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Living with ME: ‘My world has become so small. Constantly managing chronic pain and dealing with brain fog and memory loss is my normal’

Galway man Gavin Connolly (27) has been suffering with myalgic encephalomyelitis since 2013. He and his carer, mum Edna, talk about the devastating impact of the disabling and complex illness 

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Gavin Connolly who suffers from ME

Gavin Connolly who suffers from ME

Gavin and his mum Edna in his bedroom

Gavin and his mum Edna in his bedroom

Gavin in his recliner

Gavin in his recliner

ME sufferer Gavin Connolly with his mother Edna who looks after him

ME sufferer Gavin Connolly with his mother Edna who looks after him

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Gavin Connolly who suffers from ME

At 20 years of age, Gavin Connolly had his whole life ahead of him. He was studying engineering at NUIG and the world, after graduation, was his to explore. But, due to contracting a debilitating condition, seven years later, he is living at home with his parents and needs round-the-clock care after being diagnosed with a rare condition, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). May 12 is ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia International Awareness Day and the Galway man is keen to share his story so others can learn what the early symptoms look like.

I woke up one morning in August 2013, feeling fluey with a bad sore throat and very swollen glands,” he says. “I went to the GP the next day and a blood test confirmed glandular fever, but I wasn’t concerned as I’d heard that most people seem to get over it quickly. But how wrong I was, because while some symptoms cleared up after a few weeks on steroids, an overwhelming fatigue remained and I found that performing tasks, which would normally be very easy, even reading, left me feeling exhausted and at times, unable to move.”


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