Woman’s 20-year struggle to get frightening diagnosis after being bitten by a tick as a toddler

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A young woman is raising money for life-changing treatment after finally being diagnosed with Lyme Disease among other illnesses.

Briony Hunt was just two-years-old when she was bitten by a tick and says she has suffered too many symptoms to list as a result.

She felt that something was ‘eating away at her’ but says she was laughed at by heath professionals.

It took almost twenty years to obtain a diagnosis of a whole host of tick-borne diseases.

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Now at 26-years-old, she is fundraising for private treatment in Poland for supportive therapies unavailable on the NHS, Berkshire Live reports.

The treatment – Supportive Oligonucleotide Technique (SOT) – will help her illnesses which include: late-stage Lyme Disease, Bartonella, Babesia, Analplasma, and Seronegative Inflammatory Arthritis (HLA – B27 positive).

These are alongside Briony’s secondary conditions, which are likely caused by not treating the underlying cause for so long, including secondary mitochondriopathy, polycystic ovary syndrome (and pelvic congestion), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, lymphocytic vasculitis, and si joint dysfunction.

Briony, from Bracknell, Berkshire, argues it took so long to get a diagnosis due to little understanding of tick-borne diseases.

“I went undiagnosed for over two decades,” she said. “The lack of awareness within the NHS and the medical community, in general, is appalling.

“It’s been a real struggle to get to where I am today. At times, I felt overwhelmed and alone. I feel that many NHS doctors did not take me seriously.

“Some didn’t believe it was possible for me to be so sick for so long and have a long list of symptoms — I’ve even been laughed at.

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“When a diagnosis couldn’t be identified a doctor tried to convince me it was ‘all in my head’, without a cause. Some said I should give up the hope that I would get better.

“It was heartbreaking and frustrating, to say the least. As Avril Lavigne said, after being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, ‘it is a global pandemic, but not a global priority’.”

A tick bite

Briony says the day she was bitten by a tick when she was two ‘changed her life forever.’

It triggered the traumatic derailing of her health, where she got sicker and sicker, being passed from doctor to doctor with no one understanding the symptoms of how to treat them.

While her diagnoses came as a relief and she now had answers to what was “eating away at her, mentally and physically,” the list was horrifying.

“It was frightening to find out the tick-borne diseases are now late-stage,” she added.

“I felt hopeful after I found a private specialist, who could really help.

“I was excited by the prospect of a pioneering treatment and with it, the hope of a full life.

“Some of these diseases, particularly Lyme and Bartonella, affect the brain, causing a variety of psychological issues, and having to battle through this daily takes its toll too.

“Although I have had some very dark days, this life has taught me resilience and to be thankful I still have a life.”

Briony, who made a plea on social media about the treatment she desperately needs, has thanked supporters.

“I am deeply grateful for all the support I have received,” she said.

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“People have sent me so many kind messages, have called me to wish me well and have shared their heartfelt words.

“It really means so much to me. Beating these diseases would be life-changing.”

“I think there is power in finding at least one thing to be grateful for every day and doing one thing that brings you joy, no matter how small it seems”, she added.

“I shift my internal focus onto what I can experience and try to see the beauty in life, despite everything I battle through every day.

“It’s hard but I remind myself, that I am not the illness. I won’t give up hope that I will get better.”

Briony has been unable to work for two-and-a-half years, which means that she has exhausted all of her savings.

She needs to raise £50,000 for the treatment and without it, she will be unable to go into remission.

Briony’s friends have taken to social media to post about her illness as well and how she needs to raise funds desperately for this cutting-edge treatment.

You can donate to the cause via her GoFundMe page.

The Manchester Evening News has approached NHS Berkshire West CCG for a comment.



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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