- My name Denise Ryan, I'm 34 years old. I'm not a wife or a mother, I don't have a career. It's been 6 years since I've been able to do the normal things that people do like going for dinner or drinks, or seeing the world.
I started getting very sick while living in Toronto from 2009-2013. I'd built a whole life for myself there, it had become home. I'd just been accepted to start college when I got too sick to work and had to leave my life to come back to Ireland to live with my parents. Over the next few years my illnesses progressed very quickly and I've been completely reliant on my mom and dad to help me shower, get up and down the stairs, get dressed, crush medications to take through my feeding tube, basic things I wish so much that I could still do myself.
In hindsight some of my illnesses had been coming on a long time. But, life wise, going from living half way across the world in Canada to a month later being back in Dublin, bed bound in my parents house, vomiting all day, being in horrible pain and experiencing incontinence and crushing fatigue was a real shock. And a wake up call that something was very, very wrong.
^^ when I was living in Toronto, to just 2 years later when I weighed 5 stone and my hair started to grow back after losing it.
In 2014 I was diagnosed with late stage Lyme disease and it's co-infections, in 2016 I was diagnosed with severe gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), severe osteoporosis, muscle wasting and malabsorption. At that time I weighed just 5 stone (70lbs) and had lost all my hair. I've developed crippling fatigue, arthritis, heart complications, along with speech + memory problems from Lyme disease spreading to my neurological system and it's now effecting the function of my left eye. In 2018 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, mast cell activation disorder and potential Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction. I'm currently fed through an NJ tube, which is a feeding tube that goes through my nose and into my small intestine because I can't eat due to the severe damage that the infections have caused my digestive system.
Before I got sick I never asked anyone for help with anything, but if I don't ask for help now, my prognosis is terminal.
Spending years trying to find doctors in Ireland that could help me, I learned the hard way that there were none and that healthcare here it so far from what it should be. 7 gastroenterologists refused to even see me because they said they knew nothing about gastroparesis. My local politician appealed to the Irish Minister of Health for help, but the government here do nothing for patients who have to travel to America because they can't get the medical treatment they should be able to get. No-one should have to travel 4,520 miles for healthcare.
^^ I have muscle wasting from malabsorption and whole digestive tract dysfunction
After fundraising with my previous GoFundMe page for the last 3 years I've been able to go Seattle to see 2 gastroenterologists who are specialists in motility disorders and immune system disfunction and to see my Lyme disease doctor. As unbelievably tough as it is I've had to go alone when I travel for treatment because it's expensive for my mom to be able to come with me and every penny goes to my medical treatment.
I'm incredibly grateful to have these amazing doctors but it's been really hard to make progress because the damage that's been caused to my digestive system from being so sick for so long, is spreading. At this stage I need multiple surgeries so I've had to open this new GoFundMe page.
^^ my NJ tube, I mix white powder with water and it's runs through a feeding pump into my tube. This is how I "eat".
I've also recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, which could be Lupus or the early stages of Scleroderma, myself and my doctor's aren't sure which yet without the specific tests and biopsies. My uncle passed away from Scleroderma, it's a brutal disease so to have that on top of my current illnesses could be fatal. I also need a surgical test to find out if I have a disease called Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction (CIPO) which is another life alternating illness and my doctors think this could explain a lot of my symptoms. It's diagnosed by taking a deep surgical biopsy of the full thickness of a part of the intestinal wall.
^^ my stomach is extremely distended because of inflammation and damage that's getting worse all the time. It's very painful and makes it hard to breathe as it pushes up against my lungs.The urgent medical treatment this page will fund -
I have to return to Seattle asap for 6 months to have multiple surgeries and IV treatment:
- Surgery to hopefully help me be able to eat again and the surgical test to diagnose if I have CIPO
- Appointments with my specialists at the University of Washington Hospital and Edmonds Hospital
- Biopsies to find out which autoimmune disease I have
- IV antibiotics for Lyme disease and multiple infections
- IV nutrients to help build my immune system and stop my body so rapidly degenerating.
- Extensive bloodwork, medications and medical supplies
- Physiotherapy for severe muscle wasting and joint pain
- Flight and accommodation
^^ Lyme disease can cause carditis and heart complications. Babesia, a co-infection of Lyme disease can also cause heart palpitations. I really need your help -
I'm determined to continue to fight for my life. The way things are, this is not living. I've lost so many years to these illnesses and they've taken all the good from my life. I want so much to be able to spend time with the people I care about, to have a job and to be healthy. But time is running out for me.
No donation is too small. It'll take a community to reach this goal so if you can help, or know someone who can help, or can organize a fundraising event wherever you are in the world, it would mean so much to me.
You can also donate directly to -
Denise Ryan Lyme Fund
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much,
Note: My previous GoFundMe page was called gofundme.com/10000tenners, which was how I afforded seeing the 2 gastroenterologists in Seattle and my Lyme disease treatment over the past 3 years. So I called this page gofundme.com/10000tenners2!