Stephen Y

I was bitten whilst weeding in my garden in south Wales. I brushed the insect off after it bit me (I thought it was a splinter) leaving a tiny black speck on my index finger. I couldnt get this out at the time and it sat in there for well over a month without me thinking any more about it. I became ill about three months later. My doctor told me I had arthritis because of my age (I was 54 at the time). I refused to accept this and returned again and again, eventually swapping doctors in the hope of some extra guidance. He very reluctantly referred me (“difficult” patient that I was) to a specialist who found nothing wrong with me. This story repeated two more times until I decided to start searching online for help. A few minutes exertion left me exhausted for days. I couldnt sleep and I gradually became allergic to all types of food. I had arthritis in all my joints and I was no longer able to play the piano (I am a musician) due to the pain in my hands. Each day seemed to bring a new symptom. Eventually my GP decided it was depression and subscribed a book. It was well over a year later before I went private and finally got antibiotics subscribed for possible lyme. I began to recover within a week. I was finally able to return to work a year after this: two years after I was bitten. The NHS has never officially accepted the diagnosis and, although my GP did agree to prescribe antibiotics he never accepted that they were helping and always gave me a hard time over it. As to my battles over incapacity benefit and jobseekers allowances – I wont even go there. I tried to come off antibiotics last year for three months (4 years after infection) and relapsed dramatically. Whether I will ever be completely free of this illness remains to be seen but I am not hopeful at the moment. The antibiotics nevertheless have given me something of my old life back.

Current Location: Iceland
Infected in: South Wales