RADICAL PLAN IS PAUL’S LAST HOPE OF BEATING LYME DISEASE
PEOPLE NEED TO BE AWARE OF THE REALITY OF THIS DISEASE AND HOW DAMAGING IT CAN BE
A RADICAL treatment plan that will raise the body temperature to almost 42 degrees Celsius has been described as the last chance to fend off the debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease for Cromane resident Paul Doherty.
Almost 30 years after the Tyrone native contracted the disease following a tick bite, Paul and his partner Helena Hammond hope to raise €30,000 for the radical treatment in a clinic in Germany.
Paul was visiting Castlecove when he was first bitten by the infected tick in August of 1989. He found it on his body a few days later, picked it out, threw it away and thought nothing of it,” said Helena.
Paul felt very tired just a few days later and such symptoms have prevailed ever since. Back then, Helena said there was no conversation whatsoever about Lyme disease because no one really knew anything about it, so Paul was left to suffer in silence.
It was only in early 2008 when Helena and Paul moved back to Ireland for a better quality of life that he was finally officially diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Almost 30 years later, Helena said that the effects of this small bite on Paul’s quality of life have been debilitating.
“When we first moved back here, if he went out and did something for a day, such as cutting the grass or fishing which he loved to do, it would take him two full days of doing nothing just recover his energy levels and get over the pain,” she said, adding: “Now, 10 years after his diagnosis, it takes seven to eight days to get back to normal”.
He has been fishing just once this year, he doesn’t have the strength in his arms to hold up the rod,” she continued.
Hiking and cycling are other activities Paul once enjoyed but is now unable to do so and he has been unable to work for 11 years, receiving a disability allowance of just €86 every week.
While Paul is trying to keep a positive outlook on life, Helena admits that there have been plenty of days where Paul has felt depressed. “If you are sitting at home all day looking at four walls and in the pain that he is in, it would be hard not to feel depressed. This disease affects you both physically and mentally,” she said.
Helena said that the only treatment that Paul is currently receiving for his Lyme disease is pain medication and that even with this, he is currently at the maximum amount allowed by doctors.
The potentially life-changing treatment on offer at the specialist clinic in Bad Aibling in Germany is Paul’s last realistic option of beating this disease, Helena admitted.
The treatment Helena describes is risky and she knows it, but she said that if there is a chance it can help Paul, they are willing to try it.
“What they are going to do is they are going to heat Paul’s body up to 41.6 degrees Celsius which is obviously quite dangerous because it can potentially damage his heart and his brain but it is hoped that at that temperature, the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria will die,” she continued.
In the week leading up to the treatment, Helena said that Paul will be monitored closely and will have to come off all painkillers and undergo a number of tests and procedures.
“He will be monitored the whole time and, hopefully, we can kill all the harmful bacteria in his body,” she said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up and, even if people cannot donate to Paul’s cause, Helena hopes that people can fully understand the real danger of ticks, particularly here in Kerry, and how prevalent Lyme disease is here.
“Some of these ticks in Killarney National Park are the size of a pin head and most people after being out in Killarney, they would not even think to check themselves for bites. People need to be aware of the reality of this disease and how damaging it can be,” she continued.
To donate and help the couple reach their €30,000 target, check out the link on The Kerryman Facebook page
Paul Doherty, who is suffering from Lyme disease, pictured at home with his partner Helene in Cromane. Paul is hoping through an online ‘Go FundMe’ campaign to travel to Germany for life-changing radical treatment.