A Moray woman is on a quest to highlight the rare illness that has caused her to spend years in agony.
Katherine Keough-Jack has suffered from a chronic and incurable pain condition called fybromyalgia since the age of 12.
But she endured most of her teenage years unaware that she had the illness – with baffled doctors diagnosing her constant discomfort simply as “growing pains”.
It was only when she underwent in-depth examinations at 17 that the true extent of her troubles became clear.
Fybromyalgia is a rheumatic condition which causes muscular pain with stiffness and tenderness in specific parts of the body.
Elgin-based Mrs Keough-Jack, who is originally from Leeds, says it also brings on severe migraines.
Now, she is on a mission to promote awareness of the disease and to raise funds to find a cure.
The 19-year-old said: “I started experiencing significant pain when I was 12, mostly in my back.
“That persisted through my teens, but whenever I went to a doctor they would just tell me it was bad growing pains.”
The long-suffering teenager was eventually sent to a pain clinic in Aberdeen, where she underwent a series of scans and tests.
“When they finally told me it was fybromyalgia, I hadn’t even heard of it,” she said.
“But the diagnosis really made sense for me, and everything seemed to fall into place.
“Now I just want other people to know they are not alone.”
Mrs Keogh-Jack said she is yet to find medication that consistently alleviates her pain.
Until then, she tries to limit herself to activities that will not make her to feel worse.
She says that “most days” she struggles to scale the staircase to the first floor flat she shares with her 22-year-old husband, Simon.
And the couple even revealed that the condition threatened to ruin their wedding last November, when Mrs Keough-Jack suffered a debilitating attack on the eve of the big day.
She added: “I did manage to take some medication which helped me get through it, but I was in a lot of pain.”
Mr Keough-Jack added: “This went from something that we never knew existed to the forefront of our daily lives.”
The couple have set up a fundraising site to rasie money for the Fybromyalgia UK charity.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/simon-jack