I was just 11 and on a trip to Germany with the school choir in 1991 when I came out in a rash.
Put down to an insect sting, it was actually caused by a tick stuck in my leg.
The parasite was removed but on my return to the UK, I became seriously ill and I have had various health problems ever since.
But it was only last year when I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, a condition caused by the bacteria a tick can carry.
Over the years, my many health problems – and those of our children – have been attributed to various causes.
I have suffered a catalogue of health problems, including joint and abdominal pain, migraines, leg and facial swellings, severe fatigue and sickness, hearing difficulties and tinnitus, memory problems, a drooping left eye, difficulty swallowing, ovary problems, gall stones, heartburn and acid reflux, palpitations and anxiety attacks. These are just a few to list.
At one stage, I lost five and a half stone in five months.
But it was only when I chanced upon Lyme Disease on the internet just over a year ago that I realised it could hold the key to all my health problems.
A basic NHS test came back negative, so I turned to a private clinic in Newcastle.
Test results were sent off to an American specialist and they proved positive, leaving me with the answers at last.
A cocktail of antibiotics and supplements have helped ease the symptoms, but I am still far from well.
Then there’s my husband Rob and children Joshua, ten, Kaitlyn, seven and Dexter, two, to consider, as all suffer various health issues.
And because it is possible for Lyme to be passed from a mother to her unborn child, or to a partner through sexual contact, I am now fundraising to get all of them tested fully. Our daughter has already tested positive.
I was never the same after coming home from that trip. I couldn’t get better afterwards but they couldn’t find what was wrong with me.
I had lots of symptoms but they were put down to other things. But when I found out about Lyme Disease, it was like a jigsaw puzzle fitting together at last.
I want to put out a warning for people to be cautious when they’re out in the countryside. A simple bite can turn your world upside down.
Because of the lack of knowledge in this disease, I have lost my dignity, my human rights, my house, my life! When I was little I dreamed of growing up, this was NOT what I imagined life would be!
Current Location: North Yorkshire, UK
Infected in: Black Forest, Gemany