Why I need your help?
In January 2016 I was bitten by a tick. The tick was infected with bacteria that has led to a rapid decline in my health. Over the past 14 months this complex and chronic illness has eaten away at my muscles, joints, organs, brain and central nervous system.
As a result of the tick bite, I’ve been misdiagnosed with multiple autoimmune conditions. On a daily basis I endure immense physical pain (details below) that has left me mentally, emotionally, and financially depleted. The reason I so desperately need your support is because Lyme disease (Lyme-like illness) is complex to treat and Australia is internationally known to have one of the most ineffective treatment plans available.
I have exhausted all options in Australia. Therefore, I have no other option but to travel overseas to access specialised healthcare. This will cost more than $20,000.00. Why does it cost so much?
Initially I was instructed by doctors to consume hundreds of dollars of supplements and medication weekly just to manage my symptoms. When this didn’t help, I was then encouraged to undergo Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in Melbourne. This therapy cost me over $19,000 for a month of travel, treatment, doctor appointments and tests. This slightly improved my symptoms, but it hasn't eliminated the pathogen and I am still experiencing debilitating symptoms.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Photo: Me undergoing HBOT in Melbourne in January 2017.
Like many other Australian Lyme (Lyme-like illness) patients, I have no other choice but to travel overseas to Cyprus (Eastern Mediterranean) for more specialised treatment which will cost about $20,000.00. This will give me the best chance of making a full recovery, as Cyprus is considered to have the best and most affordable treatment in the world for Lyme disease, with many successful results. The clinic has availability as early as July 2017 to treat me. I, therefore, have three months to raise the funds required.
Until then, I must continue to undergo HBOT in Australia in order to manage my symptoms. This is expected to cost another $12,000 before I leave for Cyprus. What was my life like before Lyme disease?
Before being bitten, I was a fit, health conscious, active and busy 27-year-old Mathematics and Science teacher who loved to teach, run (including half marathons) and play soccer. Trying to undertake any of these activities now, as well as normal daily tasks, requires tremendous effort and can leave me bedridden and in full body pain for days.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Photo: Me and mum at my graduation in December 2015.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Photo: Me after the Cadbury Half Marathon in January 2016 (2 weeks before being bitten).
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Photo: Me before a game of soccer in pre-season 2016.My diagnoses:
Over the past 12 months, I have been diagnosed with:
- Irritable bowel disease (IBS);
- Severe food allergies;
- Sleeping disorders;
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome;
- Early signs of diabetes;
- Early sings of multiple sclerosis;
- Early sings of Rheumatoid arthritis.
All of these have been misdiagnoses. Lyme disease affects every bodily system and organ and mimics other illnesses such as Lupus, Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, Fibromyalgia, Motor Neuron Disease and many other unexplained autoimmune diseases. Lyme is an infection caused by a bacteria that is transmitted when bitten by a tick. As well as giving people Lyme disease, the tick often transmits other diseases. With specialised treatment (that is not available in Australia) Lyme disease is beatable.On a daily basis, what does it feel like to share my body with Lyme disease?
- Splitting headaches.
- Intense pressure in my head.
- Tingling and burning in my nose, tongue and cheeks.
- Recurring tonsillitis.
- Blurry vision and oversensitivity to light and sound.
- Decreased hearing, ringing and pain in both ears.
- Constant diarrhea, bloating, irritable bladder.
- Bone, joint and muscle pain and stiffness.
- Burning and stabbing sensations all through my body.
- Shortness of breath, chest pain and rib soreness.
- Insomnia and drenching night sweats.
- Unexplained chillls.
- Heart palpitations and unexplained shaking.
- Tremendous fatigue and weakness.
- Poor balance, dizziness and increased motion sickness.
- Disorientation, memory loss, confusion.
- Difficulty concentrating and reading.
- Speech difficulties including stammering speech.
- Unexplained and painful weight gain.
- Swollen glands and lymph nodes; and
- Increase in allergies and chemical sensitivities.
Despite the daily struggle, I am ready to fight. I want to feel human again, to live without pain and fear of further deterioration. Also, I want to raise awareness so that in the future other Lyme disease sufferers can access specialised and affordable treatment in Australia.
Your support means the world to me. Whether this be financial or sharing my page to help spread awareness about Lyme disease. I appreciate every bit of your help.FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT LYME DISEASE
Due to political issues, specialised treatments performed overseas are not available in Australia. Lyme disease is a major point of contention amongst the Australian medical community and this doesn’t help anyone, least of all the sufferers, but the epidemic of Lyme in Australia is undeniable.
We need to raise awareness about tick-borne illness here in Australia. We need to acknowledge that it's here and it's affecting our lives, stealing our health and killing us and our loved ones.
We desperately need:
- Lyme literate Doctors;
- Education around vector-borne disease;
- Early detection and intervention; and
- Affordable treatment for patients. Below are some helpful links to provide more information surrounding Lyme disease in Australia, if you would like to know more! http://www.health.gov.au/lyme-disease