One bite of a tick deprived Emma Love of her health and the happy life she once knew.
Just five weeks after a Co-Ferman woman spent a weekend at a campsite in Scotland, she suddenly became paralyzed and passed out trying to get up.
Emma went to bed hoping it was just the flu, but unfortunately the impotence in her legs was the first symptom of Lyme's potentially fatal illness – and worse to follow.
Unknown to Emma, she was bitten by a tick, which caused a terrible bacterial infection to enter her bloodstream, and three years later into her brain.
For three years without an accurate diagnosis, she suffered from a number of debilitating and often terrifying symptoms, not only varying in intensity, but also appearing unchanged.
But now Emma knows that she most likely lost the chance of a complete cure, but finally, she has a diagnosis that gave her the way to treatment.
Emma said: “I suddenly felt bad a few weeks after we went camping in Highlands in Scotland in 2016. I was camping with my partner Ryan. We had a great vacation, but little we knew how much I would have to pay for this little pleasure.
“Once, when I got up and my legs gave way, I fell to the floor. I had no strength in my legs, and although she was gradually returning, I still had numbness, pins and needles, and weakness in my left leg.
“I remember that weekend in Highland and remember that he was so happy and carefree, but he ruined my health and my life.
“I went through many tests, including an MRI of the brain and spinal cord, blood tests and neurological examinations.
“After a week I was discharged and advised that no one honestly knew what was wrong with me, and I would have to go to neurology on an outpatient basis.
“Then on the left I became unable to use my left hand, it was unsafe for me to be on my own. I would burn myself and not feel a burn on my left hand before it was too late. I could not go in and out of the bathroom or even make tea for myself.
“I was tested for all types, including MS, and my symptoms continued to worsen.
“Every month I had a new symptom or pain, and I had many tests, non-invasive and invasive, including numerous MRI, nerve conduction studies and lumbar puncture.
“I was diagnosed with functional neurological disorder, migraine, stuck nerves, fibromyalgia, costochondritis, trochanteric bursitis, which is an inflammation of the costal and hip joints.
Despite all the efforts of the NHS, only when Emma's cousin mentioned the possibility of Lyme disease did the picture suddenly clear up.
A study conducted at home showed that each of its symptoms can be attributed to Lyme disease, and extensive tests conducted by a private specialist confirmed its correctness.
Emma said: “My mother found the best laboratory for testing for Lyme disease, and it was completed in Germany, and a week later the results were obtained.
“They showed that I have chronic Lyme disease or Lyme neuroborreliosis, which means these bacteria are in my brain. In addition, I have concomitant infections and a very suppressed immune system.
“So, after three years of suffering, I now had the answer.
“Since then, I have followed all possible paths to get the treatment I need at the NHS, but due to a lack of recognition and resources in Northern Ireland, the available options have not yet answered.
“For me and my family, the main priority is recovery, because three years of my life were lost due to inexplicable illnesses and incorrect diagnoses.
“Thus, we have no choice but to retire again, but since my family has exhausted its means to pay for private meetings, I have to ask for help.
“I can’t work for two years because of this terrible disease. I really want this treatment so that I can get better, return to work and live a normal life of a 29-year-old.
“I’ve been sick since I was 26 and I feel that I have lost so much that this disease took me several years of life, and now I know what causes the disease, I want to treat it and get better,
“This is scary, because if left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to death. At the moment, I had all the symptoms of the disease, except for heart problems, so I want to be treated as soon as possible.
“Now we have found a private specialist, and, following his treatment plans, his patients report that they have returned to almost full health, which is surprising.
“These meetings are expensive, and he heals using both Western medicine and alternative medicine. Therefore, it will be a long-term treatment plan that includes taking medication for up to two years. ”
Now Emma, a former student at the University of Western Scotland at Paisley, hopes that a massive and long-term dose of antibiotics can help her regain her former life.
She explained: “There are days when I can only lie on the couch and snuggle up to my dog. It hurts me all the time, I'm exhausted. I have a terrible memory, my concentration is very poor, and I feel depressed. I have problems with the entire left side of the body, and I have a constant weakness in my left arm, leg and neck.
“I just want my life back. I used to be so busy, happy, full of life and fun.
“I have my first meeting with a specialist in February, which cannot come fast enough. It will be a long process, but there is already light at the end of the tunnel over the past few years. ”
Emma's life in Scotland began in 2010 with great expectations, and she received a bachelor's degree in tourism and event organization.
She said: “After I graduated, I stayed in Glasgow, got a job at NHS 24 and found that I really like helping people. "I never thought that I would have to ask for help for myself or be chronically ill, especially before I turn 30 years old."
Emma had to quit her job and her life in Scotland, and two years ago she moved home to Enniskillen to become closer to her family.
She had to quit her job and her freedom and expect her boyfriend Ryan to become her guardian.
She said, “Ryan is stuck with me, but our life has completely changed. I'm not the kind of person I used to be, Ryan had to quit his job in the insurance industry and look after me, and he got a part-time job at KFC, and he needs this to take a break from caring for me all day.
"I cannot turn back the clock, and I am determined to get the best I can, but I need help."
This means that they need to undergo long-term antibiotics to try to take control of the bacteria in her brain.
And initially it will cost thousands, and so far Emma has raised 2,300 pounds, and she needs another 2,000 pounds to pay for her appointments.
Emma said: "I can’t believe that in this position I ask for donations that will help me regain my life, I want to return to who I was before – or as close as possible."
If you want to help Emma achieve her treatment goal, you can click here.
88 recorded symptoms of Lyme disease:
- Hair loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Headache, mild, severe or migraine
- Head pressure
- Twitching of the facial or other muscles
- Facial paralysis
- Tingling nose, tongue, cheek, or facial redness
- Stiff or sore neck
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Dental problems
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Double or blurry vision
- Increased floating spots
- Pain or swelling around the eyes
- Hypersensitivity to light
- Flashing lights / peripheral waves / phantom images in the corners of the eyes
- Hearing loss
- Buzzing in the ears
- Sound sensitivity
- Ringing in one or both ears
- Irritating bladder
- Interstitial cystitis
- Stomach upset
- Acid reflux
- Bone pain
- Joint pain / swelling
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Stiff joints, back, neck
- Muscle aches or cramps
- Shortness of breath, cannot breathe fully / satisfactorily, cough
- Chest pain or rib pain
- Night sweats
- Unexplained chills
- Heart palpitations
- Burning or stitching in the body
- Fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome,
- Weakness, peripheral neuropathy
- Partial paralysis
- Numbness in the body, tingling, injections
- Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
- Mood swings
- Unusual depression
- Disorientation – lose or feel lost
- Feeling like you're going crazy
- Over-emotional reactions
- to oversleep
- Difficulty falling asleep or falling asleep
- Sleep apnea
- Panic attacks
- Memory loss
- Difficulty with concentration
- Speech difficulty – slurred, slow, or stuttering speech
- Loss of sex drive
- Menstrual pain, irregularity
- Chest pain, discharge
- Testicular or pelvic pain
- Phantom odors
- Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Swollen glands / lymph nodes
- Unexplained fever
- Permanent infections – sinuses, kidneys, eyes
- Migratory pain
- Flu-like disease
- Low body temperature
- Allergy / Chemical Sensitivity
- Increased effect of alcohol
- Depression and anxiety
- Mobility issues
- Brain fog
- Chronic sore throat
- Unregulated body temperature
- Low B12, Low Vitamin D, Low Folic Acid
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