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‘I feel like I’m winning a little against my chronic illness’



With doctors unable to pinpoint what was wrong with her, Jordanne Lee spent years suffering in silence, then she became a mum and learned to fight for herself.

Jordanne Lee was only 15 when she lost her mum, just weeks before her 16th birthday. It was around the same time that the pain started.

“I first noticed it in my lower back and my legs,” says the 28-year-old, from Glasgow.

I would go to the doctors every week complaining that the medication I was on didn’t seem to be working because I was constantly in pain.”

This went on for years, with Jordanne having tests for sciatica, arthritis and endometriosis, but doctors could never pinpoint what was wrong. She felt the health system was failing her and resented going to appointments only to leave with more questions than answers.

“After feeling like I was being pushed around from one specialist to another without getting answers, I eventually gave up and suffered in silence,” she continues.

“The rest of my teens were spent in constant pain, at times I didn’t feel like a normal teenager.”

Jordanne spent days unable to get out of bed with pain and fatigue and was forced to make up excuses as to why she couldn’t go out with her friends.

“After a while I stopped being invited out all together, and I lost some friendships as a result,” she says.

Battling depression and anxiety on top of her physical symptoms and not knowing what was going with her body, she tried to take her own life.

“When you are a teenager it can feel like your world is caving in around you. It can make you feel like giving up, which I did – on more than one occasion,” she adds.

Things got worse before they got better. When she hit her 20’s Jordanne felt the pain got worse. She had trouble holding down jobs because she had no medical diagnosis and often had to take sick days due to the pain and fatigue.

“I tried to live as normally as I could, I didn’t want to let it ruin my life but I also knew that I had to do something about it,” she says.

“I knew it wasn’t normal to be waking up in tears due to my back and legs being in constant pain.”

It wasn’t until she gave birth to her son at the age of 21, having been placed on bed rest for the last three months of her pregnancy, that she made a vow to get to the bottom of the pain.

“It wasn’t until I became a new mum that I really started to fight for myself,” she says.

“Being a new mum was hard enough. I knew it was time I got help and I wasn’t stopping until I got answers.

“Luckily my GP did everything he could to help me and made sure I was getting every test I could to find out what was wrong.”

Jordanne was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia in June 2016 and a few months later with chronic fatigue. Although there is no cure for either condition, doctors prescribed medication including dihydrocodeine, amitriptyline, mirtazapine and co-codamol, to help her manage the pain.

Now Jordanne does her best to manage her conditions, while bringing up her son, six, and tries to stay in tune with her body.

However, she is still in pain daily and her symptoms can affect her mobility.

“I have to constantly be on top of how I’m taking care of myself as I have a son who needs me, so I rarely get to think only of myself,” she says.

“With everything, there are bad days and good days, on my good days pain is at a minimum and I can function relatively well, as long as I take my medication, but on my bad days I sometimes end up bed bound for a day or two because my legs won’t move when I need them to and my upper body feels like my bones are breaking with every move.

She adds: “The pain can change so quickly, it can go from a two to a 10 in a matter of minutes, which makes it a little harder to navigate.”

Despite this Jordanne was able to study for a Higher National Diploma in film and photography and now runs her own social media business Jordanne Lee Creative and lifestyle blog, where she writes about mental health, self-care and everyday life.

It was through her blog that she first discovered CBD. A few years ago a company asked her to review some samples, but she steered clear not feeling she knew enough about it. Then after it was recommended to her by a college friend during lockdown earlier this year, she started to educate herself. When another brand reached out in July she jumped at the chance to try it.

Jordanne now incorporates CBD into her daily routine and says it allows her to reduce the amount of opioid-based medication she takes.

“Since I have started to use CBD I have found that I don’t reach for my pain killers as often in the afternoon, which can make me feel groggy,” she explains.

“It helps me relax a little and takes the edge off and it has no side effects for me which is a win – when you have a child there really isn’t any time to be feeling drowsy.”

She takes a dose of CBD after her medication in the morning and another in the afternoon. However, she has found it to be most effective at night, saying that using it before she goes to bed has helped her insomnia.

“My insomnia would keep me awake all night, sometimes for 48 hours at a time. Some days I felt like I was a zombie because I couldn’t function due to lack of sleep which in turn would cause frequent flare ups,” she says.

“Now that I use CBD I find that I sleep through the night regularly, it helps me relax, unwind and drift off easily.

“Getting a proper sleep is vital for me to function at my best and it has reduced my flare ups significantly, meaning that I don’t have as many bad days or have to take as much medication.”

After seeing her mum, who had a heart condition, take over 30 different pills a day Jordanne has always feared becoming dependent on strong medication and is grateful for the freedom that CBD has given her.

“CBD has given me the freedom to choose how I manage my pain instead of relying on medication that I’m not too keen on in the first place, especially after seeing what my mum went through,” she adds.

“If I can choose how I want to manage my symptoms and it’s side effect free, I feel like I am winning a little against my chronic illness.”


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