Today I am honored to introduce you all to Pumpkins and Planners Spoonie Blogger, Imali. At just 16 years old, Imali is an inspiration to all Spoonies seeking to get an equal education, as she has fought against all odds to achieve her dream of going to college, and will now officially be attending college starting in September 2017! I have asked Imali to share her story with us today to remind us all that although we may face unique challenges as Spoonies, we should never let any obstacle deter us from our goals or let anyone tell us what we are or are not healthy enough to achieve in our new healthy, happy lives beyond diagnosis. Without further ado, let’s let Imali take it away.
Hi friends, my name is Imali and I am a 16 year old chronic illness sufferer and blogger in the UK. I love planners, science and organising! The lovely Jessica from www.ournewhealthy.com has kindly asked me to share my chronic illness story here on the www.ournewhealthy.com
So lets get started.
At the age of 4 years old I was diagnosed with M.E. – A chronic illness which is characterised by extreme fatigue, pain, cognitive issues, brain fog and other symptoms which are made worse by exertion. This basically means the more I force myself to do, the worse my symptoms become. On top of that I was diagnosed with Hyper-mobility syndrome, which affects my joints and muscles and severely impacts my walking ability, so for this reason I am an occasional wheelchair user. My health conditions are chronic ones which means that they stay the same most of the time and won’t really improve.
As a result, education has always been a challenge for me. I have never been able to integrate into a normal school and I didn’t meet the criteria to go to a Special needs School. Schools just don’t seem understand what an invisible illness is or how it affects the people suffering with it. The thing is, we can do things – we just have to do them differently to some 🙂 . After many phone calls and appointments, we discovered that none of the schools in my area would take me. Long story short, my parents decided to homeschool me. This was obviously no small decision and it required a lot of dedication… However, we managed and I was taught to do all the necessities of life around periods of illness and fatigue. This had carried on fairly well up until the age of 14 in and around germs – Then my condition hit an all time low. I don’t know what caused it, but I have to assume I had caught a virus and overdone myself. I went from being able to walk to being wheelchair bound within just a few days… I was too exhausted to eat and I felt exceedingly ill. Then I had to be hospitalised because I was almost too sick to move out of bed. Compared to what I had been able to do in the past, this was awful.
As I am sure you can imagine this was all a really big blow to me. I missed a whole year of school to being ill and at least another six months to recovery. I missed a huge amount of my studies and I was behind on my work. I couldn’t see how I was going to catch up or do the things I wanted to do. I was meant to be studying for exams, yet I could hardly concentrate. I knew I had to find some way of gently getting back into studying, whilst not overdoing anything and maintaining my health which of course had to take top priority.
In the end I signed up to do two distance-learning courses (which had to be paid for by my parents, since homeschoolers in the UK receive no funding!), this really helped me to work on the things I hadn’t been managing to do. I studied English and Physics and I actually did okay. I have always been a competitive person (even if I was always able to show it physically) and I wanted to prove to myself (and everybody else) that just because your sick, or you use a wheelchair or you get brain fog and sometimes can hardly spell your own name… it doesn’t have to mean you can’t achieve something you want to do, or that you should aim smaller. One of my favourite quote which my mother has often referred to is ‘How does a mouse eat a house? One bite at a time, of course’. This is so true. If you have a big task and cannot see a way to achieve it, just take the first bite and then the next and soon you’ll find it is ticked off of your to do list!
When I think back to how ill I felt when I was in hospital and then I think of what I have achieved now, I just can’t believe it. To some people doing to exams is nothing, to me its a big achievement which I never thought I’d make. But other days, I may wake up and only be able to have a shower and thats okay too… Ultimately any accomplishment is something and things always work out. 🙂
I have recently found out that I have been accepted to college.
I am THRILLED! Again, this is another big thing I’d never dreamed I might be able to access – but I have ! I had got turned down rudely by two other colleges in the past year and I was losing hope. But then on my third time trying I got excepted and they agreed to help me with my special needs. This just proves that things don’t always work out the first time around, but eventually they will. I start in September 2017. Lets do this 🙂
One thing I want to say after all this is:
Don’t give up… you can do it.
One of the best things I ever did was start a blog. I may not be the most interesting blogger one earth, but ultimately I love what I’m doing and now I get to share the things that make me happy with all of you! I have also made some new friends through my blog which I am so delighted to have had the chance to meet!
THANK YOU for reading to the bottom of this post. I hope I kept it interesting! Please feel free to check out my Instagram account (@pumpkinsandplanners_imali) and / or my blog www.pumpkinsandplanners.
And finally a big thank you to Jessica for giving me the chance to create this post for her blog, it has been a great experience, which I won’t forget anytime soon : D!
Sending spoons to you all 🥄🥄🥄