"I thought I would have to give up my job" - 'Long covid' caused Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis for a mum-of-three
“The pain was so bad, I could hardly walk… I thought I would have to give up my job.”
Chantelle McCabe, 35, from Buckingham
Chantelle is 35 and lives in Buckingham with her three children. She works as a care company director, helping people to remain independent in their own homes. Her health problems started after falling seriously ill with COVID-19 in April 2020.
“I’d had a few problems with painful hips, but until I caught COVID-19 I was pretty healthy. Unfortunately, I became really poorly with the virus and was hospitalised.
Once I had recovered, I was left in a lot of pain - all over my body. Over the next few months, I had all sorts of tests and eventually they diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. That was a real shock. I was 35, in terrible pain, a single-parent to three children under 18 and I had a demanding job – I didn’t know how I was going to cope.
At this point, life was a real struggle. My job involves a lot of driving to client’s homes and being physical and the arthritis had affected my hands, knees, feet, hips and shoulders. The pain was so bad, I could hardly walk and it took me an hour to get up every morning.
I would come in from work and it was too painful to sit on the sofa, so I would go to bed. My older children had to cook dinner for the younger one and do the things I had always done. I couldn’t clean the house or watch them play sport anymore - I couldn’t be the parent I had always been. It was difficult.
I was taking a lot of medication each day - 400mg of an opiate called tramadol, 1000mg of the anti-inflammatory naproxen and 4000mg of paracetamol, just to keep going.
But the effect of all this strong medication was migraine-type headaches, bad sleep, constantly feeling tired and I was still in pain. As a care director I knew what I was taking was not good for my body long-term, but I had no choice.
Things got so bad, I thought I would have to give up my job. Then in the summer, we went to Scotland for a holiday and I went to see my aunt, Bernadette Brown, a pharmacist in Glenrothes.
She had started running pain clinics in her pharmacy and was having a lot of success using a bioelectric device called NuroKor with her patients. I was so defeated by the pain, I didn’t think it would work, but since using it each day, I’ve been able to reduce my medication by 85%.
It’s made such a big difference to my life. I am sleeping again and the headaches have gone. My pain is now much more manageable and I am back to being a normal parent again. I feel more positive about the future and I hope my condition will continue to improve.”
For more information go to www.nurokor.co.uk