Joanne Drayson Guildford Surrey

I started suffering with arthritis in mainly my large joints especially my knees in 2003. The symptoms varied every joint was affected except my elbows. I was told it would be hormonal.

All my symptoms deteriorated significantly over a few weeks in 2005. Hips shoulders and knees being the worst and I started with muscle weakness in upper arms and upper legs. I had difficulty standing and walking across a room. I was unable to walk upstairs. I had seen 5 doctors and 3 Rheumatologists and put on steroids for Poly Myalgia Rheumatica diagnosis. I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Musculo Skeletal Disease.

I have X rays and scans showing signs of osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. I have been retired early from the Civil Service. My illness seemed to progress through my body not affecting the same joints left to right at the same time. I had bursitis in left hip, right hip, left elbow. I had synovial thickening in both wrists. At that time I could not lift and hold a magazine so lifting a kettle I could only do if a third full and with two hands. Each joint in my hands fingers feet and toes were affected. I had swallowing difficulties and many other symptoms. None of this describes the endless and awful pain whenever I moved or the tiredness but inability to get quality sleep.

In 2007 my GP gave me a chance course of Amoxicillin. All my arthritis symptoms improved. The course ended the symptoms deteriorated I started a second course the symptoms improved. This led my GP to suspect Lyme Disease. They had other cases in the surgery. A record of bites rashes summer flu were all documented on my notes in March 05. My worst symptoms were waking up feeling rigid and having to painfully flex every joint in my body before struggling to get up. The only other time I had experienced this was in May 2003 during a flu like illness like no other I had ever experienced. At that time I had a bite and similar rash on my right foot which lasted like the other rashes about four weeks. I removed what I now believe was a nymphal tick, I had also consulted the surgery and it was dismissed as a virus. I walked our dog daily in the woods adjacent to our house.

Thus started my search about Lyme Disease leading me to a doctor who specializes in this illness. He confirmed my GP’s suspicions. I never had a positive blood test but then they are antibody tests and research shows they are unreliable. In my case the year of steroids and many weeks antibiotics could have affected the results. So with a clinical diagnosis I continued on antibiotics for many months. Both my doctors continued to treat me despite Health Protection Agency advising against long term antibiotics. I have recovered my health, I have no pain or muscle weakness. I can walk upstairs something I could not do for three and a half years. I can garden do house work, cycle and live a normal life. Life is such a joy.

Current Location: Guildford Surrey
Infected in: Woods across from where I live in Guildford Surrey