I have lived my entire adult life with pain, fatigue and other symptoms for which medical professionals could find no explanation and offer no treatment. I have searched far and wide for the cause of my illness and for relief from my many symptoms. I have been ridiculed and treated poorly by many medical professionals who didn`t take me seriously and have lost count of the number of times I have left the doctors surgery in tears. Not only have I had to live my life with a chronic illness, but I have also had to suffer the emotional pain of being treated like I was making it all up. It`s terrifying when you are so sick and in so much pain and no one knows what is wrong with you or how to help you. I found out almost 20 years after the initial onset of my illness, that this ‘mystery’ illness was Lyme Disease & Co-infections. Lyme disease (also known as Borreliosis) is transmitted by ticks. When a tick bites, the Borrelia bacteria, along with other infections (co-infections) are transferred to the victim. I was unlucky enough to be bitten by a tick carrying these infections.
My illness came on very suddenly in 1993, the day I got my driver`s licence. I had just turned 17 and had just finished High School. I was ready to take on the world and live my life independently. I was not to know that it would be a life ruled by chronic illness & pain. That night, I was rushed to the Emergency Department with a severe headache, dizziness, trouble breathing, tingling and numbness in my arms and legs and a high fever. One minute I was a fit and healthy teenager who hardly ever got sick, and the next I was living every day feeling completely exhausted and weak with constant face & jaw pain, muscle pain, dizziness, trouble breathing and headaches. Painkillers offered no relief. Sleep and rest didn`t make any difference to how I felt. Even after 10 hours of sleep, I still felt like I hadn`t slept at all.
No doctors or specialists could tell me what was wrong with me or offer any treatment. My tests were all normal. 2 years after initially getting sick, I also started getting arthritic type joint pain, abdominal pain, neck & back pain, digestive issues & neurological symptoms which I have battled with ever since. I have seen over 22 doctors, 23 specialists, countless Naturopaths and Complementary Therapists. I have spent around $50,000 searching for the cause of my illness and trying to treat my symptoms. 14 years after the onset of my illness, I was formally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia but I knew there was an underlying cause and I kept searching for answers. I couldn`t go on living with this pain and fatigue my whole life. I longed to feel well and be pain free.
Over time, I have become progressively worse and my symptoms have intensified, particularly over the last 8 years. Due to my illness, I was only able to work part time, and gradually had to cut back my hours as my health declined further. Currently, I am unable to work at all.
I have been house bound for the last year and a half, completely debilitated, with my life being put on hold. Most of that time I have had such severe fatigue that I have been unable to move from my bed or off the couch and I have struggled to walk, even from the bed to the bathroom. Some days my fatigue has been so severe, I couldn`t sit, feed myself or lift my head from the pillow. Alot of the time, I rely on a wheelchair for mobility and I have terrifying seizures. I have thought I was dying on several occasions and feared that I would never recover.
Treatment of Late Stage, Chronic Lyme Disease is very expensive, complex and takes many years. I have been treating my Lyme Disease with antibiotics and herbals for two and a half years now, with little improvement. Treatment is currently costing my fiancé and I in excess of $450 a week which is a phenomenal strain on us financially, especially with me not being well enough to work. So far, we have spent $35,000 on treatment in Australia and I still have a long way to go. Having an illness that is not formally recognised in this country means that we do not receive government rebates for medications and treatment.
St Georg Klinik in Germany uses hyperthermia treatment along with IV therapies to treat the Borrelia infection. It`s a 2 week intensive treatment in a hospital setting with Doctors that are experienced in treating patients with Lyme Disease (Borreliosis). It is proving to be the most effective & fastest method of treating Lyme Disease currently available and this treatment offers me hope of a full recovery. This treatment along with flights will cost in excess of $35,000. Upon returning, the expense will continue due to a post-treatment protocol which involves costly IV therapy & supplements. For this reason, I am reaching out and asking for help to enable me to undergo this treatment which offers so much hope & a chance at getting my life back.
I am extremely fortunate to have met the love of my life and to have a supportive, understanding partner who has been there for me every step of the way for the last 9 years. I dream of the day when I can marry the man I love and we can start a life together that isn`t ruled by chronic illness. I dream of us having a family together. Lyme Disease has meant that we have been unable to do those things that so many people take for granted.
I am grateful for my loving family who have supported and believed in me all these years and for close friends I have made along this journey. They have kept me strong during the darkest of times. Most of all I am grateful that I am still alive and that I have hope of being free of this terrible illness. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and continues to support me. I wish you all happiness and wellness.
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