"In 2013 I experienced a life-changing episode, that I now know was the onset of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, MECFS" - Sally Cox | Founder Coppered Company.
I was on an overseas holiday in Australia with some gorgeous girlfriends. At the time I was in my early forties and was healthy, fit, and happy. After spending a beautiful evening poolside, I awoke feeling muscle and joint pain. I simply assumed I’d slept in an unusual position. Forty minutes into a morning walk, I felt very unwell. My vision became blurry, and I began to shake and had serious difficulty standing. Assuming I needed food, I rushed to a café, where I downed a large breakfast, and then promptly collapsed. This was the beginning of my first 'crash'.
As the days and weeks progressed, my condition worsened. I experienced fevers, severe muscle and joint pain, insomnia, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, and extreme fatigue. My muscles lost strength and I had difficulty coordinating movements. The more I fought to do simple things, like washing my hair, the worse I felt. The fatigue was overwhelming and extraordinary.
This was my life for more than 18 months. I felt broken at a cellular level. A barrage of laboratory tests and specialist visits began with the aim of ruling out the nasties. Many of you will understand the fear that this process delivers, with a weird tension between wanting to find something to help explain things, yet desperately wishing for something benign that would be simple to fix.
After many months of negative results, the doctors at my medical practice got together to discuss my case and delivered my ME/CFS diagnosis.
Today, I consider myself to be 'lucky' and also a survivor. Although ME/CFS lingers in the background, I have recovered enough, so that I operate at about 80% of my former self. I have no idea why I turned the corner, whilst many others don't. I am confronted by knowing that some sufferers have shockingly reduced, often bedridden lives.
According to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from ME/CFS with over 17 million people worldwide. Unfortunately, many are undiagnosed. If covid long-haulers are added to these numbers, there's a huge number of people who are in need of urgent help.
I've developed coppered® MECFS signature jewellery as a beautiful, and purposeful way that we can connect as a community and contribute to helping find a cure for MECFS.