ME sufferers call for help

Published Thursday, 09 February 2012
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Thousands of people across Northern Ireland suffer from ME, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but they say there is not enough medical help in the region.

ME sufferers call for help
Andrew McGorrian, who has ME, and his mum Jacqueline. (© UTV)

Andrew McGorrian is bedridden and in constant pain at just 11-years-old. He contracted a virus and has never fully recovered.

His mother Jacqueline said she was "heartbroken" at the difference in her once lively and energetic son.

"At the beginning, he couldn't lift his head, or eat. We thought we were going to lose him," she explained to UTV.

On his worst days, Andrew wouldn't waken up. He would sleep for 20 hours a day. He would have to be lifted to the bathroom and back again.

Jacqueline McGorrian, whose son Andrew has ME

"His life has changed and we're back to where he was as a baby."

Andrew has not been to school for more than a year and can only stay awake for two hours at a time. He said he "can't really do anything".

"I would like to play football for 30 minutes. Even just for five minutes," said Andrew.

Although ME has many symptoms, which include mental and physical fatigue, muscle pains, headaches, nausea and heart palpitations, it is difficult to diagnose.

It is believed around 250,000 in the UK suffer from it, but experts say they think the figure could be much higher.

Horace Reid, a former nurse, has had ME for 19 years and the illness has forced him to stop working.

"You get hit with something that feels like the flu. You push yourself to try and push the flu off. But it's not the flu and the harder you try to throw it off the worse it becomes," he said.

He explained that he stays on a mattress in his house for five days of the week because he does not have the energy to go out.

If you've only got a small amount of energy in a day, then you cannot possibly get through a lot of things that you normally would. There is no way that I do the hoovering or cut the grass.

Horace Reid, ME sufferer

Joan McParland, who has had ME for 13 years, is trying to help people in the Newry who also suffer from the condition.

Some people, including doctors, still regard Chronic Fatigue System with scepticism, which having spent five years bedridden, she has found difficult to handle.

"To live this life is bad enough, but to try and face the scepticism, disbelief and even the ridicule from some medical professionals and the public is very hard to deal with, on top of having an illness," she said.

Joan started up the support group eight months ago and is trying to make life easier for the McGorrian family who, like many others with ME, have found information on the illness difficult to come by.

"The first night we opened the support group in Newry I thought people were never going to stop coming through the door.

"Since then, my phone doesn't stop ringing. I'm constantly getting emails from people who are bedbound or people with children and they're all in a very bad state," added Joan.

EXTERNAL LINKS / CONTACTS
NI ME Association telephone: 02890439831
The McGorrian family want to highlight what Andrew's life is like and how people with ME really live, in the hope that more money will be pumped into finding a cure for the condition.
© UTV News
Comments Comments
81 Comments
jo bo in england wrote (712 days ago):
Hello. I am 41 and have been recently diagnosed with m.e. and I also have i.b.s. and sensory disorders such as tinnitus, photophobia and sensitivity to smell, basically super senses! I have poor memory now, which up until 2 years ago was fine. I went to India in November 2010 and after 2 days of arriving home I was hit with a horrible virus, either caught in india in the last couple of days or on the plane home. I have never recovered from the virus. My history of stress went against me, as my docs insisted I was depressed! I almost collapsed in the surgery and was sent home with nothing! I referred myself to a physician who, with a process of elimination ruled out everything else and diagnosed me with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. What I want to know is, please, is this the same as m.e. (as in myalgic encephalomyelitis). Is it the same kind of illness? I'm losing faith with doctors, especially ones sat behind a desk on google! I can do that! It's very confusing and I dont drink, dont smoke, dont take meds apart from iron because I get anaemic. My life has been a living hell the last year and I am in the process of arranging acupuncture and herbs froma chinese medicine man because I am at my lowest. I would appreciate any help. Thank you. God bless
Matthew Coleman in Carmarthen Wales wrote (850 days ago):
My wife Teresa has been an M.E. sufferer for over 6 years now and has gotten worse as time has gone on, she is practically bed ridden and relies on my care. There is no real help for M.E. sufferers and people distant and close don't understand. I have seen my Teresa go from an energetic driven woman to a shadow who's life force has left her. She feels suicidal. I am waiting for the doctor to come out to see her as we are sure she has fibromyalgia as these diseases go hand in hand. It doesn't help that our government is trying to get disabled people back to the workplace and want Teresa to go for assessment when she has great pain getting to the toilet. I think for most if not all sufferers the lack of understanding, awareness and the stigma attached is extremely frustrating. This disease should have as much coverage as other diseases do as it is just as devastating and it seems in most cases even more so.
Meja in Thailand wrote (924 days ago):
Dear all, i fight ME since a couple of years and it kept getting worse. After i tried several treatments, like most or even all of you, i now believe i might have found a cure for us all. It is without any side effects and also suitable for anybody! I would like to share this easy and absolute efficient cure with u who are desperately looking for help. Just simply write me an e-mail with your M.E. story, when it started etc. and i will 100% write you back. After i would like to stay in contact to be part of the healing process for my own studies.
Wes in Belfast wrote (969 days ago):
I've had CFS on and off for many years. There are people who have recovered! Read a book called "Why ME" by Alex Howard, this guy wouldn't take no for an answer. After many years battling, he finally recovered fully and set up his own clinic in London and has helped many others to full health.
ice skate mum in N Ireland wrote (977 days ago):
ME is no doubt a terrible syndrom but please also spare a thought for those who suffer from Fibromyalgia. Like ME FM makes you feel permenantly exhausted, you wake up feeling you have been hit by a bus 'cause your body can not get into the right state of sleep needed for rest. You have nights of insomnia and yet you have times all you want to do is sleep but there is no rest at the end of it. Every muscle,joint and part of your body aches. I sometimes end up taking a warm bath with lavender oil in it at 3am just to try and relax. I am still forcing my self into work but every part of me crys out in pain but with 3 kids and a morgage what else can I do, as I also have been told to pull myself together by older GP's
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