two in­vis­i­ble ill­nesses

Jodie vlogs to of­fer oth­ers sup­port

Pick Me Up! - - HEALTH & HAP­PI­NESS - Jodie Ak­ers, 25, Leeds

I woke up in the night, vom­it­ing and in agony

Another month, another stom­ach bug. Since a nasty bout of glan­du­lar fever when I was 7, I seemed to catch a new ill­ness ev­ery few weeks.

In my early teens, I started suf­fer­ing dread­ful fa­tigue, and was con­stantly in pain.

Worse, I had ter­ri­ble seizures. I’d lost count of the num­ber of times I’d been to the doc­tor, but I still had no di­ag­no­sis.

By 2011, it’d got so bad that I had to give up my An­i­mal Care course at col­lege.

That same year, I sud­denly woke up in the mid­dle of the night, vom­it­ing and in agony.

I was rushed to hos­pi­tal, where doc­tors found that my bowel was twisted, and op­er­ated im­me­di­ately.

‘This usu­ally only hap­pens to peo­ple with Eh­lers-dan­los syn­drome,’ the doc­tor said.

A rare ge­netic con­di­tion, EDS causes joints to be­come hy­per­mo­bile and eas­ily dis­lo­cated, as well as pain.

I was shocked, but re­lieved to fi­nally know what was wrong with me.

But that’s not all…

I’ve also been di­ag­nosed with pos­tural or­tho­static tachy­car­dia syn­drome (POTS), which can de­velop sec­ondary to EDS.

POTS is an ab­nor­mal in­crease in heart rate that causes an im­bal­ance in the nerves that con­trol blood flow, lead­ing to dizzi­ness and fa­tigue.

Life isn’t easy with such de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tions. Some days the pain’s so bad that I can’t even walk, so I need a wheel­chair to get around.

I try to be as in­de­pen­dent as

I can, but my mum Ka­rina,

48, is al­ways on hand to help.

So many peo­ple out there suf­fer in­vis­i­ble ill­nesses, yet to look at us, peo­ple wouldn’t know how much pain we’re in.

I’ve set up a Youtube chan­nel and a web­site to of­fer sup­port and info to other suf­fer­ers.

I hope to stim­u­late more re­search into EDS.

As for me, I take each day as it comes, and will keep post­ing.

If I can make a dif­fer­ence to at least one per­son, then that’s enough for me.

Visit Jodie’s web­site at www.pot­saware.wee­

I try to stay pos­i­tive ev­ery day

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