“It was like a horror movie” – Woman lost “half of her blood” in routine surgery while battling a mysterious illness described as “laziness”

Pamela Rose led an active social life, worked out at the gym a few times a week, and held a managerial position at a bank that required her to travel across the country.

But then his body started to fail him.

She remembers having a weakened immune system since her teenage years, but it wasn’t until her late 30s that her busy lifestyle finally caught up with her.

Pamela had the impression on several occasions that she was falling with something, and it became a common joke among her colleagues that she would be the first to catch a cold or an insect circulating in the office.

However, she felt that her mysterious illness was often mistaken for laziness, including by doctors, and it wasn’t until she tried to recover from an A&E stint that her health issues were taken seriously. , which ultimately led to a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

The 50-year-old woman, who was 39 at the time, had to have her tonsils removed because several episodes of tonsillitis had resulted in tonsillitis – an abscess behind the tonsils that gradually began to close her windpipe.

But after the surgery, the wound became infected and burst, causing blood to flow down his throat.

“The anesthesiologist had to squeeze my throat to keep me from choking on my blood as I sank,” Pamela told the Manchester Evening News.

“I lost half of my blood. It was like a horror movie.

“It was routine surgery, but my body was so exhausted by the time my defenses just weren’t nearly as strong as they needed to be.

“Having tonsils as an adult is a bigger problem, they told me there was a two percent risk of bleeding, and I was one of the unlucky ones.”

Pamela spent five days in hospital after being rushed to A&E

Pamela spent five days in the hospital trying to recover. She had taken a week off in September 2009 for surgery, but did not return to work for nine months.

Before having her tonsils removed, she had periods of sick leave from work, but was grateful to be a remote worker at her home in Bristol so it was more manageable.

She was bouncing back and forth between feeling bad and then good again, but the gaps between them started to fade.

“Symptoms of chronic fatigue trigger what is called post-exercise discomfort (PEM),” she explained.

“You get that uneasy feeling where you feel bad, it’s not just a feeling of tiredness, it’s like you’ve got a bad cold or the flu, and you feel really lousy.

“Looking back, I’ve been slipping in for a while. I had glandular fever in my late teens, my immune system had always been a bit weak and it peaked in 2009 when I kept getting sick on several occasions.

She says that at the time, there was not much talk about the disease, before Instagram and YouTube, without online resources.

“Once I got to the point where my body had to shut down, the doctors started saying it was something like CFS.”

In her worst days, she was bedridden and homebound for the first six months after the operation.

Getting dressed would be a feat, she said, and making yourself look “presentable” was another victory.

“I couldn’t do much at all. My husband must have pushed me up the stairs because the sheer effort of walking up the stairs was, I guess, like having the energy of a 90 year old man.

“You have to think very carefully about everything you do and you lose all sense of your ‘get up and go’.

“It was really horrible, and all the time I’m in pain, there’s no cure.”

Pamela and her husband Pete on their wedding day in 2017 – “It was a month later that I finally allowed myself to admit that I had fully recovered”

Despite the heartbreaking ordeal of being admitted to A&E, Pamela says she is lucky in a way, because because medical intervention was needed, it meant that the weakness in her body had been recognized by the doctors, with a formal diagnosis in 2010.

But she believes that even if the incident had not happened, she would have continued to push her body, only to get caught.

She admits that she wasn’t listening to her body, and to others it seemed like everything was fine with her.

“I looked good, I didn’t have crutches, my arm wasn’t in a cast, on the days I felt good enough to look presentable, maybe I had it. ‘Seems like I haven’t got anything wrong with me,’ she said.

“People just didn’t understand, some still don’t understand today, but there was even less understanding back then.

“There were people who thought maybe I was just a little lazy, too careful.

“And usually if you’re sick you start to do a little more when you are better, like getting some fresh air while taking a walk, which my mom would encourage me to do, but with CFS it might work against it. productive.

“I don’t think there can be a lot of other health issues that have this level of debuff but with this level of misunderstanding or disbelief.”

After nine months of rebuilding her strengths, Pamela gradually returned to work and was back full time once a year.

But the only way she could do that was to put her work first, letting everything else fall out of the way.

This meant that she barely socialized and kept in touch with her friends.

Pamela and Pete – which was her biggest motivation to get better

“I worked for a few hours, then I rested, which continued for the next six years,” she said.

She still frequently had episodes of illness where she was struck with fatigue, overwhelming her for a day to a few weeks, which are described as “crashes”.

They performed at least four times a year, where she would have to take a week or two off work just to be sick.

They gradually pulled away from each other, as Pam began to figure out what was causing them.

She kept a journal of what she had done that day and how she felt, realizing what she could face.

“Back then and still today, you are told that only a small percentage of people make a full recovery, so you get fired from the medical experts, who tell you there is nothing they can do,” Pamela said.

“It took me years to sort it out on my own, and keeping a journal was a turning point. ”

She spotted things she was doing that weren’t helping. She found that noisy and busy environments kick in and can be “brain heavy”, while meeting only one friend at a time was easier to deal with than meeting a group.

Walking five minutes a day was also her limit, which she slowly increased.

Pamela back on her trip after suffering from CFS

“An important thing for anyone struggling with CFS is to regulate their energy – called ‘rhythm’ – which involves figuring out how much energy you have, deciding what you’re going to use it on each day without actually doing it. too much.

“Once I got the hang of my pace, life just got easier. ”

Pamela realized she was “back” in April 2017 and has made a full recovery since.

She had planned a wedding and was off on an adventurous honeymoon to Los Angeles, full of sightseeing.

“You only know that you have recovered in hindsight,” she continued.

“There is never a day when you wake up and you are clearly better. It is only by looking back that you think you have gradually been able to let go of your cautious approaches a bit.

“I felt wonderful. I was confident again to start living my life, but I kept a lot of useful things that brought me back.

Once she felt her journey with CFS was over, she began to use her experience to help others, giving advice to friends of friends, to people who asked if she could help them.

Pamela in Lanzarote in 2013 – “I was so happy that I was successful there, but I remember it was such an effort to navigate trips / flights etc, and I was exhausted the first few days . It was great to be on vacation, but looking back it still felt so bad. The only way for me to cope was to make sure that I was leveling my energy with each day. “

She found her calling to help others and quit her senior job at the bank to go back to school to qualify to become a fatigue coach in 2018.

“I don’t claim to have a cure, I support and guide, my clients find out what’s best for them,” said Pamela, who gives online consultations on Zoom.

“I call them Fatigue Rescue Trips and no two are alike.”

Some of its recent clients are those suffering from Long Covid – one of the lasting impacts of the pandemic, whose symptoms include chronic fatigue.

The REACT-2 study led by Imperial College London and involving more than half a million adults in England found that one in 20 had persistent symptoms of Covid-19.

The Department of Health and Social Affairs has invested £ 50million in research to support Long Covid projects, with clinics established across the country to help improve available treatment.

Pamela says there is a silver lining amid the devastating effects of the virus, with more awareness and conversation around CFS, resulting in new guidelines released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in October 2021 .

He recommends incorporating periods of rest into your daily routine as part of symptom management and developing good sleep habits.

While there is still no cure or medication, Pamela’s advice for those with Long Covid or chronic fatigue, or for those showing symptoms, is to see your GP, feed your body with healthy food, rest and watch what you use. energy on.

She added, “I have seen people achieve wonderful results and make a full recovery… be patient.”

Comments are closed.