The mystery illness that turned teenager Katelin Bailey into an ‘old woman’

KATELIN Bailey was a typical 14-year-old girl until a mystery illness turned her life upside down.

Now the Coodanup College Year 11 student is dealing with conditions faced by many seniors.

“It is sad when you relate more to an 80-year-old than someone your own age,” Katelin said.

“I have bursitis, inflammation often caused by joint overuse, which is an old person’s disease.”

Katelin also has fibromyalgia, with symptoms such as memory loss, insomnia and stomach problems. Fibromyalgia usually develops in people during middle adulthood.

Katelin also suffers from an auto-immune disease and is on a three-year desensitisation plan.

“I feel horrible – all aspects of my life have been affected by this,” she said.

Katelin’s mother Tracy said her daughter was an A-grade student and a student councillor at Dudley Park Primary School.

“She was completely healthy and then one morning she woke up with half of her face swollen,” Mrs Bailey said.

“We took her to Peel Health Campus and the doctors couldn’t explain it. We don’t know what the virus she originally got was, but she has developed other conditions in the past two years.”

Mrs Bailey described the experience as a roller coaster.

“When you’ve had a normal life, then you don’t and you know it’s going to be like that forever – it’s hard,” she said.

“I say to Katelin to keep swimming, because if you don’t swim you drown.

“There is nothing worse than when your child screams in pain and you can’t help them.”

Katelin has a modified education plan to fit in around her 30 hours of doctors and specialist appointments each week.

She feels isolated from many girls her own age, but has a few “besties”. Friends took Katelin shopping in a wheelchair a few times last year.

Katelin said there were no support groups that were appropriate for her age.

“It is so unheard of for someone my age to have these conditions,” she said.

Now that Katelin is 16 she can apply for a disability support pension. Her family also have a GoFundMe page to help with costs. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/2cmh9cbk.