‘I can dislocate my shoulder in my sleep’
I’m now 22 and I’ve learnt how to limit breakages by moving carefully, but I still dislocate a joint about five times a week. I can be walking down the road, turning a tap, opening a jar or reaching for my coat and I dislocate my fingers, wrists, ankles or toes. Also in my sleep, I can turn over and suddenly my shoulder has dislocated. I’ve even learnt how to pop them back in myself.
To help me deal with my illness I had counselling and pain-management courses, which were useful, and I got a job in a chemist. Living with chronic pain can be exhausting and I’m prone to picking up infections, which can mean taking rounds of antibiotics. It meant time off work and eventually I found the job too much.
I now work as an office assistant, which is much less demanding, and have an understanding boss. I really love my job. It helps me feel normal. Two years ago I also met my fiancé Jake Allen, 22. We’re not in a rush to get married, but we want to have a family when we do. We know it will be hard for me and I may have to spend the last few months of pregnancy in a wheelchair but Jake is so supportive I know he’ll always be there.
I may still have to be careful not to hurt myself when brushing my hair, but it just goes to show you can get through anything when you’ve got people who love you. I’m looking forward to the future for the first time.
A tissue section of human skin with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome stained with Hematoxylin