Wellington’s Michell Reddy is not the type to ask for help; even when her chips are down, she soldiers on. Michell’s had the year from Hell, but now, with the help of Satan’s Little Helper and a life-changing MRI scan, she finally has some good news to share.
12 months ago, Michell was struck down by a mystery illness that caused her hands to swell; the condition was so painful at times she was unable to use them. After numerous visits to different specialists, Michell was diagnosed with fibromyalgia – an incurable autoimmune disease that causes chronic pain. Despite the pain and restricted movement, Michell’s resolve never faltered. With the help of her good friend Freyja Knewstubb who typed her final dissertation, Michell managed to finish her history degree with first-class honours. This year, she moved to Dunedin to start a Masters in International Studies at Otago University and took up part-time work at Countdown. Michell was dealt another blow when she was told she might have lupus - another incurable autoimmune disease – and was faced with an 11-month wait for an MRI to assess the damage. Michell was forced to quit her job, as she was damaging her hands and the pain became unbearable. That didn’t seem very fair to Freyja, who thought Michell deserved a break. Satan’s Little Helper agreed, so he forked out for a private MRI. “I’ve been turned away from multiple doctors and specialists (which costs a lot if you're not insured), who blamed my pain on my other chronic illness, fibromyalgia,” says Michell. “Because of the MRI, I've finally got a diagnosis of seronegative arthritis - they’re not exactly sure which type yet, but they can treat it and there’s a real possibility I'll be pain free in my hands and joints. “I can't thank Hell enough or Freyja for nominating me. I feel like my career isn't on the line anymore, because I'll be able to type and write again.”