The glance in the eyes of a specialist drove house to Nicole Gavin that the crippling neurological problem her spouse James was struggling from would switch her globe and that of her family members upside down.

James had been diagnosed with functional neurological problem (FND) soon after additional than a 12 months of pain and dread which had perplexed several of the health gurus they had seen.

It was the response of a person specialist at St George’s Healthcare facility, central London, that strike Nicole.

James and Nicole Gavin with Frank the dachshund. Pic: Vikki Lince. (45400414)

“That glance in their eyes of normally experience sorry for you is heartbreaking,” she stated.

In a Zoom interview with the Indie, the Thorley Park pair revealed how their ordeal started in March 2019.

James, 44, who had a handyman and gardening business, stated: “I was portray the exterior of someone’s dwelling when suddenly my leg gave way and there was this snapping, popping sensation in my groin. I was in excruciating pain.”

In some way he carried on performing, but the identical point took place a 7 days later and it stored having worse. A visit to A&E resulted in him getting sent absent with highly effective painkillers.

By August of that 12 months the agonising sensation was taking place five situations a day and James was in constant pain. Right after that it was severe pain 24/seven.

Nicole, 42, stated: “Most people was truly annoyed and inquiring why they were not sorting him out.”

James was admitted to Addenbrooke’s Healthcare facility in Cambridge when his GP bought associated. Right after getting discharged, an incident in December at a pre-Xmas meal with buddies and family members brought items to a head.

James and Nicole Gavin with their children Norah and Joe and Frank the dachshund. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45400412)
James and Nicole Gavin with their kids Norah and Joe and Frank the dachshund. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (45400412)

“James went to get out of the chair and he screamed in pain. He couldn’t go and he went white,” stated Nicole. “I scarcely bought him into the dwelling.”

He was readmitted to clinic and stayed there until eventually December 28, lacking Xmas and daughter Norah’s tenth birthday.

When he was discharged yet again, the family members still did not know what was incorrect.

As Nicole revealed in a Facebook weblog she has created considering that identified as Our Journey With FND: “Though at that place we failed to have a definitive diagnosis, we had been instructed it may possibly be neurological. James was pumped whole of painkillers and opioids, which had been not encouraging touch the pain.”

Since of the difficulty he had climbing stairs, they determined to go in with Nicole’s moms and dads in Willow Shut as they have a downstairs bedroom and lavatory.

James and Nicole Gavin, their children Norah and Joe and Nicole's parents Carol-Ann and Richard Barrett, not forgetting Herbie the cockerpoo and Frank the dachshund. Picture: Vikki Lince (45400416)
James and Nicole Gavin, their kids Norah and Joe and Nicole’s moms and dads Carol-Ann and Richard Barrett, not forgetting Herbie the cockerpoo and Frank the dachshund. Photo: Vikki Lince (45400416)

“At the time I was just happy to be out of clinic, I just maybe believed it would be for a several months,” stated James. “Now we’re still right here fifteen months down the line.”

Which is not to say the pair are not eternally thankful to Nicole’s moms and dads for their assistance and help. Nicole stated her mum Carol-Ann Barrett has a diploma in organic medication and had been a massive help in insisting James was admitted to clinic.

Upping sticks and shifting house was difficult on the kids, Norah and her fifteen-12 months-previous brother Joe. “They are amazing outwardly,” stated James. “But they are lacking their rooms – it’s tricky. They have braved it out and that is fantastic.”

At the begin of 2020, James’s health even more deteriorated. Nicole wrote in the weblog: “In January James began to have what seemed like a stroke, with the still left side of his experience drooping and unable to speak or stand.

“As perfectly as this he was getting a seizure, creating his complete system to convulse. James had to be taken to A&E. This seizure lasted 11 several hours! It was really frightening in A&E. At a person place James swallowed his tongue because of to not getting any physical handle of his system.”

Right after scans of James’s mind, the up coming day he was diagnosed with FND, which was verified in April.

Though the pair are praising of the district nurses and Church Road surgery, Nicole stated she felt abandoned by Addenbrooke’s.

“All the way by this journey we’ve had to battle to get tests done to obtain a diagnosis and to get help for James,” she wrote.

“We now realise without us getting tenacious and insisting, we would not have potentially bought to this diagnosis so speedily. Many folks with FND go undiagnosed, misdiagnosed for many years.”

All by the ordeal they attempt to keep on being constructive, even with a devastating dialogue with a specialist.

“He stated ‘To be straightforward, you’ll by no means be the man or woman you were’ – it was difficult to hear,” stated James.

The assistance of their family members has been crucial – alongside with the really like of their dachshund Frank, who is devoted to James.

“If I’m getting a lousy day and getting a seizure, he stays with me all day,” stated James, who stated his moms and dads-in-law’s cockerpoo Herbie also seemed to know when he was about to have a seizure.

Nicole admits the family’s “tiny globe has modified for us all”. Elevating recognition of the problem maintains their positivity and, as Thursday (Mar 25) was FND Awareness Day United kingdom, James had his lockdown hair shaved off to increase revenue for investigate. He has smashed the modest concentrate on of £150 by boosting perfectly around £1,000.

The family members cling to the hope that James’s problem will boost and are eager to help and assistance other sufferers.

Nicole wrote: “We have not long ago been presented, by a clinic in London, a achievable 4-7 days inpatient programme for James where they hope with a multidisciplinary staff method to help him with managing signs and symptoms or even possibly increasing some signs and symptoms.

“We are desperate for this possibility, but it’s all Covid-19 dependent and there’s an really extensive waiting record. As James is severe, we hope this will not be also extensive. We are real looking this may possibly not come about for some time.”

* To sponsor James’ head shave, visit