About the Author – Megan Schartner


Megan Schartner wrote Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang based on her own experiences with chronic illness. This is her story in her own words…

I have always been a bright and bubbly young woman. Up until April 2013, I was completely engrossed in my life. Trying to save the environment from a local level and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. I was enjoying all the challenges and fun activities life was throwing at me professionally and at home with my husband, E.

Overall, I was trying to enjoy life as much as I could.

Me on my wedding day (2011) Photo (c) Doug Quine Photography

Me on my wedding day (2011)
Photo (c) Doug Quine Photography

Unfortunately, life had other plans for me.


The morning of 9 April 2013, I was woken early by extreme stomach cramps. I tried everything I could think of to stop them, but they wouldn’t go away. I decided that I’d go to work and see if they stopped, but by the time I was dressed I’d woken E up. He told me to go to the doctors.

So I did…


Getting a Diagnosis

I still thought at this stage that I’d be heading to work after visiting the doctor. Unfortunately, he told me to go straight to emergency at the hospital. That’s where I ended up spending the whole day.

This was the start of something that I now know I have to learn to live with. The doctors at the hospital couldn’t work out what was wrong with me so they sent me home saying to come in if it got worse…

It didn’t, but it wasn’t getting better either, and I was suddenly extremely fatigued (sleeping around 22 hours a day) and all my muscles were sore as well.

Eventually, after seeing multiple GPs and Specialists, I had a diagnosis – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and  Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (due to varicose veins on my uterus).

Where am I at now?

Having built myself a team of medical professionals, we have been trying different medicines and alternative treatments. The aim is not to cure me but to minimise the impact of each of these conditions. I’m currently at a much better point than I have been at any time in the past 3 years. I still need to pace myself, but I’ve been able to add back in some physical activity and mental work.

People who know me would confirm that I am the type of person who always sees the positive in any situation. I am viewing this situation as an opportunity to explore activities I’ve always wanted to try but was always “too busy”, things like card making, sewing, baking, yoga and meditation. I’ve also been raising awareness for invisible illnesses through the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Campaign.

How can you participate?

I’d love to learn more about you as well and what journey you are on, whether it’s a life with chronic illness or not. You can do this by commenting on posts, or by filling in the form on our contact us page.

And while you’re here, please check out my blog and take a look at the background stories that have inspired my advocacy program Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang.

Thank you for visiting.


No Comments

  1. Calmel November 5, 2013 at 10:48 am Reply

    Congratulations on your blog Megan. A great start to reflect on the beginning of this long journey. The universe sometimes has plans for us we are not always open to or even aware of. My own life-threatening illness experience 15 years ago took me from mining to sustainability and I will always be grateful for that course correction. Your course correction will result in greater joy and life’s true purpose. Blessings for all that you will experience, both good and bad equally.

    • Megan S November 5, 2013 at 11:05 am Reply

      Thanks Mel, I’m still hoping to get back to working in sustainability in some form. I just think at this stage at least, it’ll need to be in a different capacity.

  2. teeks55 November 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm Reply

    Hey guess what?? AWARD TIME!! Congratulations on your nomination. See it here: http://teeks55.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/unique-leaves-award/

    • Megan S November 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm Reply

      Thanks Teeks55! I’ll head over and have a look now.

      • teeks55 November 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm Reply

        You are most welcome! Congrats! ~ Julie

  3. Aly November 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm Reply

    Hi great blog! I also have ME (been ill since 2002)
    I’ve also recently started blogging about my experiences if you fancy checking it out?

    • Megan S November 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm Reply

      Hi Aly, sounds great. I’ll take a look when I get my new glasses and can actually focus on things properly 🙂 hopefully in the next few days…

  4. dawnhosking November 25, 2013 at 3:18 am Reply

    You have been awarded something really special, find it by clicking here: http://dawnyhosking.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/dragons-loyalty-award/

    • Megan S November 25, 2013 at 11:14 am Reply

      Thanks Dawn! I will have a look as soon as I’m up to reading more than a sentence or two. 🙂

  5. teeks55 November 26, 2013 at 5:13 am Reply

    You been awarded something very special, check it out here: http://teeks55.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/the-dragon-loyalty-award/

    • Megan S November 26, 2013 at 7:58 am Reply

      Thank you so much, I will have a look as soon as I can!

      • teeks55 November 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm Reply

        You are welcome!!! 🙂

  6. Jumping_Jenny_444 December 1, 2013 at 4:55 am Reply

    Hello! I have nominated you for the “WordPress Family Award” since you are an important part of my blog family. To read more, click the link below:

    • Megan S December 1, 2013 at 7:33 am Reply

      Thank you Jenn! I’m glad I’ve become an important part of your bolg family. I will take a look at this later today.

  7. More Awards | The Better Way December 1, 2013 at 5:10 am Reply

    […] been nominated for 3 wonderful awards by 3 lovely bloggers! Many thanks to Dawn Hawsking  and Megan S for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, and to Jenny for the Inner Peace Award. All three of these […]

    • Julie Ryan April 30, 2014 at 9:13 am Reply

      Hey Meg, can you update my link in your blogroll? I’ve upgraded my site and moved to http://www.countingmyspoons.com – Thanks, Julie

      • Megan S April 30, 2014 at 9:25 am Reply

        Will do it when I’m next on the computer. Thanks for letting me know Julie. 🙂

  8. Caroline at Poppyposts December 3, 2013 at 7:01 am Reply

    Be positive! My friend has early-onset Parkinson’s Disease and her way of dealing with the illness in a positive way is to replace anything she can’t do, with something she can still do. I am trying to do the same and have swapped physical activities like golf, tennis and sport for knitting, craft work, scrap booking and quilt making all of which give me hours of pleasure. You may find talents you didn’t know you had! 🙂

    • Megan S December 3, 2013 at 7:37 am Reply

      Thanks Caroline, that’s definitely what I’m planning to do. I’ve started writing, card making and sewing but at this stage it’s a really slow process as I run out of energy way too quickly even doing these types of activities.

  9. Katarina December 5, 2013 at 6:46 am Reply

    Hi! I’ve nominated your for the Versatile Blogger Award. Read more @ http://painfullyawareblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/335/

    • Megan S December 5, 2013 at 7:37 am Reply

      Thank you Katarina! I’ll take a look today. 🙂

  10. juliasarahelizabeth December 6, 2013 at 9:27 am Reply

    Hi Megan, I just read today’s post and this. I wish you weren’t going through this. I have struggled with PCOS since I was a teenager and Infertility since the day I got married. The cramps are terribly when uncontrolled. I wonder if you have heard of a medication called Lysteda? It’s primary purpose is used to break up blood clots due to PCOS, but it is only used during the first 5 days of the cycle. The longer I have taken it, the less I have needed to take it and the less sever the cramps are. I am down to 1-2 days of use and only 1-2 pills each day rather than the prescribed 6. It’s just a thought, a very out of the box thought, but I am wondering if it would help to thin the blood during the very worst days of your cycle. You used the med name Panadol so I assume you live in the UK. If so, you can Google Lysteda and print the info about it. Then take it to your dr. Sometimes meds in other countries are named differently. I wish you the very best and hope you find relief soon.

    • Megan S December 6, 2013 at 11:29 am Reply

      Hi Julia, thanks for the information. I actually live in Australia but I’ll definitely look Lysteda up to see if it’s available here. I’m sorry to hear about your PCOS and infertility problems!

  11. barbarafranken December 7, 2013 at 3:03 am Reply

    Lovely blog you have created megan.. I so advice seeking alternative therapists… and get to the bottom of what is happening… From a spiritual view taking into consideration our whole body, mind and spirit… human kind is awakening to their true self, as light being using a human body for our experience… One of the awakening symtoms are unusual pains in the body that todays doctors just don’t know what is happening…. Take care Barbara

    • Megan S December 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm Reply

      Thank you Barbara, I appreciate your kind feedback. I agree that Western doctors do struggle when the answers are harder to find.

  12. painttheworldwithwords December 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm Reply

    Congratulations! I have nominated you for the Sisterhood Award! Follow this link: http://painttheworldwithwords.wordpress.com/?p=892

    • Megan S December 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm Reply

      Thanks! I’ll take a look when I’m feeling better 🙂

      • painttheworldwithwords December 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm Reply

        You’re welcome friend:)

  13. The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award | Paint the world with words December 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm Reply
  14. Jumping_Jenny_444 December 19, 2013 at 4:57 am Reply

    Hi! I have nominated you for the Lighthouse Award! 🙂 Click below to read more:

    • Megan S December 19, 2013 at 8:09 am Reply

      Thanks Jenn, I’ll take a look at this today.

  15. The Liebster Award | mycrazymigrainelife December 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm Reply
  16. mycrazymigrainelife December 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm Reply

    Hi! I have Nominated you for a Liebster Award! If you would like to accept please follow the instructions on my blog post. Congratulations!

    • Megan S December 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm Reply

      Thank you. I will have a look tomorrow 🙂

  17. juliasarahelizabeth December 21, 2013 at 12:51 am Reply
    • Megan S December 21, 2013 at 9:01 am Reply

      Thank you very much. I will take a look at this as soon as possible 🙂

  18. meticulousmick January 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm Reply

    Hi Megan, thanks for the follow on my wee blog and Welcome Aboard. Where abouts are you, I couldn’t work out? Good luck with your journey, I have had similar ‘help’ from the standard doctors, I was diagnosed with IBS simply because they ruled everything else out. Seeing a psychiatrist and being pointed in the direction of an appropriate counsellor really helped and I did a couple of short courses at a meditation type retreat were the best things I did. It can be so frustrating, like you I have always had abundant energy previously. MM 🍀

    • Megan S January 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm Reply

      Hi Mick, I’m from Australia. I’ve found yoga and meditation to be the two best things for me so far. Thanks for your comment.

  19. lindalitebeing January 7, 2014 at 7:01 am Reply

    Dear Megan,
    I am so glad you found me so I now can read about your journey. Thank you for the follow and the courage to be open and vulnerable. My body has always acted in mysterious and often unpleasant ways. I have a feeling I can learn from you.

    in light,

    • Megan S January 7, 2014 at 8:11 am Reply

      Thank you litebeing, I’m looking forward to following you as well. This is a path in life that I feel will take a while for me to actually find my footing on, but thank you for following me. We can walk this journey together.

  20. JulianeAshley January 10, 2014 at 5:27 am Reply

    Hey, you’ve been nominated for the Sunshine award 🙂 http://wp.me/pMwQ2-Cv

    • Megan S January 10, 2014 at 11:43 am Reply

      Thanks Juliane. I’ll check it out soon, but it may take me a while to respond.

      • JulianeAshley January 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm Reply

        Take your time, there’s no time limit 🙂

  21. Jumping_Jenny_444 January 13, 2014 at 2:12 am Reply

    Your “About Me” page is awesome!! 😀 Being able to see the bright side out of something which is anything but fun is definitely a powerful tool in life. Plus, having some fun hobbies is great for distracting yourself. Who knows–perhaps you can start a virtual business from home (such as opening up an Etsy shop for your handcrafted items). May your blog keep expanding with new ideas–I love your ideas! 🙂

    • Megan S January 13, 2014 at 7:59 am Reply

      Thanks Jenn 🙂 I’m actually dreaming of an Etsy shop and a related educational (running workshops/public speaking) role if I can, just need to get everyone else in my life to realise it’s a viable option and be brave enough to make the move. Also need to at least try returning to work first to check whether that is a viable option.

  22. Sue Dreamwalker January 13, 2014 at 5:43 am Reply

    Hi Megan, I am just catching up with those who are new followers of my Blog Dreamwalker;s Sanctuary this year.. And I hope that you are Well and getting stronger each day… I too have FMS and I was so pleased to read in your above reply comments that you are coping and finding Yoga and meditation good for you..
    Meditation and Qigong were the two best for me, plus I have acupuncture now every 4 weeks to help keep my energy channels open and cope with any areas which become troublesome… I also find that affirmations were good for me.. and hope you can read more about that journey on my blog on the 23rd in my Awakening posts which has links to previous posts which touch on my FMS…

    I consider myself myself 100% better, I look forward to travelling with you upon your life journey Megan and thank you for following my blog..
    Blessings and Good Health
    Sue xox

    • Megan S January 13, 2014 at 8:02 am Reply

      Thank you for your comments Sue and for taking the time to read my blog. My awakening post will be up on the 15th, I look forward to reading yours and finding out more about how you have moved through these experiences.

  23. Anarette.com January 16, 2014 at 4:00 am Reply

    Megan, you are not alone in your journey. It took me a while to see my path but I am slowly getting there. Reiki along with traditional medicine has helped me a lot with my chronic health problems. Maybe once I feel brave enough I may start a blog about that. For now I am focusing on the positive site of things by enjoying nature through Anarette.com.

    • Megan S January 16, 2014 at 7:45 am Reply

      Thank you for your support. It’s always nice to know that I’m not alone and to hear what others are doing to heal and live fulfilling lives.

  24. Dotta Raphels January 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm Reply

    Hi Megan, sharing your story and journey, with the rest of the world is a wonderful thing and admirable. I know many will find and draw strength from you. You are a survivor, which is one of the many reasons I nominated your blog for the Shauny Award for Blogging Excellence: http://www.dottaraphels.com/blog/2014/01/17/shauny-award-for-blogging-excellence/

    • Megan S January 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm Reply

      Thanks Dotta, I appreciate your kind words.

  25. totsymae1011 January 30, 2014 at 3:38 am Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear this. That you’re so young and even with your personality, I’m sure you’ll deal with it accordingly. Take care of yourself.

    • Megan S January 30, 2014 at 8:13 am Reply

      Thank you for the kind words 🙂

  26. John Doe January 30, 2014 at 11:08 am Reply

    Megan, my heart goes out to you with this chronic condition. As an RN, it breaks my heart to hear stories like yours and the struggles you have to deal with. I would love to talk to you about your condition and solutions you are looking into. I have found something that has helped many people like yourself. It may help you as well.

    • Megan S January 30, 2014 at 11:34 am Reply

      Thank you John, please feel free to contact me using the Ask Megan… tab at the top of the site.

  27. Pepper February 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm Reply

    Hi Megan, I was where you are 12 years ago. I want you to know that there is hope. Traditional medicine didn’t offer me any resolution. So, my journey took me into the world of alternative medicine. It literally saved my life and has given me a life again. I have recently started a blog in order to share the resources I use and tell my story of learning to find a new life. There is Joy to be found in this journey of ours.

    • Megan S February 4, 2014 at 5:28 pm Reply

      Thank you for sharing Pepper. 🙂

  28. Louise February 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm Reply

    Hi Megan,

    I also have a chronic condition, and have recently started a blog at lifepainjourney.blogspot.com if you’d like to check it out. I have been a bit timid about it, but reading your blog has given me courage. All the best with the journey ahead…

    • Megan S February 4, 2014 at 8:41 pm Reply

      Thanks Louise, I will definitely head over and check it out. Thanks for dropping in and all the best on your journey too!

  29. Just Patty February 6, 2014 at 11:41 pm Reply

    Nominated you for The Bouquet of Kindness Awards
    Check out: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/its-raining-awards/
    Of course you don’t have to accept an award, just know you’re appreciated!
    Lots of love,

    • Megan S February 7, 2014 at 8:32 am Reply

      Thanks Patty! I appreciate the award. I’m doing one acceptance post a month to free up time so I won’t accept until the start of March.

  30. Chess February 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm Reply

    Congratulations!!! You have a great blog 🙂

    • Megan S February 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm Reply

      Thanks Chess 🙂

  31. positivepain February 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Hi Megan! Love your blog. I have a chronic pain condition but an incredibly full life (hate just saying chronic pain condition!). I have my own blog if you wanted to know more about me and my condition. I loved reading through your blog and look forward to following more posts in the future. :). So inspiring and refreshing. Keep it going!

    • Megan S February 12, 2014 at 2:44 pm Reply

      Thank you for your kind comments, I’ll definitely check your blog out.

  32. Gede Prama February 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Thank you for visiting and hopefully braid is always awake. Compassion greetings from Gede Prama 🙂 http://www.gedepramascompassion.com

  33. healingpilgrim February 27, 2014 at 6:33 pm Reply

    Hi Megan,
    So glad I found your blog… sending thoughts of healing and patience. (I also sent you a message, so I hope you find it). May you draw inspiration and comfort from others who, like you (and I) struggle daily with sometimes inexplicable – and invisible – pain. One day at a time… namaste.

    • Megan S February 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm Reply

      Hi, thank you for the kind thoughts. I have received your message and will reply as soon as I can. Namaste

  34. ewada2012 March 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm Reply

    Hello Megan,
    It is a great challenge you have in your life. I can serve you as an example and in the same time the hope of recover. I am now a woman in my late 60ty and accepting my life and my life experiences. I would like to share briefly my story: since early childhood I have abdominal stomach pain. I was treated pharmacologically, visited many specialists, hospitals and nothing cure me, but became worst. Meanwhile I helped me putting my hands in my stomach each night to permitt me to fallen to sleep. After studying pharmacy, I decided to dedicate my work to reaseaches in medicine. I did doctoral degree in immunology and specialization in clinical diagnosis. Meanwhile I created family and have two children. But my health was getting worse . I suffered pain not only in the stomach, but the entire body and I was getting weaker. Remember that it was a time when none of the doctors had no idea of psychosomatic illness and autoimmunoagressive disorders. So I’ve had several diagnoses , not only on the stomach ( gastric ulcer and duodenal), ischemic heart disease, osteoporosis, but this occurred only after many years (when symptoms were visible on x-ray, gastroscopy and many medical examinations, ECG, etc) . Previously I had only pain , and doctors were unable to find anything in me. So I left medicine and began to seek other alternative methods. I started learning them to and trying to understand the reasons for my discomfort. I attended also many workshops, visited rehabilitation centres, which caused me more signs of fatigue. Then it came the greatest pains on the entire body, and this time ( waiting several months for admission to hospital ) I diagnosed my symptoms as fibromyalgia . This diagnosis was confirmed later in the hospital, but doctors were the only way to treat it using steroids . I thanked them by going to my own understanding and systematic decoding of my symptoms to release the causes of problems. There were my traumatic childhood experiences. Since 8 years I was healthy .
    My advice to you is the following-if you want to be healthy, listen to your body, follow up to your problem causes. If you wish to receive an official insurance – do not expect that. Current medicine needs a different perspective on the disease, including the spiritual aspect. The teaching system of the doctors do not turn this aspect, because in science there is a mechanistic paradigm, without the spiritual realm, to exclude it (and thus pain, soul, spiritual pain). That’s why no one understands and no one knows how to heal it. I have written many books on the subject in Polish. I have a book Overcoming Fibromyalgia (on Amazon). I have a blog on wordpress – how I understood myself: https://fibromyalgiaandselfdisorders.wordress.com. Ask yourself, if you want to be healthy or have insurance? At this moment you can not have two at a time.
    I am teaching people how to be healthy, created many educational programs for health, including individuals, families and sustainable living.
    All the best. You deserve to be healthy and do your great work.

    • Megan S March 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I agree that this needs both physical and spiritual healing. I am hopeful for recovery using a combination of western and eastern medicine and yoga and relaxation techniques.

  35. JayM March 23, 2014 at 10:17 pm Reply

    Hi Megan! Good for you on focusing on the positives, I am sure that will help you to recover all the more quicker. I wish you well!

    • Megan S March 24, 2014 at 7:58 am Reply

      Thank you Jay, I appreciate your well wishes. Have you checked out our Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign yet? We only have 4 more days to reach our goal. http://bit.ly/FoggyFrog

  36. Life Beyond My Window April 1, 2014 at 7:27 am Reply

    Megan, you inspire me with all that you do. Especially recently with the Foggy Frog Campaign. I’ve just nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

    • Megan S April 1, 2014 at 8:10 am Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m having a week off this week but I will take a look at this next week when I’m back online properly.

  37. Amreen Bashir Shaikh April 3, 2014 at 11:20 pm Reply

    Congratulations! I have nominated you for the Blog of the Year Award. Kindly follow this link to accept it! http://painttheworldwithwords.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/another-lovely-award/

    • Megan S April 4, 2014 at 9:21 am Reply

      Thank you Amreen, I will check this out next week when I’m back online properly.

      • Amreen Bashir Shaikh April 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm Reply

        You’re Welcome! You can surely post it when you want 🙂
        Have a nice day <3

  38. carried123 April 23, 2014 at 9:25 pm Reply

    An inspiring read for a fellow chronic illness sufferer…Well done on your blog, so insightful xxx

    • Megan S April 25, 2014 at 8:15 am Reply

      Thanks 🙂

  39. Merryn July 13, 2014 at 12:52 am Reply

    No obligation to participate, but I have nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Details can be found here: http://humbleheartscribbles.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/very-inspiring-blogger-award/ Merryn- (Humble Heart Scribbles)

    • Megan S July 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm Reply

      Thank you Merryn, I appreciate the award. Unfortunately at this point I think I’m needing to take a break from accepting awards due to health.

      • Merryn July 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm Reply

        No worries. I do hope things pick up for you- I remember all too well the frustrating journey in the early years of CFS. Is there anything I can pray for, for you?

        • Megan S July 20, 2014 at 10:04 am Reply

          Thank you Merryn, I really just need to work out a balance of active vs rest time and mental vs physical! I overdo it a bit too often.

          • Merryn July 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            So easy to do – very hard to work out what our body can cope with each day. In the really tough times physically, I tried to do a lot less than what I thought I could so I wasn’t too far gone when I tried to get to sleep. I built in a lengthy wind down time before bed, avoiding activity (even light housework) in the few hours before bed.

          • Megan S July 24, 2014 at 4:57 pm

            I start getting ready for bed at 8.30 with lights out at 9.30. Definitely need that wind down time.

  40. abodyofhope September 8, 2014 at 9:23 pm Reply

    Hello fellow Spoonie! It’s great to hear you are using your challenges in a transformative way. As a fellow artsy craftsy person I have also found art therapy and writing to be a wonderful tool to cope with illness whenever well enough. Like you I also was hit younger (22). Being new to blogging this month, I’m so glad to find you and look forward to reading more of your posts! Thank you for sharing your journey 🙂 <3

    • Megan S September 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm Reply

      Hi, great to meet you! I’m glad you’ve found activities that help you cope with your illness and I’m sorry you’ve been diagnosed so young as well.

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