ME Awareness: Liverpool woman’s honeymoon ruined after “hidden condition” meant she slept through the trip | 08 May 2019

May 8, 2019


By John Bennett, Liverpool Echo, 04 May 2019.

Emma Donnelly slept through half of her honeymoon

Emma Donnelly was supposed to be having the time of her life, instead her chronic illness left her so exhausted she slept through half of her own honeymoon.

Emma's Illness leaves her bed-ridden and housebound most days. Liverpool Echo.

Diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), Emma is often left unable to even stand up without fainting. Going out and being active often means paying for it later through complete exhaustion.

The 38-year-old who is originally from Essex but now lives in Anfield, explained:

“We had already booked the wedding by the time I was diagnosed, moving it wasn't an option so we just went in on a wing and a prayer.”

“We kept our vows short, just a quick ‘I do' really.”

The couple's honeymoon was a mini-cruise to Amsterdam from Newcastle – but unfortunately Emma spent most of the trip in bed.

She said: “We got on the boat and I went for a nap, I woke up and had pretty much missed everything.”

“We knew the wedding would knock me out so we planned the honeymoon a week after so I'd have time to rest, but even then I was still to tired to do anything on the honeymoon.”

Emma Donnelly

Emma's husband Peter has been there for her every step of the way. She said: “He's absolutely amazing, he's my polar opposite, he's so mellow and I'm high strung.”

“Nothing seems to phase him. I know it must be weird for him, because at first he worried if he'd be able to keep up with me, I was always on the go. Now I can barely get off the couch and I'm usually cocooned in blankets.”

Emma's symptoms began in late 2015, with a bit of a bug that left her feeling “a little off colour,” but from that moment, Emma began to crash.

She said: “from then onwards, for all of 2016 I was really starting to slow down. I've always been really energetic, the life of the party and no one would say otherwise, but from the summer I started going to the doctor.”

Emma Donnelly, before her diagnosis of ME. Liverpool Echo.

Emma was soon to be run through a mill of tests and “being fobbed off”, transferred from one doctor to another, as none could explain the plethora of symptoms she was experiencing.

In between the many doctors appointments, Emma had to leave her job at the University of Liverpool, unable work the high amount of hours. Now she has a small stall in the Red Brick Hangar market, where she sells homemade jewellery.

It was only after Emma managed to see the same doctor for more than one appointment that she was told it could be ME, more commonly known under the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Sufferers usually struggle to have their condition diagnosed as symptoms often resemble other illnesses, like Flu.

Most people with CFS look completely fine, making others think they're lazy. Emma recalled how she lost a close friend after being told she was only looking to be pampered by other people and was just seeking attention.

It is believed that around 250,000 in the UK alone suffer from ME. The NHS currently list the top course of treatment as therapy, despite the fact that the disease has been listed as cause of death for two people in the UK.

“It is an invisible illness. When you see people with ME, we might not always look ill, but when our symptoms flare, the effects are obvious. ME remains a hidden disease. There is no known cure and no effective treatment.”

Dr Charles Shepherd, ME Association.

The ME Association

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