DAD Lee Chambers was preparing for the arrival of his second child when he became unwell.
The 29-year-old had started making plans to take time out of his job to support his wife – but when his wrist began to swell, all his plans fell apart.
Within a few hours of the swelling in his wrist, the same symptoms began to appear on his body and he was taken to hospital.
Lee, who lives in Preston with his family, said his muscles were so stiff that he could not move or walk.
He said his wife was at work when the swelling spread to her legs, so he called his mother-in-law to take her to the doctor.
“I was terrified,” Lee said.
“She is one foot younger than me and I had to be physically dragged out of the house and into the car because my body would not respond. I was rushed to the hospital and stayed there for a month.
“My life changed overnight.”
This shocking event happened in 2014 and since then Lee has been trying to do full work on his legs and body.
As a result, she suffers from depression and is forced to rely on her family for small tasks.
Lee had to quit his job, and his favorite hobby, fitness.
Now he is sharing his story to help others who may be struggling with their health.
After the incident, she was initially diagnosed with reactive arthritis – a mild condition that usually causes redness and swelling in the joints, but doctors soon realized the problem was more serious.
Eight years later, Lee has never been officially diagnosed, but is said to have a version of autoimmune arthritis.
What is autoimmune arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is also known as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and it occurs when your immune system attacks the lining of your joints.
This form of arthritis affects more than 400,000 people in the UK and often begins when a person is between 40 and 50 years old.
Women are three times more affected than men.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the affected joints, causing pain and swelling.
Because of all the time he spent in the hospital, Lee lost a lot of muscle and was bedridden for a long time.
He said he had lost his freedom, which he found very difficult mentally.
“I am proud to be active and able to help others, and suddenly I was in a desperate situation and I needed to ask for help.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“At first, I was shocked and I didn’t know how to feel – then medicine started and I felt like I was on another planet.
“Once I got back to Earth, I was full of anger and frustration for a long time.
“I kept thinking ‘why’ and ‘why now’ and I’m sad about what happened to me – especially not knowing what my future would hold,” he said.
Learning to walk again
For less than a year, Lee was either trapped at home or in the hospital and spent hours learning to walk again.
His newborn daughter Annabelle was also learning to walk.
She said: “Having my daughter was a big stimulus but it also forced me to adopt, and you can’t do the little things you value.
“One of the things that stuck in my memory was that I could never go to the floor with him, because I wouldn’t be able to go back.
“Once I was able to walk again to some extent, I was using his pram as a walking aid and walking around but I really wanted to go back to walking without any help. . “
Lee said he kept pushing to see how far he could go on his trip abroad.
“Pass by the lamp post, then the telephone checkpoint and so on,” he said.
Lee had spent many years working as a sports coach before his illness and was devastated to leave.
To meet the needs of his family, he set up a side hostel in the video game business.
When he enjoyed it, he really wanted to get back into sports performance coaching.
“Being sick robbed me of my choice,” Lee said.
When you go through this kind of experience, you are able to use it to empower other people and help them achieve more.
“I had to think about what I was going to do next, obviously having small children and still have a chronic condition.
“I wanted to get back into sports, in whatever form I could.”
Despite his ordeal, he still says his illness has been a positive experience and he started his business in 2020.
He says that now his dream of having an elite performance coaching agency has come true.
He said: “Physically I am back to about 70% where I was but mentally I am 200% because of what I have gone through.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m in a privileged position because of my challenges.
“When you go through that kind of experience, you are able to use it to empower other people and help them achieve something else.
“Every time I work with someone, it develops. It feels like I am.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“It’s almost like my illness is for me, not me.”
Lee is still struggling to make ends meet, but he is finally recovering, and he says his family is the most important thing to him.
Talking about his children, the father added: “Miles and Annabelle are growing up so fast.
“I hope they see that sometimes life will be difficult, but that you can overcome obstacles and barriers and go beyond suffering.
“I also hope that they will learn that things will not always go as planned, and that it may take longer than they expect to find a meaningful way, but that being open always gives them opportunities.” Will do. “
Since the incident, Lee has also coached a disabled football team and won the Great British Business Award for his work with Essentials, which helped the NHS and charities during the lockdown.
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