Anyone who has ever met Liz Lamb will tell you she is a ray of sunshine.
An avid beach lover with a razor-sharp humour and a zest for life, the 29 year old Manly resident is the epitome of a quintessential Aussie girl – sun-kissed, smart and constantly surrounded by hoards of family and friends.
But that is the ‘photo-shopped’ version people see every day. On the inside, Liz’s body and mind are fighting a silent battle of ‘epidemic’ proportions.
In 2005 at the age of 17, Liz was first told she’d had glandular fever (EBV). Post-viral fatigue, turning into chronic fatigue syndrome sadly followed, all in the same year.
She managed to complete the school term after taking a term and a half off, and University where she was part-time for five years. Throughout this time, her priority was to try and feel and act normal – hiding her illness from her friends and peers, which complicated her efforts to become well. But upholding her mental health and trying to live a normal school and Uni student life was her main focus.
At University, she ran into further complications including endometriosis, swine flu, tonsillectomy, colonoscopies and endoscopies, pancreatitis, and various other medical investigative procedures which led us to wonder whether there was more to the EBV and CFS diagnoses.
2015 finally led us to a diagnosis. We then revisited her symptom timeline to a trip to Thailand in 2011 which brought a new illness to the fore – with her Doctor believing she had become infected by a mosquito carrying Lyme, co-infections and parasites.
This diagnosis hit Liz and our family for six. We were devastated. We’d heard of it before – its debilitating, complex symptoms, progressive in nature that affect your neurological, musculoskeletal and respiratory systems. We’d heard it was primarily a tick-borne disease that, once infected, has the ability to suppress the immune system and affect all organs in the body. We read that no two Lyme patients are the same, hence the difficulty in treating this invisible chronic illness.
We’d also heard the controversy surrounding it – how the Australian Government could not and would not recognise the disease - and began to experience a barrage of cynicism and scepticism first-hand from the likes of medical practitioners who told her it was “all in her head”.
Before we knew it, Liz’s symptoms had increased - despite a massive diet and lifestyle change, things did not improve; in fact, they worsened. She could only work part-time, and has been unable to work at all for 12 months.
Liz began experiencing what we called the ‘Lyme cocktail’ - including brain fog, chronic fatigue, tinnitus, nerve pain, seizures, nausea, hair loss, night sweats, insomnia, dizziness, lymph pain, heart palpitations, bloating, numbness, brain tingling, temporal and frontal migraines, head pressure, bruising, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, sinus and jaw pain, bartonella marks, eye floaters, fluttering eyes, kidney and liver pain, burning hands, feet and calves, mouth and lip ulcers, temperature control issues, loss of appetite and weight loss.
All of this and more now make up the norm for our Liz.
She is usually bedbound most days if she is not at appointments, hand-in-hand with Mum. If she does go out, it knocks her out for a week. She has been on an IV and oral antibiotic regime as well as several herbal supplements that her body is struggling to tolerate.
Over the last few years, we have calculated our family has spent in excess of AUD $5,000 per month on various consults, supplements, medications and IVs.
The vast majority of these are sadly not claimable by Medicare or private health funds, as Lyme is still not recognised in Australia.
Extensive research (and desperation) has shown us the most effective treatments are currently performed overseas. It is our understanding that the sooner this treatment begins, the better the chance she will have at a normal life.
This page has been created to help our Liz travel to Malaysia for much needed treatment at Dr Radzi’s Oncology and Hyperthermia Centre in Johor Bahru. Every effort is being made to facilitate a place there for Liz in December 2017 / January 2018.
The treatment will be six weeks in total, and the Lyme patients Liz has been in contact with that have returned from Malaysia have had great success in reduced symptoms.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
It’s important to note that asking for monetary help from friends, family and strangers was our last resort. During her life, Liz has always wanted to give rather than to receive. Now is the time to put pride aside and seek the help of friends and the community to get our girl well.
Our goal is to reach an amount of AUD $55,000 – this is the cost of two treatments in Malaysia – and trust us when we say that every little bit counts.
We cannot begin to give our heartfelt thanks to those of you kind enough to donate. Regardless of the outcome, you are giving Liz hope and courage to move forward with her life, and our family cannot put a price on that.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We look forward to continuing to share her journey with you all over the months to come.
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