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Kylie Mansfield, 36, was on track to become a professional triathlete until she got chronic fatigue. But she fought back to compete – and win gold

“Looking back, I realised that my illness started after having meningitis and flu jabs in my first year of university. I had three weeks of flu-like symptoms and never fully recovered.

I was a long-distance triathlete – training for up to 18 hours a week and I was a potential for the 2004 Olympic squad, but I kept being hit by periods of total exhaustion. By my second year, I was struggling to concentrate on even a simple conversation. My GP diagnosed post viral chronic fatigue – a condition that causes long-term disabling tiredness. No one fully understands what causes it, or how to treat it. My doctor said there was no medication – all he could do was sign me off university and send me home to rest. That’s all I wanted to do: it was a relief to have ‘permission’. I expected to recover fully after a period of rest. It’s only recently I’ve finally accepted it’s a long-term chronic illness I have to manage, rather than something I’ll beat.

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About Healthy Magazine

We’re staying #Hotandhealthy in the August issue of healthy. This issue we’re talking about sex: from the results of our sex survey – and how to stay satisfied between the sheets – to our deliciously satisfying, sexy salads to sustain you while the sun shines. We explore how to put heart into mindfulness, brush up on how to really listen, and ask what’s the best age to live to? We have expert advice on how to look and feel your best, from ethical beauty buys through to help for allergies and strategies for backache. Plus, we examine whether splashing out on exercise gear equals a better workout?