WHEN Fiona Buckland married James two years ago, it was the happiest day of her life.
But it didn’t take long for the “in sickness and in health” part to be put to the test when she began to experience extreme fatigue and dizziness.
It took months of doctors’ visits, endless misdiagnosis and plenty of online research before she realised she hadLyme (Borrelia burgdorferi) disease, a bacteria infection caused by a tick bite.
After struggling to cope with symptoms associated with the disease including chronic fatigue, joint pain, headaches, poor concentration and tremors, as a last resort, the Griffith police officer will fly out to Germany on Monday, where she will undergo treatment.
“Two years ago on our wedding day I got really sick,” she said.
“We went on our honeymoon and the fatigue hit me. Then when we got back it just kept getting worse. At the time I just put it down to the shift work I was doing.
“But I kept getting worse and my eyesight became affected. On a really bad day I wake up and feel like I’ve never been to sleep. I have bad nightmares and headaches that are so bad I just go to bed and pass out. I have breathing problems and heart palpitations.”
Mrs Buckland, who takes up to 30 tablets a day to fight the bacteria, is sharing her story in the hope of raising awareness of a disease few people are aware of, including doctors.
Lyme disease is widely misunderstood by the medical community. Unfortunately, because of the lack of knowledge and the ineffectiveness of Lyme tests, many patients go undiagnosed for years.
“I loved life and I was so healthy. I believe I contracted it when we were living on the northern beaches of Sydney. We lived there for four-and-a-half years,” she said.
“We know that the area is prone to ticks. I never got the distinctive bulls-eye rash that often appears after a tick bite and I wasn’t sick when I got bitten.
“One of the frustrating things about Lyme disease is it’s a really complex disease and it is hard to diagnose and treat.
“I saw a few doctors in town but no one knew what I had.”
The proud mum of Aiyla, 8 and Huon, 5, said she hoped the two weeks in Germany, where she will undergo hyperthermia treatment, would change their lives.
“There have been some heartbreaking times when the kids have asked me to come and play with them but due to noise and movement sensitivities I couldn’t even have them near me,” she said
Treatment alone will cost more than $23,000 and when she returns she will require a further six months of intravenous vitamin C and glutathione