Hattie, Devon

I was a production manager in food industry, had a good career and was looking at further promotion when I was bitten by a tick in the summer of 1993 at the age of 37. I didn’t know at the time it was tick bite. I went to my GP with the bite and bulls eye rash and was told it was an insect bite that I had probably sustained on a recent holiday to Spain, and that it would go in a few days, and to put some cream on it. I became increasingly unwell over the autumn and collapsed at Christmas. I took sick leave from work at the end of December 1993 and never returned to full time work. I was sacked due to ill health. Over the next few years I was treated for all the usual suspects, ME, fibromyalgia, arthritis, fast heart rate, gut problems etc etc. I never got any better. I was often accused of malingering, I had a psychological assessment which amazingly found me to be fine. At least that was recorded in my notes so I couldn’t be accused of hypochondria, attention seeking or worse. By December 2006 I was barely able to walk and bought myself a wheelchair. I saw a photo of a bulls eye rash on the internet and I realised that was I had had. I then contacted EuroLyme who gave me lots of advice and recommended a private doctor, whom I saw in January 2007. I had tests sent to Igenex in the USA which although inconclusive did reveal some positive markers for Lyme disease. I then took doxcycline for 14 months and substantially recovered a lot of the symptoms. The NHS refused to fund the treatment and so I had to pay privately.

Today I am far from well and have have a legacy of weird symptoms and chronic arthritis, my mobility is very poor and still worsening. I do however run my own business and am well enough to do this with some help, a far cry from how I was. I could probably do with some more treatment now but I spent all my savings trying to keep my head above water and can’t afford any more.

Lyme disease took away my blossoming career, my hobbies (walking, gardening and the outdoors) and a big chunk of my life. I was unable to work from 1993 until 2010 and I had to fund my own treatment. The NHS was no help at all and the rheumatologist even wrote that had she considered for one second that I actually had Lyme disease she would of course have arranged for me to be tested.

Current Location: Blackdown Hills, Devon
Infected in: Blackdown Hills, Devon/Somerset border.