Nicola Lavin, a medical scientist and one of Galway's mother, was ticked while traveling in Montauk, New York, 20 years ago.
Her innocent bite under her harmpit was “unhappy” but she was not given much thought. That is, until she was close to death and at the beginning of what would have been a 17-year treachery that would be believed, dealt with and diagnosed.
41-year-old Nicola says that by the time she got home to Ireland she was very ill. In her final year, the college student felt she felt the worst flu ever, with pain, lack of energy and vomiting.
A visit to the doctor encouraged a pregnancy test “just in case” and as he was lucky – he was positive.
“From that point on, all my symptoms were with pregnancy and I was never pregnant before and so I didn't know what I was feeling was not normal,” said Nicola with RSVP Live.
But Nicola's pregnancy would be far from simple sailing. She was in hospital three months before the June due date and her health continued to decline. By the end of the pregnancy Nicola was in the heart of the heart and doctors arranged her boy, Aaron, to happen six weeks early.
“Once they were in danger of heart, they could fix it. They did not take the time to find out why a young, first-time, 23-year-old mother was in danger of heart but had the drugs to stop him, ”Nicola wrote on her blog .
“I told them about my grip a couple of months before, a student made microbiology in my opinion about Lyme's disease, but they did. They never tested me worth it ”.
Nicola says she and Aaron were not alive. But remarkably, through health and persistent illness, Nicola completed her degree and started working full time when Aaron was three months old.
“Gradually, I didn't feel the same thing after that. But, I just had to go through heart failure and I was a single mother, I had to be tired right? I don't know how to explain it but I knew there was something wrong in my body ”.
Nicola continued to struggle with his energy levels and other abnormal symptoms such as joint pain, fur, going to the bathroom all the time, for years. She says, during her visit to cardiology while she was in her care for about five years. But her concerns were often dismissed because her heart returned to normal function.
About nine years into her illness jaw Nicola began to lock her pain and cause, symptoms common in Lyme disease – undoubtedly Nicola at the time. Dentists told Nicola that she needed surgery to break and expand her jaw.
“After that surgery, it was just like the last that my immune system could take and I went from being able to work and go to the gym to be completely bed bound.
“I would like to make paralysis events, my husband [Ronan] would have to feed me up, transport me to the toilet. It was essentially a carer in every sense of the word.
“For five years this was our life. It was a desperate case. [Ronan] worked every day as we still had a mortgage and bills to pay. It would put food for me under the bed and if I had the strength to feed myself I would, but if I wasn't I would have to wait for him to come home to give me a life ”.
Her heart and death in 2001 certainly failed her “frightening” moment on the trip – when she is still struggling to talk about it even today. But the lowest point for their mental health came in this period. After surgery in 2011 when everything deteriorated and years later.
“I was spending day after day in great danger and you have no energy or strength to turn yourself into bed. It's like you're already there but you're not living, ”said Nicola.
“You like a skull. You will lose your friends because life goes on and it is difficult for them to be around 24/7.
“There were points towards the end when I thought I couldn't do this anymore. Although I would never do this for my family, it was just as if I wanted to come to the truth at that point that I could close my eyes and not wake up again.
“It was really hard but you have to try to stay positive.
Nicola says Instagram helped her get through the dark times. As the only connection to the outside world and its main social tool, let the app to escape and almost travel the world. Nicola often says that she would make a mental list of all the incredible places she would visit when she was good again.
Finally, new ones came in 2015 when Nicola's research led her to send her blood to Germany, indicating that she had the American bacterium of Lyme diseases.
“So he finally tied all the dots to us that was that time since”.
For the many, many doctors have lost Nicola's disease over the years, she says that they are not blamed, but she believes that many are not aware of these invisible chronic illnesses.
“It is a matter of concern to me when I went into a heart heart if they had just done Lyme's test at that time when I told them I was stuck, it would probably show positive and not go through 18 years trying to know what was wrong ”.
In addition to medical scientists, Nicola is now a travel blogger with a website and Instagram page to document her living lives. Today, Nicola wants to raise awareness about Lyme Disease and wants people to know that you don't have to leave the country to contract.
“You don't have to go to America, you can find it in Galway or Killarney, any areas of woodland or anywhere that really exists,” she explained.
“Lyme Disease is one of the worst life characteristics for a person, even higher than cancer or heart failure,” says Nicola.
“You've got a very terrible illness that you don't really know is too much information, you're sick and yet you have to be a barrister as a barrister, you don't have the support network with other illnesses” t .
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