My story begins about six years ago. I started to feel really dizzy and under the weather. Everywhere I went I was only able to take a few steps without having to take a break and sit down.
Over the next six weeks, I could not keep any food down, I was passing out and I had no appetite at all. I was suffering with terrible mood swings and I was constantly lightheaded.
I saw many different doctors who could not figure out what was wrong with me.
The last doctor sent me for a blood test. It was a Wednesday and the time was 4:00pm. At 9:00pm there was a knock at the door. It was the doctor!
The doctor explained to my mum and me that my potassium was at 9, which is life-threateningly high. An ambulance was called, much to the shock of my mum and me. We asked if we could wait for my dad to arrive but the doctor explained that I didn’t have that much time.
Getting into that ambulance was the scariest night of my life. Leaving my little girl and the fear of the unknown was awful. The paramedics were amazing and comforting though.
The following hours made me realize that the NHS is even more amazing than I thought. In the A and E, the doctors and nurses, without a doubt, saved my life that night. They were exceptional. It only took a few hours of questions and tests before they diagnosed me with Addison’s Disease.
They put me on an IV of life-saving steroids. I could feel it running through me and I began to feel better. It had become clear that my excessive drinking of Lucozade, a sports drink, over the past few weeks had been the one thing to keep my blood pressure high enough and it kept me alive. They moved me from the A and E to the critical care unit. I was hooked up to many machines and IV’s.
I remember the pain in my arm due to the constant checking of the blood pressure cuff and the longing for my mum to never leave me. I was too scared to sleep that night just hoping and praying that everything would be ok.
After a few days I was moved to a regular room and my little girl got to visit. I was strong enough to finally have a bath. I was eventually sent home with a bag of medications to take on a daily basis in order to sustain my life.
Six years have passed and I have good days and bad days. I am not the best at taking my medications but take it from me, they are your best friend. Take them. Do not miss them!
I miss things like waking up raring to go. I have read about so many different experiences with Addison’s Disease and my hope is that this very rare disease gets more awareness so people can understand it better. It’s hard to explain to people and for people to believe that one day you feel fine and the next you don’t feel good at all.
You can live a good life with Addison’s Disease. I enjoy many great weekends and still love my job in education. I have to just accept that I have to take each day as it comes. Have faith in myself and be strong.
If you are diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, you have to allow support from family and friends. Remember that you are in charge and you can deal with this diagnosis. You are stronger than you know.
Thank you for reading my story.
Awareness is Key!!