The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

It’s official


Photo: Chickens in the snow

Photo: Chickens in the snow

Things have been hectic here at The Cottage Smallholder. I have finally been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME), which developed from the bad kidney infection that I had in summer.
The diagnosis takes a long time as you have to be tested for the full gamut of other potential illnesses (cancer, thyroid problems, TB etc). All those tests were negative and I’ve completed the six months of prodding and poking. I’m now booked into seeing a consultant neurologist on Tuesday.
But I don’t want to dwell on being ill – rather focus on getting better. Danny has private medical insurance for us both as part of his employer’s benefits scheme. That led us to believe that we had a buffer from the long waiting lists for the few N.H.S. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatment centres.
When I called the health insurance company to obtain approval for my neurologist appointment, I had to hold the line for a few minutes.

“I’m sorry but Chronic Fatigue Syndrome isn’t covered by your policy.”

 When I asked why I was told.
“Anything termed ‘chronic’ is incurable. We don’t cover chronic illnesses.”
“But it is treatable. That’s why there are treatment centres.”
“Treatment is not a cure.”

I was deflated and enraged. Incurable – that was a kick in the belly.
When I asked to be passed on to someone higher up the chain she tried to be reassuring. 
“If they discover that there is something wrong with your brain we might be able to help.”

After an hour of ranting in bed with the Min Pins I began to believe there could very well be something wrong with my brain. Then I finally calmed down.

O.K. Aviva I’m going to show you that CFS is curable. Watch this space.

If any one out there has private medical insurance, please check the small print to avoid disappointment.

  Leave a reply


  1. I think there is something wrong with your insurance companies brain! Keep on the sunny side.

  2. I’m so sorry your tests didn’t result in a “take these pills for a fortnight and you’ll be fine” diagnosis. Try to take heart from Z’s point that the tests have ruled out some really scary life-threatening things.

    I went through something similar 5-6 years ago and ended up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and trying to get my head around “chronic” and “incurable”.

    Fast-forward to the present day and it’s a whole different story. The fibro is mostly managed, and when it does flare up I’ve a better handle on coping with it.

    I’ll be watching this space, and applauding your determination. Good luck.

  3. I would be willing to bet that there is a lot out there on the ol’ web about treating CFS. I’m pretty sure the woman who wrote the book about Seabiscuit had it while she was writing the book, from her bed, on her laptop. She did all her research from bed as well- there had been a news story on TV about it awhile ago. And recently I saw her on something else and she appears to be okay, so I think you have a good chance of kicking it.

    Good luck, and now I know what to pray about for you.

  4. Hello.

    So sorry. Please take the time to read this artical. She is a local Mum who was also struck down with ME.

    It might be worth contacting her.

    Best wishes

  5. Sew Create It - Jane

    I’ve been following your blog for some time..I’m sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with CFS. I have fibromyalgia which sits in the same family and I can completely appreciate what you might be going through. I was diagnosed last year after several years of banging my head against a wall…but finally I got a diagnosis and treatment. I’ve learned to live with Fibro and learned when to slow down…that is the hardest thing when you are used to go go go…although there is no “cure” at the moment, it can be managed. Best of luck and keep up the fighting attitude…I’m sure you will shown them!

  6. Oh Fiona, you are such a good friend to all of us and we all feel for you. There will be many prayers said for you and so many good wishes. Be brave, love. I too wish you all the best for Tuesday. On the positive side and there always is one, you have not given in to this illness and have achieved so much in the last few months and I am sure will continue to do so. You are a very determined and brave lady.

  7. You haven’t got any of the terrible things you were tested for – it may take some while, but you’re going to get over this. I’m so sorry though, honey – it’s a depressing thing to face.

  8. tricia ellingford

    Fiona I have been through something similar and will help you if I can – I have prepared a post to send to you if you can leave an email address for me on The post is too long for me to put on here.

    With kind regards


  9. You are so much more than a *diagnosis* sweetpea.I was in a scary place back in the summer & dealing with neurologists, I know a little how you must be feeling x I hope yours is as good as mine was.Remember that anything is managable,anything ,may not be curable as they define curable but theres a heck of alot that can be *managed* x
    God bless & good luck for Tuesday.
    GTM x x x x

  10. Aunty Sharm

    I follow your blog and love it and I’d just like to say that is really RUBBISH news about your diagnosis.

    I wish you every luck with your treatment, I also know (from having a life-threatening illness myself) that your mental attitude to life and normality is REALLY important. I hope that as part of this bit of your treatment you will keep the blog going as if you didn’t I am sure that it would be sorely missed, not just by me but many other readers too.

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