A mother has revealed her six year battle to be diagnosed with two debilitating illnesses – which now give her more than 200 symptoms.
Carol Hambly, 40, suffers from ME and fibromyalgia, which leaves her exhausted and in chronic pain, and even slight activities can leave her recovering in bed for weeks.
Mum-of-one Carol, who is mum to nine-year-old Jessica, was diagnosed after years of tests for other illnesses.
She said: “In general it takes about six years before you’re diagnosed.
“I would say I had it for years before I was officially told.
“I went through so many tests as it was basically an elimination process – it got put down to depression but I knew it wasn’t that.
“It was just through perseverance, talking to people and knowing myself that I finally got diagnosed.”
To help others suffering from the condition, Carol set up a support group in her home city of Plymouth, Devon, which now has more than 160 members.
“It’s not a nice illness. The pain and fatigue are exhausting and some days you think you can’t go on any more.”
“At the moment I’m not working. I’m not physically healthy enough because of the pain. I’m able to work normally for a day or two but then I would be in bed for two weeks.
“We support each other and it’s somewhere we can voice our worried and concerns and talk about hospital treatments and whether we’re having a bad day.
“That support from people who know what you’re going through is really important.”