Alana Fettis begins her Randox Health journey
Alana Fettis from Templepatrick saw off thousands of people to win our 2017 #FeelLikeAP competition. Our new ambassador had a range of health concerns and we looked forward to working with her over the year, as she uncovered her health thanks to our most comprehensive health screen – our Signature programme. Follow Alana’s health journey over 12 months, kicking off with an introduction to her health, her hobbies, and her horses!
Hi everyone! First of all I’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for me in the #FeelLikeAP competition which led me to win the world’s most comprehensive health screening programme, tickets to the Randox Health Grand National 2018 and of course a place alongside the legendary AP McCoy on Randox Health’s team of ambassadors.
I hope that through my experience over the year I can inspire others to take control of their health as I have been able to do. I’m really looking forward to sharing my journey with you all.
My name is Alana Fettis, I’m 29 years old, and I live in Templepatrick in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. I currently work in the Construction Industry and I’m based on site as a Document Control Manager (not everyone’s cup of tea, but it puts my OCD to good use!)
I keep very busy and have lots of interests (some would say jack of all trades and master of none), but my main passion is working within the equestrian world. I used to be a member of Six Mile Water Riding club and competed weekly in everything from Dressage to Show jumping. These days I take a bit more of a backseat, lending a hand in competitions or whenever I am needed, but I hope to get back to this ASAP.
I’m a real country girl, I love helping out friends on their farms and have been known to turn my hand to a bit of goat showing. Yes, it’s a real thing!! I’m happiest when I’m getting involved and will always try something at least once.
I also love floristry. I’m pretty new to it but I am a little obsessed and so my house is coming down with flowers. Other than that I like all the normal things – spending time with family and friends, getting out and about exploring Northern Ireland, travelling to other countries and chilling out in front of the fire with a mug of tea, a good movie and my two rescue cats snuggled up beside me.
I am pretty lucky with regards to my health that I have nothing so severe that it stops me living a pretty normal life, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced a few curve balls. At around the age of 18 I started having a lot of pain in my joints – mainly in my back and hips. Honestly I thought I had just pushed myself too hard as I was working in the equestrian industry and would have constantly been putting my body under pressure. As the years passed and I changed jobs into a more sedentary role, I realised it may not have been that simple.
So lots of tests later I was told that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not something a young twenty something really wants to hear! I slowed down, listened to my body, did what I was advised and I have been managing it that way ever since.
At the same time as the arthritis, I was also back and forth to the doctor about some unfortunate lady problems (those issues no one ever wants to talk about.) This all started from about the age of 16 and things soon became unmanageable. I was in absolute agony, and on some pretty serious painkillers.
Let me tell you this, trying to convince doctors that there’s something more serious going on, and that it wasn’t just a simple case of “you’ll just have to get used to it”, is difficult, especially at such a young age. I knew myself that I had a high pain threshold and that this was so much more than the usual pains that come along during that time of the month.
It was only when I reached age 25 that I had 5 colposcopies (at least!) to remove abnormal cells from my cervix, but this was still not helping me with the pain. At 26, polycystic ovaries and endometriosis (where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found in other parts of the body including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, stomach, bladder and bowel) were both looking likely and I was scheduled for surgery. It wasn’t plain sailing but it was a start. I am still dealing with this but I’m hoping that I’m finally on the right track.
Dealing with both of these along with daily stresses of life has been hard, and so it has ultimately led to dips of depression and anxiety which I am also working through.
My incentive therefore for entering the competition to #FeelLikeAP was to hopefully start to understand my body a bit better to allow me to get back to doing what I love and to competing horses. This is something that I have done since I was four years old and so I feel like I lost a part of myself when I had to make the decision to have a break.
It’s not something that I can measure or put a time scale on, as it also depends on finding a horse that I can take on the journey with me, but what I hope to be able to say at the end of this process is that it has made a difference and put me back on the right track to feeling a bit more like me.
If, like Alana, you want to take your health into your own hands, book your Randox Health Signature programme today.