A young woman died from a condition that many in the medical field don’t acknowledge. Merryn Crofts had suffered from severe myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME.
According to Mirror, she passed away on May 23, 2017. Her parent’s hope to build awareness about the condition that had her bedridden in the last years of her life.
Merryn Crofts weighed less than 6st when she died 10 days after she turned 21. She had suffered from a neurological illness which was said to affect as many as 17million people worldwide.
Despite the high number of cases, there were some experts within the medical profession who did not think the condition was real according to the Manchester Evening News.
Clare Norton, of Norden in Rochdale, said her daughter often said she had a neuro-immune disease because she was ashamed of the illness she had. There was a stigma around ME even in the medical community.
When Crofts was 15, she suddenly developed severe swelling around her face, hands, and feet. Doctors thought the Oulder Hill High School pupil had an infection and prescribed antibiotics, but the symptoms worsened.
She then began experiencing severe fatigue which was a telltale sign of ME. Norton quit her job as a counselor to become Crofts’ full-time caregiver.
The girl's mother started suspecting that her daughter had the illness even though doctors misdiagnosed it or outright declared it unreal. The cause of the condition is unknown but many patients contract it after a viral infection.
“Merryn was passionate about raising awareness and understanding of ME. She wouldn’t want other families to suffer like we have.”
Clare Norton, Mirror, April 1, 2018
Crofts had suffered a bout of glandular fever before her symptoms began. It’s been discovered that women are four times more likely to have ME than men.
Then in September 2012, an NHS ME consultant in Wigan also agreed that the young woman was suffering from the condition. By now, Crofts was enduring a string of agonizing symptoms and was wheelchair-bound and unable to climb the stairs at the family home.
She developed an excruciating sensitivity to light, noise, and touch, suffered crippling stomach cramps and joint pain and began having convulsions. In August 2015, she wrote a blog post where she gave an insight into what she was going through.
‘Having severe ME is like being trapped in your own body every single day. There is no rest, you are bed-bound all day every day,’ she wrote.
In spring 2017, Crofts was diagnosed with an infection and that meant she had to stop using her feeding tube. On the night she died she called her mother into her room.
Norton shared that on the day of her death she asked her if she could call out the district nurse, then she said she had to go. Her mother went downstairs to wait for the nurse and when they went back up she was gone.