Eight years ago, Sarah Hook was bitten by a tick. At the time, she thought little of it and pulled the tiny bug from her leg.
But after experiencing crippling symptoms including migraines, shortness of breath, brain fog and panic attacks she was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
“I had no idea at the time that such a tiny thing could have such a huge impact on my life and result in me having a chronic illness eight years later,” she said.
“The only way I can explain it is to say it’s like having the worse hangover you have ever had, every day. It feels like my body is shutting down – like I am dying.”
Hook is now hoping to raise money so she can have potentially life-changing treatment abroad. So far, she has raised £1,315 of her £30,000 goal on her GoFundMe fundraising page.
Recalling the moment she found a tick on her leg eight years ago, Sarah Hook, who is now a 35 year-old health coach, from Brighton, East Sussex, said: “I remember noticing something on my leg in the bath and pulling the tick off and thinking it was rather unpleasant.”
But she didn’t really think anything of it until she began to experience strange symptoms.
“Daily symptoms include migraines, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint pain, brain fog, panic attacks, adrenal fatigue, feeling faint, dizziness, nausea, digestive problems, pressure in my head and depression from the situation,” she explained.
“As well as attacking my internal organs, it plays havoc with my nervous system and the neurotransmitters in my brain – which also affects my mental health.”
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that enters the body through a tick bite, spider bite or mosquito bite – anything, in fact, that is carrying the bacteria.
It is often very difficult to diagnose.
Early symptoms of the disease often present as a flu-like illness (fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and joint pain) meaning many patients are often misdiagnosed with different conditions such as fatigue, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, ME, or even depression.
Hook spent £10,000 of her own money trying to establish what was wrong with her. She is now crowdfunding money on GoFundMe.com so that she can seek treatment abroad in a German clinic called Infusio.
“It has been the most challenging and difficult time in my life and the only way through is to try and take each day as it comes,” she said.
“Having been a health and wellbeing coach for over 14 years, I have always prided myself in taking care of my mind, body and spirit but it’s simply not manageable with lifestyle changes any longer.
“I know I need to take action and seek more medical support soon.”
The German clinic’s treatment plan aims to improve the patient’s immune system and includes a form of stem cell treatment.
“To be totally honest with you, although I am trying to stay strong and keep positive, each day is another battle to make it through and although I find it really hard to reach out and ask for help, I truly need some relief from my symptoms,” said Hook.
“Any donation, prayer or share would mean the world to me – I am eternally grateful.
“I want more than anything to imagine myself happy and healthy again so I can turn this journey into something positive.”