A father with a second baby on the way has lost the ability to walk overnight due to a rare condition

Lee Chambers, from Preston, said when he was rushed to hospital his muscles were so stiff he couldn’t move or walk properly due to a rare condition called reactive arthritis.

Lee Chambers with his son Myles and daughter Annabel

A father with his second baby on the way lost the ability to walk overnight due to a rare condition.

Lee Chambers was delighted with the birth of his second child when, a week after his 29th birthday, his wrist began to swell randomly.

Preston’s father – who also had 18-month-old toddler Myles – had no idea his life would ever be the same after that day.

Within hours, the rest of his body began to show the same symptoms, and when he was taken to hospital a few days later, Lee’s muscles were so stiff he could not move or walk.

Lee’s wrist began to swell randomly


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The father – who had prepared to take time off from work to support his wife, Louise – has now opened up about the experience.

The 36-year-old said: “I was very scared.

“My wife was at work when the swelling spread to my legs and called my mother-in-law to take me to the doctor.

“She is a foot shorter than me and had to physically drag me out of the house and into the car because my body just wasn’t responding. I was admitted to the hospital soon after and stayed there for a month.

“My life changed overnight.”

The incident took place in 2014, and Lee has spent the past eight years trying to regain full function in his legs and body.

During this time he struggled with depression, was forced to rely on his family to do menial tasks, had to quit the job he loved and give up his favorite hobby, fitness.

He is now sharing his story to help others who are struggling.

Lee with his son Myles in the hospital


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Lee in the hospital


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At first, Lee was diagnosed with reactive arthritis – a usually mild condition that causes redness and swelling in the joints, but doctors quickly realized his case was much more serious.

The father was never given an exact diagnosis, but was told he had a version of autoimmune arthritis.

While in hospital, he suffered from mental and physical problems, including losing much of his muscle mass while stuck in bed.

Lee said, “For a long time I lay still in a hospital bed.

“My wife came to help me after work with basic things like taking a shower.

“I had lost my independence, which was really tough mentally, as I prided myself on being active and able to help others, and suddenly I was in dire straits and needed to ask help.

“It went against my identity.

Lee with his son Myles before his life changed


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“At first I was in shock and didn’t know how to feel, then the meds kicked in and I felt like I was on another planet.

“When I came back to earth, I was filled with anger and frustration for a long time.

“I kept thinking ‘why me’ and ‘why now’ and I cried what had happened to me – especially not knowing what my future would be like.

“I remember friends visiting me, shocked at how bad it was compared to my usual athletic mindset, and how I had lost so much weight off my face and body. .”

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For just under a year, Lee was stuck at home or in the hospital, spending hours in rehab, working on being able to walk again.

As fate would have it, his newborn daughter, Annabel, was also learning to walk at the same time, with the father using her determination as inspiration.

He said: “Having my daughter was a huge motivator, but also forced me to adapt, and the little things that you take for granted, you can’t do.

“One thing that sticks in my memory is that I could never get on the floor with her, because I couldn’t get up.

“Once I was able to move a bit again, I was using his pram as a walking aid and was limping, but I really wanted to start walking without help again.

“I kept pushing to see how far I could go on my trips outside – past the lamp post, then the telephone post and so on.”

Lee speaking at an event in Manchester


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As for his career, prior to his illness, Lee had spent years working as a sports performance coach and was devastated to give it up.

Lee said: “Getting sick took choices away from me.

“I had to think about what I was going to do in the future, obviously having young children and still having a chronic illness.

“I wanted to get back into sport, in any form.”

Despite all he’s been through, the dad still views his illness as a positive experience.

In 2020, he launched his own company: Essentialise, an elite performance and coaching agency, which he says is a dream come true.

He said: “Physically I’m back to about 70 per cent of what I was, but I’m 200 per cent mentally because of what I went through.

“I sometimes feel like I’m in a privileged position because of the challenges I’ve had to face.

“When you have this kind of experience, you can use it to empower others and help them achieve something more.

“It’s almost like my illness happened to me, not me.”

In 2022, the dad can finally walk unaided again but still lives with daily pain and stiffness in his knees and is limited in the exercise he can do. Family is always the most important thing in his life.

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