The ups and downs of living with a teen

ME Awareness Day 2017

May is ME Awareness month, and today is ME Awareness week, where we highlight and share about this awful chronic illness, that affects thousands of people young and old.

I wrote an awareness post last week, which you can read here, and I will be writing the next awareness post over the weekend.

I am going to write about our story and explain just how much this illness has affect all our lives.

My Daughter was 12 years old when she became ill with this horrible illness, she had gone away on holiday with my parents on a Cruise (something my parents did with her every year).  She came home and was really ill with what we thought was a virus.  She recovered and started her first year in Secondary school.  She loved it, she settled in very well, had a lovely circle of friends and had started to enjoy a little bit of freedom, from going to school and back on her own by bus, and out shopping in town with her friends.

Sadly, and looking back now, she never really recovered from returning home from holiday with her illness, she was not 100% and she would ring me or text me to ask me to pick her up after school as she felt unwell, or was too tired. We just put it down to her age, and settling in to her new school.  She also got lectured about bedtime, we have always been strict on school nights and we just thought she was chatting to friends after lights out.

However, at 11.45 on 31st December 2015, our lives changed forever, we were at our friends house enjoying a little party to celebrate new year, when C came over to me looking awful, said her legs hurt and were shaky and she did not feel well.  I got her to sit on the settee and thought she was just tired.  She never recovered.

The next few months were just horrible, constant trips to the Dr, and hospital for blood tests, even trips to A&E when her legs gave way.  Eventually she was diagnosed with ME/CFS, she had caught it from having Glandular Fever which is what she came home from her holiday with.

School were amazing, I have to say I am one of the lucky parents, as a few have had such bad experiences with their childs school.  C’s school have been very supportive, we have tried various things to get her into school, but she could not cope with lessons, as one of her (many) things she suffers with is 24/7 migraine type pain, and concentration. Eventually after many meetings, it was agreed that she would have 1-1 tuition in school 1 hour a day, 3 days a week. Her tutor, is lovely, C got on great with her, and although she did not understand the illness fully, she did understand C and her needs, and she would pick up if she was struggling.  This worked great until January this year, when C went into a major crash, and could not cope with going into school. eventually we arranged home tuition but sadly she just had one lesson and has been too ill since.  She has since been diagnosed as having severe ME.

Unfortunately, she also has a couple of other conditions, which I believe is also down to the ME, one is a jaw problem which is causing her constant pain, and me constant frustration as she can not eat properly.

A typical day in our house goes like this

  • Wake Up – see if C is awake (leave her if not as depends on what her night has been like).  Once she is awake we have a little chat and see how she is, and then the task of what she can eat for breakfast.  Usually is soft fruit, maybe yoghurt, banana smoothie or jelly (yes she has had jelly for breakfast)
  • Morning – depending on her jaw and how she is feeling, I will sit in with her or leave her alone and just pop in to see if she wants or needs anything.
  • Lunch – Another long list of questions as to what she can manage to eat, lately it is ice cream
  • Afternoon – pretty much the same as the morning
  • Dinner – this has to be my most stressful time, as she has hardly eaten all day and trying to find something she can eat for dinner is a nightmare.  most nights she will try something but will end up with soft fruit.

She also needs someone at home 24/7 as she is very wobbly with her walking, she needs a wheelchair when we go out, but sadly these days she just goes out for hospital appointments, and this takes it out on her.

This is just a very small glimpse of how this awful illness has affected our lives, I often say to C, if I could swap places and have the illness instead, I would in a heartbeat, so she could live her life.

I hope our story has given you a little more understanding on how this illness affects the life of a sufferer.






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  1. I’m so glad I read this, Samantha. I didn’t know much about ME at all, but now I feel I understand it a little better. And I hope other people do too. Sending you both big hugs.

    Louise x

  2. I can’t even imagine how difficult this is for not only your daughter, but your entire family. Isn’t it amazing who quickly life can take a turn? Thank-you for sharing your story, I’m sure it will help other families who are in the same situation x

    1. It is very hard but it is daily life now, I can not remember what a normal day is like now, and helping raise awareness is something that sadly needs to be shared x

  3. I truly can not even begin to imagine what it must be like for both C and you. Thanks for sharing your story and making some of us aware of ME

    1. Thank you, it is hard some times are harder than others, I am happy to share our story to raise awareness x

    1. C is amazing, yes she has her times where she just sits and cries her eyes out in my arms, but we try to laugh our way through things, we try not to look at the downsides and try to lighten it all up, it helps C. I hide my heartbreak from her apart from saying to her if I could make a wish and have the illness myself I would in a heartbeat x

  4. I’ve followed Cs story for a while on your blog. My heart really goes out to you all. It’s great you are raising so much awareness of ME, I didn’t know much about it until I read your posts.

    1. Thank you, I didn’t know much about it until she became ill, and now I could talk for hours on it, if I can raise just a bit of awareness it is all positive and will hopefully let people understand just what this illness is like x

  5. My heart goes out to you 🙁 it is absolutely life changing and we never realised the impact it could have on a family. One of my mummy’s old school friends suffered from ME and we never really understood why she was tired all the time. Now we know, thanks for sharing your story.

    1. There is not a lot about ME, like many illnesses, so awareness days and months are a great opportunity to raise awareness x

  6. I didn’t know anything about this disease before I read your blog and then Googled the condition. Oh, how awful it must be for your daughter…. such a young soul having to carry such a hard disease. You are both brave for fighting with it!

    1. Thank you, it a horrible illness, sadly there are so many young children suffering, the youngest I know of is 4 years old 🙁

  7. I’ve read a few of your posts about your daughter over the last few months and can begin to imagine what your life is like. Even this small insight makes me feel for you..keep being strong x

    1. Thank you, it is one of the hardest things I have faced as a parent,our job is to keep them well and make them better x

  8. It must be a struggle to cope each day with this and she must feel awful about not being able to do what others her age can. All you can do as a parent is give her the support she needs.

    1. It is a struggle and some days I just want to close my eyes and wake up again and everything will be ok, that is the hardest part her life has been taken away, luckily we are incredibly close and I do try to get a smile out of her everyday even on her worst days, when I sometimes just get that look she gives x

  9. I have been reading your posts about C for sometime, however I had no clue as to how her condition started, so I read this almost as a “prequel” to the other posts I have already read.
    However, I didn’t expect this post to make me as upset as it did. My heart breaks for C and the pain and suffering she is going through, and ultimately the stress and pressure it puts on a whole family,
    I am sure I don’t need to tell you that a girl her age deserves to be running around with her girl friends, having fun and teenage adventures and it must be difficult for you all that she is so limited by this hideous condition!!
    I keep everything crossed that either they come up with a treatment plan that gives C her life back, or it’s a condition she could eventually outgrow? Either way I am sending you my best wishes xxx

    1. Thank you, it is such a horrible illness and every day is the same at the moment, just this morning I kept going into check on her and she was asleep (typical as I had hoovering to do and obviously could not do it haha), and when she did finally wake up she just looked awful. It breaks my heart daily, and I often feel that I have to justify to others why she is so bad x

  10. Oh goodness this sounds like one heck of a trialling time for you all!! I really wish you all the best! Thanks for sharing something so personal its given me auch an insight!

    1. Thank you, it is hard but sadly it becomes a way of life, we have forgotten what life was like before she became so ill, in time I really hope we can get back to that though x

  11. Oh my goodness, it sounds like C s having such a tough time living with ME. Thanks for sharing her story as I am sure it will help many.

    1. Thank you, she is having a tough time, and this is the side that is usually not talked about, and the response has been great and I know it has helped a few people x

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