My name is Melissa, I am 25 years old and trying my hardest to overcome a disease that has completely and utterly taken over not only my body but has completely turned my life upside down. Lyme Disease is its name and is just one of the myriad of illnesses I am either currently fighting or have overcome over the years. Most people don't understand this illness, including Australian Medical Practitioners and according to the Australian Government this illness does not exist.
AS OF 2017 MY CURRENT DIAGNOSES ARE:
Lyme Disease and co-infections; babesia, chlamydia pneumoniae, mycoplasma.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Fibromyalgia/myalgic encephalitis (Chronic Pain)
Epstein-Barr Virus (glandular fever)
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
Heavy Metal toxicity
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
Low blood pressure
Liver and Intestinal parasites
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Insufficient detoxing pathways
To the outside world and to social media I am a young, healthy-looking and busy 20 something year old. 2 degrees under her belt, a “full-time” job and “always” hanging with her friends. Little do people know that to prepare for that one night out or brunch with friends I will spend the two-three days prior; resting, sleeping and hoping that my body will hold up for me. It is for this reason and the constant dismissal by doctors, specialists and GPs that I kept my illness behind closed doors for so many years, not even my parents knew the true depth of it. The symptoms are so unpredictable, bizarre and constant that they become a normal part of your life. You slowly sink into a world of “this is my new normal, there is nothing wrong with me.” It is an illness that can leave you bed-bound for hours, days and even months. It leaves me feeling absolutely and completely paralysed with fatigue after just having a shower or making my bed. You will often find me curled up on the bathroom floor, towel wrapped around me in the fetal position sleeping just so I can gather enough energy to get myself back to my room where I would sleep for another few hours. For years I have laid in my bed at night praying that I will sleep through and not wake up every hour with extreme pain and it’s almost a given that I would always wake up in a sweat drenched fever.
Thanks to lyme disease and its co-infections invading my body, the majority of my organs in particular my heart, brain, liver and intestines have been damaged. I now suffer from cardiac issues, brain lesions, severe intestinal problems and autonomic nervous system failures. I will often drop to the floor with little warning due to black outs and will wake up in the morning unable to obtain enough oxygen with each breath I take. The left-side of my face will become numb and I will have tingling “pins and needles like” sensations throughout my body. However, it is the brain fog that can consume my thoughts and cognitive processes that frightens me the most. I have not read a book in years due to an inability to process the storyline quickly enough and some days I can’t even string a sentence together without stumbling over words. Some days I will forget where I am driving to or how to even get home. Mood swings are rife, anxiety and depression can set-in at any time and the never ending systemic pain that swarms my body from head to toe on a daily basis is unbearable. These are just some of the 67 of the possible 102 symptoms of Lyme Disease that I suffer from.
Whilst Lyme Disease is a significant contributor to my current ill-health, I am also fighting and treating a severe mould allergy of which i am genetically pre-disposed to and has consequently triggered another illness by the name of CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome). This is an illness that is more damaging to me these days than anything else as it can be triggered at anytime with no warning. Any form of mental or physical exhaustion will send my Nervous System into chaos, whether I be having brunch and having to concentrate on conversation or walking down the end of my street; my body will become heavily inflamed, my heart rate will sit at 160bpm and my entire body will start to seize up. Its like my body thinks it’s just run half a marathon: all those post race aches and pains you get?
Imagine having those on the daily just because you spent too long concentrating on a conversation with your friends whilst trying to block out any external stimuli.
Any contact with mould will trigger CIRS; symptoms include shortness of breath, air hunger, heart palpitations, fevers, severe pain, migraine, bloating, photophobia, noise sensitivity, brain fog, debilitating fatigue, anxiety, depression and at times suicidal ideation. Because of this, I have had to throw out most of my belongings, clothing, books, jewellery, shoes and ornaments due to being contaminated by mould and unable to be resurrected. Our whole house has been remediated, every wall, floor and surface has been washed and wiped with vinegar (a known mould killer), we have air purifiers situated around the house to keep the air mould and chemical free, my bedroom now resembles somewhat of a hospital room; 4 white walls, a bed and an air purifier, no one else is allowed to step inside my room for fear of possible contamination. All clothing must be bagged at the end of the day before being taken through the house to our washing machine and being washed and then rinsed in vinegar. I am unable to sit near, touch or hug anyone who has been contaminated by mould due to being so sensitive. This includes family members and friends. Imagine not being able to hug your own mum unless she has showered and changed her clothes beforehand, imagine not being able to hug your sister for months due to her living in a mould contaminated apartment.
After being diagnosed with all these illnesses back in 2016 I commenced a year of treatment here in Melbourne with a lyme literate, holistic doctor. With the support of my lyme literate doctor and a range of therapists (myotherapist, naturopaths, osteopaths and kinesiologists) I had gathered under my wing over the years to try to manage my symptoms, we embarked on a 12 month journey that unfortunately sent me spiralling down hill faster than any of us expected. The problem with treating lyme disease is that the dead bacteria cause the exact same symptoms as the live bacteria. This means that if you cannot detox them from your system fast enough you are going to suffer from even worse symptoms. Little did we know back then that I am also allergic to lyme disease and most of the anti-microbials used to treat it. Treatments included, a number of anti-microbial tinctures, IV vitamin C and glutathione (of which I soon became anaphylactic too), and up to 50 tablets a day. Along with a strict wholesome paleo, organic diet, daily infrared saunas, epsom salt and magnesium baths, dry scrubbing and detox cleanses.
It very quickly became clear to me that I needed help, and urgently. So earlier this year I made the decision to seek treatment overseas. Treatment here in Melbourne was not working, I was barely able to work; only working a few days a week so I could afford my never ending medical bills (not covered by medicare), barely able to walk and unable to make conversation or string words together. The days I didn't have to drag myself to work were spent in bed, unable to move sometimes unable to even lift my head off my pillow.
I found a treatment centre in Cyprus which offered Intravenous ozone therapy, IV vitamins and minerals, IV laser therapy, electromagnetic stimulation, daily physiotherapy and rehabilitation, colonics, ultraviolet light therapy and Hyperbaric Chamber Oxygen Therapy. This was a five week out-patient program, it pretty much saved my life. It got me on the right track to healing and fighting for remission.
Since returning from Cyprus in June I have maintained a strict diet, medicine and supplement schedule and continued with daily ozone treatments and holistic therapies. Unfortunately, I have been unable to work and may never be able to put to use my degrees in nursing and midwifery ever again. I am now 100% reliant on my parents support, I have spent my whole life savings and am nowhere near remission. I have become allergic and sensitive to most foods, living on rice, white fish, carrots and broccoli for the past month due to all other foods leaving me with horrible bloating, cramping, intestinal spasms and week-long brain fog.
Unfortunately, due to being sick for so long, the damage to my body is much greater than we thought. The treatment cleared many of my organs of any lyme bacteria or infection but it has not cleared my body completely. We are still finding lyme bacteria in my heart and brain and fighting a number of other infections including; staph, mould toxicity and severe gastrointestinal issues and parasites. Whilst I have made huge progress in some areas i have made very little in others. I am still house-bound most days due to life altering chemical and environmental sensitivities, overwhelming fatigue, brain fog and constant systemic (head-to-toe) pain.
This illness has not only taken over my body but my life, my identity; I am but a skeleton of my former self. I have lost friends, I have lost best friends and I have lost all meaning and purpose for my place on this earth. I have poured my heart and soul into finding a cure or some form of relief to the myriad of symptoms i battle on a daily basis and am in no way ready to give up this fight. Unfortunately all funds have been exhausted. This year alone my family and I have spent over $50,000 in treatments and therapies, so you can imagine over 10 years how much my parents in particular have spent to try and return their daughter to her former self.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
6 week treatment in Cyprus, including flights and accommodation will cost $20,000-$25,000
Stem Cells will cost approximately $10,000
All together I hope to raise $35,000.
This is where I come to you for help, any little donation or sharing of this post will help get me that one step closer to remission. We know that Cyprus works, we know that my body responds incredibly well to its treatments and we truly believe that another round of treatment there could just be what I need along with a round of stem cell treatment in Sydney upon return to help regenerate all the damaged cells, muscles and ligaments that have been infected by Lyme disease over the years.
So please, if you can help in anyway I would forever be grateful no matter how big or small your donation may be, every little bit counts. I am so incredibly determined to get my life back, to become a normal 20 something year old, to date, to hangout with friends and to just live a normal life; go to work, do household chores and do the supermarket shopping. I may never be able to work as a nurse/midwife again due to being highly susceptible to mould but if I have learnt anything from this illness; it is that I can do anything I want if i put my mind to it. A whole other world has been opened up to me, everything happens for a reason and I feel that I am here to help the thousands of others who are suffering from chronic illnesses just like me. I want to help, I want to inspire and I want to find a cure.
Any money left over and not required to spend on treatment I will donate to the Lyme Disease Association of Australia.
DonationsSee top donations
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