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Karen finds a lifeline in new support group

Saturday 7 July 2012


From UK newspaper the Times & Star:


Karen Little
Karen Little

Karen finds a lifeline in new support group

First published at 19:20, Thursday, 05 July 2012
Published by

A Maryport woman who is in almost constant pain says a new support group has become her lifeline.

Karen Little, 51, of Princess Drive, has suffered from fibromyalgia for 10 years, which has left her unable to carry out the most basic household chores.

She gave up work in 2004 because of the condition and can longer take part in her passion of line dancing.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown.

Karen says: “It feels as if I have been running a marathon every day and the muscle pain and drained feeling that you get after it. It’s like that every day.

“I once had a full-time job and several part-time jobs as well.

“Line dancing was my passion and I went to it six times a week. I also ran the Great North Run three times.

“Even the smallest of tasks such as dusting can drain me and it’s difficult to cook because I can’t lift anything heavy. I also get days when I forget things, which we call ‘brain fog’.

“Luckily I have a supportive partner but often people suffering from the condition don’t and it can send them on a downward spiral.

“I was at work one day and just came over weak and my body was in intense pain.

“It took me hours to walk back from work, which normally took me five minutes. I spent two days in bed and the doctor said I had a virus but the symptoms didn’t go away.”

Karen visited doctors for tests from 2004 to 2005, before she was diagnosed with the condition.

She then spent a further six years battling with doctors to send her to a specialist.

Last year she saw a specialist from Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, at Keswick cottage hospital.

He confirmed her condition and gave her advice about how to ease discomfort and symptoms.

She adds: “I was still under the impression that this was going to go away as quick as it came. When the specialist broke the news that it was never going to go away I was heartbroken.

“It was like someone had given me a death sentence. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

Karen signed up to a six-week course run by the North Cumbria Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalopathy Service at the cottage hospital.

There she met David Renwick, Mike Ellis, Gillian Downey Armstrong, Janis and Lyndsey Houghton and Tony Clark.

They decided to set up the Fibromyalgia and ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Maryport Support Group.

The group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at Solway Court, Crosby Street, from 1pm.

Symptoms of ME and chronic fatigue syndrome include mental fatigue, cognitive problems, sleep disturbance and digestive problems.

Karen adds: “People suffering from these conditions often don’t know there’s any help out there. They feel alone, isolated and depressed.

“This group has really been my lifeline and I can’t imagine what life would be like without it.

“It’s hard for us to get work because people won’t take us on with these conditions, and because people suffering with fibromyalgia, ME and CFS look normal we’re judged by society and that’s the most hurtful thing.”

The group will hold a fund-raising night on Saturday, July 14, at the Golden Lion Hotel, Maryport, from 7.30pm. There will be entertainment from local bands, including Black Wolf Run, and tickets are £3.

The above originally appeared here.


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