It’s been a while since I posted a blog to share my Lyme diagnosis, which I received in mid-December 2020. The purpose of the blog was to create awareness about Lyme disease. Since I wrote the blog many people have contacted me to wish me well on my journey to recovery. I very much appreciate all the good wishes and ongoing support. Others have contacted me, worried about their own health, having suffered from similar debilitating symptoms, with no plausible explanation coming from their doctors or consultants. Drawing from my own experience I have been directing them towards the appropriate types of testing and most effective supports. Whilst it is not good news to get a diagnosis of Lyme disease, it is indeed a relief to these individuals to now have clarity on their chronic health issues and to now formulate a recovery plan, and work towards good health. There is light at the end of this tunnel.
Lyme disease is becoming increasingly prevalent in this country. Unfortunately there is still not enough awareness among the medical community and the general public about this disease, and how serious it can become if not treated immediately. Prevention is better than cure. In this regard, with summer well and truly on its way, great care should be taken by all who enjoy the great outdoors to prevent themselves from being bitten .
* Always keep your arms and legs covered when in wooded areas and whilst exploring the countryside. It’s a good idea to tuck your trousers into your socks.
* Stick to paths and trails and avoid walking in long grass.
* Use a tick repellent spray on all exposed skin e.g. Smidge.
* Check yourself and your pets after being outdoors.
* Carry a tick remover kit with you all the time. You can get these in pet shops or online. I tried to source them in a few local pharmacies , but none stocked them. Ticks should never be removed by pulling them out with your fingers. This will crush the tick’s body, and may cause it to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the bite wound. If used properly the tick remover can be a simple, safe and effective way to remove them from your skin.
* If you do get bitten and especially if you see a Bulls Eyes rash seek medical attention immediately.
I was first diagnosed with Lyme disease in December 2020. I had become very unwell after a photographic trip to Italy in October 2019. I became progressively worse over the next 14 months. I got blood testing done privately in Germany( Armin Laboratories ) in November 2020 . Testing revealed that I had numerous strains of Lyme disease in my system, including the North American strain. It turns out I have been infected with Lyme disease on 3 separate occasions in my lifetime. I was first infected with Lyme disease in 1975 when I was bitten by ticks on my grandparents farm in west Clare. In 1985, 10 years later, whilst working in America on a student visa , I was infected again. These first 2 separate infections affected me mostly neurologically , leaving me profoundly deaf and with a life long history of chronic fatigue and other debilitating symptoms and illnesses. The infection in October 2019 from a mosquito bite affected me differently. This time the Lyme disease manifested itself in the form of chronic back pain, joint pain and debilitating stiffness.
Having finally got a diagnosis, I now had clarity about my health . With this knowledge, I have been able to start the healing process. In addition to receiving excellent help from my ID consultant. I am also trying several other therapies alongside conventional medicine, all of which are making a remarkable difference. At long last there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am now 6 months into treatment and have seen profound changes. I have no doubt that in time I will be healthier than I have ever been in my life. Over the years the Lyme disease took a huge toll on my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. I have been to the darkest of places on too many occasions I would wish to recall. However it was from that darkness that my creativity blossomed and my love for photography was born over 10 years ago. My photography continues to bring joy into my life, and is very much a part of my recovery. I have had to adapt and change the way I work in order to do what is manageable for me . Seascape photography is what I truly love. The sea brings out the best in me and my work. I presently don’t have the energy and strength it takes to travel to different coastal locations, get down to the shoreline with heavy tripod and gear, and stand there for a few hours, as I normally do. These days when I have energy I prefer to do some walking to maintain and build up my fitness levels. I bring a camera with me sometimes. Up until about a month or so ago, I would have found carrying a camera on a walk took too much out of me, but I can manage it most of the time now. I try to chase the light at every opportunity, even if it’s not at the shoreline anymore. Being able to do aerial photography suits me very well at the moment . It requires relatively little energy compared to what I normally do. I can drive to a location and set the drone up within seconds. The aerial photography also gives me the opportunity to get a different perspective on the landscapes at many of my favourite locations. It has, in addition, enabled me to capture images from locations that are otherwise impossible to photograph from the ground.
Needless to say , it’s not all plain sailing with my recovery and sometimes I take a few steps backwards with my progress before I get established back on my path again. In that regard I would like to thank my cousin, Siobhan , whose support and friendship has been a great source of comfort over the past few months and has assured me that I am slaying more demons than I am gathering .
Thanks, as always to my family and friends for their enduring love and support.