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Sue's M.E. story: "It was like losing my identity"

May 13, 2020

Sue Hardy was working as a nurse when she began struggling with her health. After gallbladder surgery that she believes "was the final nail in the coffin." Sue was diagnosed with M.E.

"There was no way I could work and I ended up taking a redundancy from my job to preserve my health. I then applied for ill-health retirement after that and I got it on appeal. When the time came to renew my [nursing] registration I had to make the decision about whether I would go back. That was a real big, horrific thing for me because it was my life, my career, all I had ever done. It was like losing my identity and I didn't know what to call myself now I wasn't a nurse."

Sharing her story in the Hertfordshire Mercury this week, Sue reflects on the impact of M.E. on all areas of her life.

"A normal person would go to bed every night to recharge for the day, but a person with M.E. can go to bed and not recharge in the same way at all and you could wake up with only 40 per cent battery. You have to make that last the day and work out how to use that energy. I do go out, and I can drive, but I very much limit myself to doing one thing a day. I've learnt all the tricks of the trade like prepping for a meal while sat down instead of standing up. I can delegate a lot of things to my family to help and I've not touched an iron in seven years."

Now an Action for M.E. Trustee, Sue highlights our concerns about the increased risk of Covid fatigue leading to longer-term post-viral health problems, including M.E.

"If people don't recover well from it, it may be that we get a total onslaught of the people with all these symptoms. We just don't know yet. We've had to give a lot more support to people as a lot are now isolated and they can't go out, which is very hard."

We are hugely grateful to Sue for taking her time and energy to share her story to raise awareness of M.E., and for letting others know that Action for M.E. is here to help if we can. Email our Crisis, Support and Advocacy Service or call on 0117 927 9551.