'I can be bedbound for weeks but it took doctors 7 years to tell me why'

Char Borley has shared details of her health battle
-Credit: (Image: Jam Press)

A model and mum who is sometimes left bedbound for weeks battling a mystery condition says it took doctors seven years to give her a diagnosis. Char Borley has graced the covers of Playboy and FHM and is a former 'Page 3’ girl.

But the 41 year old from Suffolk has faced a private battle away from the cameras. She has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) – also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The condition was recently highlighted by EastEnders star Martine McCutcheon, who took to social media to share the “physical and emotional trauma” it has caused her.

Char says she is “physically bedridden for weeks on end” and sometimes suffers such “tremendous” pain that it’s nearly unbearable to cope. The mum is sharing her own story in the hopes that it will show others the realities of having a hidden disability and encourage people in a similar position to never give up on their dreams.

“I have no choice but to take more rest than others,” she said. “I walk with an aid during difficult times but sometimes I can be physically bedridden for weeks on end.

“The pain is tremendous, it can feel unbearable. There is no cure; I will likely spend the rest of my life on painkillers and need assistance.

“But I refuse to let my disability define me or stand in the way of what I want to achieve. My fans adore me – my health doesn't change that. If anything, they have been so supportive.

Char Borley has shared details of her health battle
Char Borley has shared details of her health battle -Credit:Jam Press

“They send over a huge percentage of their wages every month. I still earn £50,000 a month and now I’m on a mission to help others fulfil their dreams.

“It’s great that there is more support for people with ME but there is still so much to be done. It’s more common than people realise, so I find it heartwarming and brave that Martine discusses her condition so openly.”

Char claims it took doctors seven years to diagnose her, having only been told that she has ME in March this year, saying it’s a process that has been – and continues to be – “difficult”. She said: “Unfortunately, it took seven years before I was diagnosed.

“Doctors are still running tests due to other suspected illnesses that they believe I might have. It’s difficult to cope with the unknown and constantly be going to appointments, but I am trying to stay positive.

“The earliest symptom, for me, was exhaustion. I had no idea what was going on and wasn’t recovering from everyday tasks as quickly as I normally would.

“And, of course, the searing pain in my muscles and bones, which often immobilises me. Despite everything, it’s a huge relief to finally have answers.”

“I rely a lot on my family for support and my team at work are also great. For instance, while on a business trip earlier this year, they helped provide me with therapy and 24/7 assistance.”

Aside from her girlfriend gig and being a model – she’s the cover model for Playboy this July – Char is also in the process of launching her own business. The company is called xTakeMe and will help content creators like herself earn money.

Char said: “It’s a girlfriend experience site designed to help and support our creators. Some of them have earned over $20,000 in their first month with us and landed huge cover deals with us.

“They sell their unique videos in our online store and chat with fans. It’s the perfect time to launch this now, I’m filling an industry gap.

“I also personally help set these women up with publicity, as well as train and guide them. I am concerned that my health might deteriorate – it’s always a worry, but that’s why I do this.

“My aim is to help others but also financially secure my future and my family.”

While Char refuses to let her disability define her, it has impacted some aspects of her life. She said: “I used to be in the gym every day and was a competitive bodybuilder, sponsored by some of the biggest companies in the world.

“I’ll never be able to do that again. Any inflammation affects me in a terrible way.

“But despite this, and other struggles from my disability, I live with ME and have an amazing lifestyle. Anyone can be a success if they stop dreaming and start doing.”