Interview With Phil Stewart

Counsellor In Training

Phil’s wedding (2004)Six years before he fell ill
(Author’s narration)

My last blog article saw how Alex Flower has become a successful tattoo artist and lino print maker, whilst coping with several chronic health conditions. This month I interviewed Phil Stewart, who has been unwell with M.E. for eleven years now, and is currently training to be a counsellor. I was particularly interested to hear Phil’s story as I hope it will be an inspiration for other people with M.E. who might be considering their next steps career-wise.

Update to the NICE Guideline for ME/CFS ‘Paused’

Sign the petition to get the Draft Guideline published here.

UPDATE: 21st September 2021 – NICE has announced that the roundtable meeting to discuss the ME/CFS Guideline will take place on the 18th October 2021 in London and Professor Dame Carol Black has been appointed as the ‘independent’ chair.

(Author’s narration)

On Tuesday 17th August 2021 NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) announced its decision to ‘pause’ publication of the update to the 2007 guideline on the diagnosis and management of ME/CFS.  This announcement has caused shock, anger and bewilderment amongst the M.E. Community. The ‘pause’ is yet another affront to a patient group that has been marginalised and mistreated for years. NICE guidelines are produced to inform healthcare professionals on the diagnosis and treatment of patients in the UK and the role of the organisation is to improve outcomes for patients. Sadly, for those patients diagnosed with ME/CFS, faith in NICE is wearing very thin. The timeline below details the story of the NICE Guideline for ME/CFS so far:

Interview With Alex Flower

Tattoo Artist and Print Maker

A picture of Alex Flower smiling and holding a print of a mug with a heart on it surrounded by flowers
(Author’s narration)

One of my passions in starting this blog was to raise awareness not only around M.E., as an illness, but also to shine a light on the many individuals who suffer with it. M.E. can affect anyone and even mild M.E. can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives. Despite being on a never-ending rollercoaster ride of varied and fluctuating symptoms, people with M.E. are some of the most determined, talented and inspiring people I know. In this article I interview Alex Flower, Tattoo Artist and Print Maker.

Playing ACNH… With Friends: Part Two

(Author’s narration)

In my last blog article about playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) on the Nintendo Switch, I spoke about my recent experience of playing the game with friends and I included an interview with Luisa (fellow ACNH player and person with M.E.). Thankfully, I managed to escape from the pitfall I fell into on Luisa’s Island, Aysa-Thoon, so I can now share part two of my adventure!

Wouldn’t It Be Nice…

To have proper funding and research into ME/CFS

Doctor with stethoscope

UPDATE: NICE Makes Last Minute Announcement (17th August 2021)

The updated guideline on the diagnosis and management of ME/CFS was originally due for publication in April 2021 but it was delayed until the expected publication date of the 18th August 2021. In a last minute announcement, NICE has today decided to ‘pause publication’ of the guideline, with no hint as to when it might now be updated. Read the statement from NICE here.

For further updates (since 17th August 2021), please see my newer article here.

(Author’s narration)

You fall ill. You see the doctor. You have tests. You’re given a diagnosis. Then you’re given the appropriate advice, treatment and/or medications and you start to feel better again. This is the pathway we would hope to follow when we fall ill. But, sadly, when you fall ill with ME/CFS the pathway is not this straightforward.

Playing ACNH… With Friends!

(Author’s narration)

Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) on the Nintendo Switch has become a big part of my life, since falling ill with M.E.

When the game first came out it provided me with a positive focus; taking my mind off my symptoms and giving me a sense of achievement, at a time my normal life had come to an unexpected and abrupt end. For the first year, I played the game by myself, with just the other residents on my Island for company. I made a couple of trips to other Islands to swap fruit supplies, and I visited a number of Dream Islands, but, other than that, I guess you could say I was a bit of an ACNH loner. I simply didn’t know anyone else who played ACNH, and I sometimes wondered what it would be like to play the game with friends…

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