Juliette Wills, 40 years old, lives in Brighton, England.
In 1999, I had a bright future ahead of me as a sports journalist. I travelled the world covering Grand Prix races, interviewed Premiership footballers and wrote a football column for The Guardian newspaper. I had also inadvertently set up a shy Spice Girl named Victoria with a promising young footballer during one memorable interview. I had just bought her first home, in Brighton; life couldn’t have been better.
In 2000, I became ill with ulcerative colitis and underwent emergency surgery to save my life just a year later. Two more chronic, debilitating illnesses followed: Ankylosing Spondylitis and Fibromyalgia. I lost everything – my relationship, my career, and my independence. For two years, while at my most vulnerable, I was also the victim of domestic abuse. My world had fallen apart, and things would never be the same again.
In 2005 I started on anti-TNF therapy, and things got a little better. I flew to Las Vegas for a rockabilly weekender, fell in love with an American guitarist so poor he didn’t even own cutlery, almost married him and moved to a Florida trailer park. A few months later I came to my senses and married someone else instead – a talented, handsome and ridiculously intelligent French guitarist – in a crazy, whirlwind romance.
I am in pain every day, struggling to do basic tasks which most of us take for granted. While my AS pain is manageble, to some degree, the pain I experience with fibromyalgia and the subsequent depression and fatigue is not. I wrote my memoir, ‘Mostly Cloudy, with Some Bright Spells’ to raise awareness of invisible, chronic conditions. It is a story of courage, determination, acceptance, love and hope, and is told with brutal honesty.
I self-published as not one literary agent understood the concept of not getting better. They all wanted a happy ending, but with chronic illness, there isn’t one. There is no cure, no light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to get on with it. The happy ending is that despite what I go through on a daily basis, I’m still here.
‘Mostly Cloudy With Some Bright Spells’ (http://amzn.to/SSAozw) is available as an eBook on Amazon. You don’t need a Kindle to read it – you can download a free Kindle app for your iPad, iPhone, PC, Android phone or Mac. I also write a blog at http://www.juliettewills.wordpress.com