A MODEL has revealed how her life was left “unrecognisable” after being blighted by a cruel energy-sapping disease that took eight years to diagnose.
When she was just 18, Lauren Nathan-Lane was a social butterfly who loved to go clubbing and party hard at music festivals.
But in 2010, she started feeling desperately tired and became wiped out with exhaustion that was so bad it left her bedbound.
She was back and forth seeing her doctor but says she was dismissed and told they couldn't find anything wrong.
After battling to be believed, only last year the theatre student was finally given an answer for her devastating illness.
She has ME – a brutal incurable condition that affects around 250,000 Brits – coupled with the chronic pain condition, fibromyalgia.
ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, affects some patients so severely that they spend their days in darkened rooms, unable even to watch TV or listen to music.
Even touch is intolerable and many are tube-fed.
Lauren, from London, told The Sun Online: “ME has affected every aspect of my life. I am no longer living the life that best fits my personality.
“I don't really have many hobbies anymore as I have to prioritise my limited energy on work.
“I used to love just socialising on nights out with friends, going to festivals and volunteering. I can’t do any of that anymore.
“ME turns your life into something unrecognisable.”
Lauren fell ill after starting her theatre studies at Brunel University. She became bed-bound with extreme fatigue, chronic pain and nausea.
Her health waxed and waned over the next eight years before devastating relapse left her unable to move without walking aids.
She said: “It was only in 2018 that I was diagnosed with ME and fibromyalgia, so I had a long time being undiagnosed.
“Being chronically ill has changed everything about my life.
“I don't have much of a social life anymore as I can't manage standing or walking for very long”Lauren Nathan-Lane
“I don't have much of a social life anymore as I can't manage standing or walking for very long.
“I used to be really into big nights out and clubbing but I can no longer manage this. My day to day changes constantly, I never know what kind of day I am going to have which makes planning anything difficult.
“I still experience the same symptoms I started with when I first got sick. Friendships are hard and I have lost friends since becoming more disabled.
“But the friends that have stuck by me make a huge effort to make sure I am not isolated and I am more grateful for this than they'll know.
“I am lucky that I am well enough to work part time for a charity who really understand me.
“I wouldn't be able to work without my supportive workplace.”
|What are the signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?|
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.
CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.
It can affect anyone, including children, but is more common in women, and tends to develop between your mid-20s and mid-40s.
As well as extreme tiredness, people may have other symptoms, including:
– sleep problems
– muscle or joint pain
– a sore throat or sore glands that aren't swollen problems thinking, remembering or concentrating
– flu-like symptoms
– feeling dizzy or sick
– fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)
ME causes extreme exhaustion, pain, brain fog, and a variety of other symptoms – with the cruel hallmark that they are made worse through bare minimal exertion.
Even going for a shower, or going to the toilet, can strike down an ME sufferer for days or even weeks.
But Lauren, who is signed as a model with Zebedee Management – an agency that supplies diverse models, refuses to be defined her illness.
She added: “I am proud to be a disabled woman and stand up for my community, but I wish more than anything that none of us had to go through the awfulness of having ME. It turns your life into something unrecognisable.
“Thousands upon thousands of people are trapped in their homes and beds all year round and are being forgotten.
“I wish ME was taken more seriously and that more funding was invested in research to find a cure.
‘We need action and we need it now.”
“I wish ME was taken more seriously and that more funding was invested in research to find a cure”Lauren Nathan-Lane
The ME Association is at the forefront of improving access to care, treatment and research and removing the disease’s stigma. The charity last month announced it had put £200,000 towards three new research projects.
Dr Charles Shepherd, medical adviser to the ME Association, said: “There are an estimated quarter of a million people in the UK suffering from ME.
“Yet this cruel condition remains significantly misunderstood because those affected are often hidden away.
“We urgently need more funding for research into treatments for ME so people like Lauren can have hope of reclaiming their lives.”
The ME Association
Please support our vital work
We are a national charity working hard to make the UK a better place for people whose lives have been devastated by an often-misunderstood neurological disease.
If you would like to support our efforts and ensure we are able to inform, support, advocate and invest in biomedical research, then please donate today.
Just click the image opposite or visit our JustGiving page for one-off donations or to establish a regular payment. You can even establish your own fundraising event.
ME Association Registered Charity Number 801279