Health · lifestyle

The Hidden Epidemic – Lyme Disease

It’s estimated there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year. I strongly believe this number is doubled but we know so little about Lyme disease as a country that people are walking around undiagnosed with this life debilitating disease.
If you have not come across Lyme disease before I’m going to give you some background of the disease. Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks.
If detected early on after being bitten, it can often be treated effectively. But if it’s not treated or treatment is delayed, there’s a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms … and so my story begins.
Let me take you back to June 2010, Me, Phil and my family jetted off to a luxury villa in Portugal. When we arrived, we couldn’t believe how stunning the villa was, with our own pool and gardens it was a once in a life time type of trip. This trip certainly changed our life but unfortunately not in the way we had imagined.

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On that holiday, my sister and step sister turned 21 so we had a party in the villa, we had a brilliant night ending up in a pool party. During this particular night, we played hide and seek … me and my mum hid together in the garden area that had long grass, my mum was bitten by a tick while we hid.
She developed a bullseye rash but we didn’t know anything about the disease so life went on, until my mum became poorly, she was extremely tired, had headaches and muscle pain. Now my mum or super woman as I call her is just that … a super woman. She has always been full of energy and was always on the go. So, when she got the early symptoms she went to the doctor for help. It’s been 7 years now since that bite and she is still fighting to get any treatment for the disease, it’s taken her test after test, hospital visits, biopsies, self-medication and pain and she is still no further forward. I feel I need to go further into the pain my mum deals with every day. Her joints are so painful now that sometimes she can barely walk, it keeps her awake at night and its affected her whole life. Lyme diseases can affect people’s organs when not treated and its attacking my mum’s liver, she has life altering pain daily with her liver and her levels when having bloods taken are all wrong, she has also developed auto immune disease as a result of the Lyme disease. These are just a few of the things that she deals with in everyday life, I could go on and on with the other symptoms but this blog would never end. My mum is only 51 and a very health, strong person, she’s never smoked and very rarely drinks alcohol. This disease has robbed her of a full life, and the worst thing about it … no one knows what it is and they can’t see it so no one understands and she’s left to live life struggling. She’s a very proud person and she doesn’t ask for help or tell people how poorly she is, but being her best friend, I know how bad it’s become for her and I know it’s taken some of my mum from me. It’s given her worry and pain when she should be starting to enjoy the next chapter of her life.

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I wanted to write this blog post to warn people of this truly life changing disease. I am by no means a professional or a doctor but in 7 years you can do a lot of research and learn a lot about a subject when you are trying so hard to find answers. I have written some points and symptoms below and also posted a photograph of the bullseye rash.
Early symptoms
• Bullseye rash (normally develops 3 to 36 days after being bitten)
• flu-like symptoms
• Extreme tiredness
• Muscle pain
• High temperature
Later symptoms
• pain and swelling in the joints
• heart problems
• problems with other major organs
• problems affecting the nervous system
• inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
• balance difficulties
• poor memory

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This is an example of a bullseye rash.

Treatment
If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease, you will need be given a course of antibiotics. This early treatment is essential to recovery. My mum never received this so she needs more extensive treatment now, the problem is in the UK not a lot of information is available regarding Lyme disease, this makes it very hard to get a diagnosis. Doctor after Doctor have admitted they don’t know how to treat my mum … this has to change and change fast!
Over the last year especially, a lot more articles have popped up and more people are taking notice of the disease. This is a step in the right direction, but, for my mum a little bit late she now has chronic Lyme disease. She’s lived like this for 7 years and is losing hope. I hold the hope for her because she has to get better and I know she will.
How to avoid getting bitten
• Cover up arms and legs when in woodland or long grass.
• Check your skin and your children’s skin.
• If you are bitten go to your GP immediately, even without symptoms.
• Check your pets for ticks.
• Using insect repellent on exposed skin

 

My mum always says she’s so glad it wasn’t me who was bitten, I want to say to her if I could take this pain, even for a day I would, I wish I could. And to this hidden disease I want to say I see you and so do so many more people every day and together my mum and others suffering will beat you.

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And so, with tears in my eyes i have wrote these words about my mum the most amazing lady you will ever meet.

Thank you for listening
Manda x

If anyone would like to get in touch regarding anything I have wrote, I would love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “The Hidden Epidemic – Lyme Disease

  1. I’m sat on my lunch break with tears in my eyes! Lovely blog for your mum manda. She’s amazing, suffering daily with something i and alot of other people know so little about and yet as an outsider you would have no idea what she is going through. 💛 For anyone reading it you are raising awareness for lyme disease and that in itself is what is needed since we know so little about it. 😚 xx

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