Today is Thursday 14th November 2019.
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On Mother’s Day 12th March 2001, my 38 year old son and his friend were the victims of an unprovoked assault when their heads were used as footballs and they were left unconscious in the gutter. A week later I spent 5 days extremely cold, wearing as many clothes as possible, closing all the windows and turning up the heating. My blood running cold? I am convinced that, for me, this was one of the triggers for PMR & GCA.

For the next 2 months I had spells of feeling tired and out of sorts but put it down to doing too much. In the middle of May I was tidying up after breakfast and said to my husband, “I’ll have to go and lie down, I don’t feel very well”. I thought I had flu with extremely sore bones, severe stiffness, a tube of pain through my head, feeling extremely cold in temperatures of 90° and a slight fever. I was on holiday in France and after 3 weeks I went to the Doctor who ordered a blood test and I saw a consultant in a fortnight who diagnosed PMR & GCA right away. As usual the effect of steroid treatment was miraculous as far as the stiffness and inner thermostat were concerned.

What I found most difficult was coming to terms with sudden loss of energy and unreasonable fatigue. I could walk for a few yards at a reasonable speed and then – nothing! I had to park the car on the same side of the road as the shop I wanted to visit because I couldn’t get across the road in time for the traffic. Living was like ploughing through a mental and physical fog wearing heavy boots, and this went on for years.

At the end of September 2003 I came off prednisolone, thought I was cured, and didn’t pay attention to 5 symptoms that appeared over the next 9 months. In July 2004 I went to the doctor thinking I had a chill in the bladder, another blood test which was as bad as the initial one in 2001. The unreasonable fatigue has been the worst symptom for me but since mid-December 2007 my stamina has returned. I am now down to 1mg prednisolone per day and hope the end is in sight. I can function for a whole day for the first time in nearly 7 years. There is light at the end of long tunnels.

I.J.M. Dundee.