The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - By FER­GUS DEN­NEHY


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

Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin.

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.

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