Lee-on-the-Solent mum shares hope for others with Lyme disease as she begins treatment
AFTER years of struggling with Lyme disease, a Lee-on-the-Solent mum can see a light at the end of the tunnel as she starts treatment.
First bitten by a tick 25 years ago, Laura Harris had years of misdiagnoses for her exhaustion and other symptoms until it came to light that she was living with late stage chronic Lyme disease which had hosted itself in her brain.
A fundraising campaign last year successfully raised £2,000 to allow the 40-year-old to travel to Washington, USA, to begin her course of treatment in December - with results already beginning to take effect.
With May being Lyme disease awareness month, Laura wanted to share her struggles to get treatment and spread some hope for other people with the condition.
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Laura, who has started the stabilisation and introduction phases of the antibiotics, said: ‘I have really coped well with it and something feels different in my brain, like a clamp has been released.
‘It’s really tough to navigate yourself around the system but there is hope. You have got to get that mindset that there is a way.’
Taking 30 pills a day, with a year or so of treatment ahead of her and the struggle of being unable to head back to America, Laura has not lost hope and is helping to inspire others through Instagram and the Lyme forums she uses.
She still has really tough days, but has begun to look towards the future after completing her antibiotics and malaria treatment.
The ex-drug and alcohol support worker said: ‘It’s very tough and exhausting and there are challenges but on the scales the benefits are outweighing this. I do feel different - I have learned a lot.
‘For me it’s the only way, I can’t carry on like I am. I’m going to get stronger and build my life again. I want to work and make a difference and be active for my children.’
To make a donation towards Laura’s ongoing treatment and learn more, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/laura-harris-5.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks, caused by Borrelia, a spirochete bacteria.
Public Health England estimates that there are 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year in the UK, however a study published in the British Medical Journal last year suggests figures might be up to three times higher.
Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular red skin rash around a tick bite, known as a bullseye rash. Not everyone with Lyme disease gets the rash.
To reduce the risk of bites, the NHS advises people should cover their skin while walking outdoors and tuck trousers into socks.
Also, when out and about people should use insect repellent on clothes and skin.
If you are bitten by a tick, remove it as quickly as possible with a tick removal tool. Some ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, so it can be very easy to miss a bite, alongside the fact they don't hurt, as the tick injects an anaesthetic.