Doctors baffled by disease that left teenager only able to whisper for a year

A woman has described how as a teenager she was struck down with an illness that left her only able to whisper for a year.

At the age of 16 and while studying her A-Levels, Grace Burke-Whyte, was struck down by crippling fatigue and the rather bizarre symptom of suddenly losing her voice.

Doctors were left perplexed by her sudden illness which also caused Grace to lose the ability to use her hands properly.

She was left bed bound for months as scientists tried to get to the bottom of why Grace was only able to whisper and why the other symptoms had been unearthed.

The 22-year-old told the Liverpool Echo: "When I first fell ill, I was 16, I couldn't really move and do anything.

"I was just stuck in bed. And then I could not use my hands, I couldn't grip anything or touch anything, they were really sore.

"It was quite hard, I was a very active person and I would walk to sixth form every day and from that I went to not being able to do anything.

"But the hardest part was not knowing what it was. I think what I had in my head was if I know what it is I can live with it."

Grace also began to feel isolated and left behind from her friends as she was increasingly isolated with her condition.

After months of tests Grace was eventually diagnosed with with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), often known as ME, and the chronic nerve pain condition fibromyalgia.

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While the diagnosis was helpful she was left to understand much of the illness through trial and error due to the disease being poorly understood.

Thankfully Grace's voice returned and no flare ups of the condition since have meant she has lost her voice again.

However just as things were easing for her, she was struck down by another set of bad luck.

While performing tests on her hands, doctors were struck by how limited the range of movement in her back was and began to investigate.

She was later diagnosed with a rare condition called ankylosing spondylosis, where inflammation surrounds the spine.

Lockdown brought further challenges and isolation, with Grace having to shield due to being classed as a vulnerable person.

With her back in frequent pain and discomfort, Grace was struggling to run her business and relied on her mum.

But Grace has been given a massive boost after being selected to receive a free electronic bike in an initiative run by Halfords, aimed help young people experiencing financial hardship who do not have access to a car.

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