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.
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.
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.
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.
Hey guess what?? AWARD TIME!! Congratulations on your nomination. See it here: http://teeks55.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/unique-leaves-award/
Thanks Teeks55! I’ll head over and have a look now.
You are most welcome! Congrats! ~ Julie
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?
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…
You have been awarded something really special, find it by clicking here: http://dawnyhosking.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/dragons-loyalty-award/
Thanks Dawn! I will have a look as soon as I’m up to reading more than a sentence or two. 🙂
You been awarded something very special, check it out here: http://teeks55.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/the-dragon-loyalty-award/
Thank you so much, I will have a look as soon as I can!
You are welcome!!! 🙂
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:
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.
[…] 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 […]
Hey Meg, can you update my link in your blogroll? I’ve upgraded my site and moved to http://www.countingmyspoons.com – Thanks, Julie
Will do it when I’m next on the computer. Thanks for letting me know Julie. 🙂
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! 🙂
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.
Hi! I’ve nominated your for the Versatile Blogger Award. Read more @ http://painfullyawareblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/335/
Thank you Katarina! I’ll take a look today. 🙂
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.
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!
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
Thank you Barbara, I appreciate your kind feedback. I agree that Western doctors do struggle when the answers are harder to find.
Congratulations! I have nominated you for the Sisterhood Award! Follow this link: http://painttheworldwithwords.wordpress.com/?p=892
Thanks! I’ll take a look when I’m feeling better 🙂
You’re welcome friend:)
[…] http://mychroniclifejourney.wordpress.com/about/ […]
Hi! I have nominated you for the Lighthouse Award! 🙂 Click below to read more:
Thanks Jenn, I’ll take a look at this today.
[…] http://mychroniclifejourney.wordpress.com/about/ […]
Hi! I have Nominated you for a Liebster Award! If you would like to accept please follow the instructions on my blog post. Congratulations!
Thank you. I will have a look tomorrow 🙂
Merry Christmas & Congratulations!
Thank you very much. I will take a look at this as soon as possible 🙂
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 ?
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.
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.
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.
Hey, you’ve been nominated for the Sunshine award 🙂 http://wp.me/pMwQ2-Cv
Thanks Juliane. I’ll check it out soon, but it may take me a while to respond.
Take your time, there’s no time limit 🙂
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! 🙂
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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/
Thanks Dotta, I appreciate your kind words.
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.
Thank you for the kind words 🙂
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.
Thank you John, please feel free to contact me using the Ask Megan… tab at the top of the site.
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.
Thank you for sharing Pepper. 🙂
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…
Thanks Louise, I will definitely head over and check it out. Thanks for dropping in and all the best on your journey too!
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,
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.
Congratulations!!! You have a great blog 🙂
Thanks Chess 🙂
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!
Thank you for your kind comments, I’ll definitely check your blog out.
Thank you for visiting and hopefully braid is always awake. Compassion greetings from Gede Prama 🙂 http://www.gedepramascompassion.com
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.
Hi, thank you for the kind thoughts. I have received your message and will reply as soon as I can. Namaste
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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/
Thank you Amreen, I will check this out next week when I’m back online properly.
You’re Welcome! You can surely post it when you want 🙂
Have a nice day <3
An inspiring read for a fellow chronic illness sufferer…Well done on your blog, so insightful xxx
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)
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.
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?
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.
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.
I start getting ready for bed at 8.30 with lights out at 9.30. Definitely need that wind down time.
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
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.