23 June 2022
Final year BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing student Georgia King, from Shropshire, was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Hypermobility Syndrome in March this year.
Despite at first being concerned that the diagnosis may affect her dreams – and her studies - with support from Harper Adams students and staff, she has since gone on not only to complete her degree, but also to secure her dream job.
Read Georgia’s inspiring story below.
From a young age I was determined to work with animals.
I had never considered a different path, although a university only 15 minutes from home was never the initial plan. I had originally hoped to attend university in London or Edinburgh.
However, after a visit to Harper Adams for an Open Day I knew instantly that this was the university for me, and in fact was the only Veterinary Nursing course I ended up applying for.
So, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Hypermobility Syndrome in March of 2022 in my final year of university, I was apprehensive that this would cause detriment to my future career. Through incredible support from the university, friends, family and personal determination, I learnt how wrong I was.
In my second year - November 2019 - I endured a serious fall whilst horse riding which ultimately led to me breaking my coccyx.
Coupled with the stress of my twin sister becoming seriously ill from Covid 19 in March 2020, this led to me developing Fibromyalgia, what I eventually learnt to be a form of PTSD from these events.
The definition of Fibromyalgia as an illness is vague, as symptoms vary massively between each person, however it is often associated with immense widespread pain, and extreme tiredness. In my case, stress and an alteration to my routine exasperated my symptoms. Fibromyalgia often arises as a result of a traumatic event, with some genetic predisposition.
Whilst on placement, between September 2020 and July 2021, I noticed an increase in extreme tiredness and sometimes overwhelming pain, which I would later discover to be Fibromyalgia and Hypermobility Syndrome.
Through talking to a fellow veterinary nurse on placement as well as my mum (who both have Fibromyalgia themselves) I realised that something wasn’t entirely right, and I started talking to my doctor.
Due to there being no specific tests for the illness, the road to a diagnosis is long. With the overwhelming pressure on the NHS from the Covid-19 pandemic, all other similar conditions were ruled out.
Harper Adams, especially the Veterinary Nursing lecturers and team, have been incredible in supporting me through not only my time at Harper Adams, but especially through my final year where I finally gained a diagnosis and my Fibromyalgia progressed.
The supportive nature that all Harper Adams staff project allowed me to feel comfortable enough to chat to my lecturers, who welcomed me into their offices with open arms and supported me through the obstacles I faced over my final year, both personally and medically.
Despite my diagnosis, I have never let Fibromyalgia get in the way of university and my social life here at Harper Adams.
Although sometimes I do have to listen to my body and take time to rest, I would never let the illness define me, and especially not my career.
Despite being told by a doctor in the early stages of my diagnosis that I was in the wrong profession due to my medical condition and the demands of being a veterinary nurse, I refused to accept this.
I have since gone on to pass my OSCE assessments with full marks, completed my dissertation and my final year, and have been headhunted for and offered my dream job at the Animal Trust in Shrewsbury, with the potential to pursue my ambition of becoming a surgical veterinary nurse in the near future.
Being told I was in the wrong career ultimately made me more determined to complete my degree and aspire to my dream job, and not allow the diagnosis to define me or my future career choices.
I hope that a brief insight into my story can help not only current, but also prospective students understand that any illness whether this be Fibromyalgia, or any other medical condition should not have to define your career paths, university choices or future ambitions - and instead should inspire you to strive for your future goals with immense determination.