Some of our CWTCH members have kindly offered to share with you their journey so far with CWTCH.
R. P, age 21, member since 2012.I have B12 deficiency and suspected rheumatoid arthritis. I’d always had problems with my wrists and for years just put it down to being clumsy. When I was 16 I went to college to do A-levels and that’s when it got worse. I could barely hold a pen never mind write, I was always tired and just generally feeling unwell. I saw a doctor and she just told me it was something I would just have to ‘live with’ that to me was not a diagnosis. When things still didn’t get any better I changed surgery and my new GP carried out test and when I was 17 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and was referred to a rheumatologist at Withybush.
After being diagnosed I was put on medication and found that the medication made me unwell. They kept changing my medication for about 2 years until they rested on injections. I had CBT to treat my needle phobia and managed to learn to inject myself. After all this when I turned 20 the rheumatologist decided I did not in fact have rheumatoid arthritis and only ever suspected it. My GP still believes I have and it may just be in remission at the moment.
CWTCH has been a great support knowing that there are other people out there going through similar things is such a great feeling. Listening to other peoples stories and hearing how they coped with similar situations to you is always such a help and relief. I did once go to a rheumatoid event at the hospital that they invited me to and it was full of older people everyone there was well over 50 and I was 18 at the time. It’s so nice to now go to somewhere with people more my age. CWTCH is so fun and light-hearted but serious when you need it to be.
Sam 32, member since 2013
My health problems started when I was a child, I suffered with joint problems on and off for years and had countless operations. After having my first child at 21 my health got worse and a year later I was diagnosed with ME and am still under investigation for my joint problems. At 22 and with a small child there really weren’t any support groups out there for my age group and that would facilitate having a child with me. For years I managed on my own as the few support groups available in the county were all for people much older but were also not child friendly. After having my second child at 29, I saw a poster for CWTCH in my doctor’s surgery and my health visitor referred me. Beth met up with me one day for coffee and made me feel so comfortable that I knew I needed to go to the group meetings. There was another mum the same age as me at the first meeting who also had a small baby and no none batted an eyelid that I brought my baby along to meetings. It was a massive relief to find somewhere I could finally meet people who understood me and my chronic illness. If I couldn’t make one month because of how I felt I wasn’t made to feel like a naughty child for missing a meeting. Not only have I made some lifelong friends but it’s also helped my mental health.