My name is Jo Bell, I am 46 years old, I live in a small country town called Boggabri which is located in north-western New South Wales, and I’ve just been diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
You can’t see what’s wrong with me, so naturally you think I’m ok.
But if only you knew that on the inside, I am actually dying.
Each year it has become harder and harder to hang on. It’s like you’re trapped inside your own body and mind, feeling depressed and disorientated, watching your life pass you by. You become frustrated with yourself, wondering what’s wrong with you. All of a sudden you forget how to do simple tasks you have done 1000 times before. You’re confused all the time, re-reading the same sentence over and over again but unable to concentrate. Your memory is slipping. You’re so tired, but you can’t sleep. Your headaches slowly worsen, your vision starts to blur. The constant pain in your body is crippling and your whole body burns. I’m only 46, but I feel so old. I have been going to countless doctors’ appointments for the last 18 years now, desperately trying to find answers. It’s been an emotionally and physically exhausting rollercoaster ride. I’m no better than I was 18 years ago. In fact, I’m getting worse.
Just recently, I finally got an answer that makes sense. I have Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease is an infection which is usually transmitted through tick bites. Because I have unknowingly had this disease for so many years, it has had a detrimental effect to my nervous, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, digestive, neurological, endocrine and respiratory systems. My test results have shown I have the body of a 64 year old woman. I am at a chronic stage where my immune system is losing the battle to fight the disease, and without the correct treatment, soon I am going to die. Unfortunately, the disease is not very well-known in Australia and the treatment I am seeking is not available through our regular health system. I have finally found a doctor who can help rid my body of this disease. I will frequently have to travel to Sydney for lengthy periods of time to undergo this treatment.
Lyme Disease exists in Australia, and it’s real.
If there were more awareness about this disease, I could have been tested and treated much earlier and not only would it have not robbed me of my life, it also would not have cost so much to get me well again.
This letter was written by Jo Bell a few years ago, when she knew she had Lyme disease but she hadn’t had much treatment for it yet.
These days she is a much happier, healthy woman who is so glad to be alive and well. We spoke more with Jo about her long journey to health and here’s what she had to say:
The fact they say it doesn’t exist here in Australia is a political reason. They don’t want to believe it. There are sooo many people who suffer from this dreadful disease. It’s criminal in my eyes, why it’s not recognised and treated. It would have saved me and others the years of the downward spiral of our health, losing our quality of life, the money we have already spent for nothing. I wish I had found Dr Dulitsky so many years ago.
And some people get Lyme disease from overseas as well.
I often wonder if I’d said that to my GP that I was going to at the time – if I’d said I’ve been overseas – I kind of wonder whether I would have been treated differently and been treated straight away.
It is, isn’t it? Because, as I said, it’s real. This is something that should be talked about. Look, I have people come and talk to me now. I remember one in particular who comes from the next town and he said, “How are you doing? I actually said to him “Why are you calling me, you don’t even know me”? He said, I know what you’re going through, I’m here if you need to talk.
If you need to talk, just call The Ozone Clinic on (02) 9188 8599 and ask to make a time for your free consultation. Or email the clinic on firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about Joanne’s story here: