I woke up one morning in August 2011 with pains in both ankles. It had to be the bed sheets. They were too tight. I told my wife but she didn’t think so and we got ahead with our daily routine. It was 6.30 a.m. and after a shower and breakfast I headed off to work as usual. It took about 20 minutes to get to the office and I was at my desk by 7.45. Each day was busy and each day,enjoyable.
I had been with the Company over 14 years and I held a senior position as Executive Director, Sales and Marketing. I was responsible for over 500 staff through various lines of reporting. The business was growing and it was great to be involved. My office was often described as A&E as so many people would come and go on a daily basis. I usually finished up about 6.45 p.m. and headed home in the traffic.
My social life was very full. I played golf early every Sunday morning with a group of friends. My wife and I would usually have a night out at weekends with family or friends. Through work I would frequently have evening events to attend. It was a busy schedule, filled with diversity, entertainment and fun.
During the September, I began to notice black spots in my vision. At first I though it was tiredness but they continued and I became more and more conscious of them. They gradually moved out of my eye line and settled to my peripheral vision. The pains in my ankles continued and gradually spread to my knees, hips and buttocks. First thing each morning I struggled with the pains until I had my shower and began to move around. The pains would then ease and I got on with the normal routine.
By October a new phenomenon manifested itself. I can best describe it as a “wave of tiredness” which washed across my whole body every afternoon, at work. I would feel exhausted; no energy. Sitting at my desk, dealing with the usual daily issues, I would suddenly feel tired and drained of energy. It was very real, so much so that I mentioned it to my CEO, who was in and out of my office on a regular basis. Neither of us paid too much heed to it as there was always lots to be done and deadlines to be reached.
Through Christmas 2011 and into the early months of 2012, the joint pains worsened and every morning became more and more difficult to get the aching body moving. By now I also was experiencing pain in my upper back, shoulders and neck. Getting a good nights sleep was more difficult and I would wake up frequently during the night with aches and pains. Headaches became the norm.
I find it difficult now to understand why I didn’t visit my doctor earlier. I had enough reason to. I can only say that the combination of a very busy lifestyle combined with the fact that I was usually feeling ok by the time I got to work, kept me from taking action sooner.
I remember one morning in March 2012 when I had to literally crawl out of bed. I felt like an old man. It took me an age to straighten my body and get walking around the bedroom. That was the day I decided to go and visit my GP to see if he could tell me what was happening to my body.