rest, but still save some money. I will be here for a minimum of a year, but looking forward to entering remission and starting my career in Toronto or even London! I have hope that we will raise awareness and all live happily ever after!