Thank you for helping Ashley get well!
Ashley had Lyme disease.
For the first seven years of her deteriorating health, none of the many doctors Ashley saw could work out what was wrong with her. None of them tested her for Lyme disease (Borelliosis) because, officially, there is no Lyme disease in Australia. In 2013, a doctor finally agreed to make the test - and the result was positive.
In 2015, with the financial support of many friends and family members, Ashley and her mother Gina travelled to the St Georg Clinic in Bad Abling, Bavaria, to undergo hypertherapy treatment. You can read the updates below for some details of their trip and the treatment.
The good news is that, two years after the treatment, Ashley is significantly better and making increasing progress back towards normality. She no longer has borelliosis, and her many other co-infections and health problems connected to being so ill for so long are gradually starting to abate. She is now able to go out of the house, socialise, take short trips, concentrate enough to read books and watch movies, and eat most things.
During the last year, Gina has been busy writing a submission to the Australian government's inquiry into Lyme disease, in the hope that no-one else will have to suffer from the lack of diagnosis and treatment that Ashley had.
Thank you to everyone who generously supported Ashley and Gina's trip to Germany and the life-saving hypertherapy treatment.
Updates from Ashley's trip to the clinic, March 2015
9 May 2015: Ashley and Gina have been back in Sydney for just over a month; they are still not fully recovered from the trip, but are seeing signs of improvement. Ashley is able to stand and take a few steps by herself, and with assistance can walk to and from her room. Her post-treatment care includes immune-boosting IV transfusions. Gina says, "All is going as well as can be expected, but it is still too early to tell the full effects of the treatment. It will probably be several more months before we know."
23 March 2015: Ashley's treatment is now finished, and she and Gina are staying with their cousin Helen in Munich for a week to rest before the long journey back to Sydney. The treatment has gone well, although the whole experience of being in the clinic and having the treatment has been very exhausting, so it's too early to look for signs of improvement at this stage.
12 March 15: Ashley is now halfway through her treatment; she has had her first whole body hypertherapy, as well as a lot of other detoxing treatments and therapies. She has recovered from the jetlag and is a bit stronger, although the treatment itself is quite tiring. Her next whole body hypertherapy is next Monday.
3 March 15: Ashley and Gina have arrived in Germany and are at the clinic! Their trip was slightly delayed when they were not allowed to fly due to Ashley being carsick from the journey to the airport, so they had to wait a few days and try again; this time they made it. The journey was very arduous and they had no recovery time before going to the clinic, so they are still adjusting and getting over the jetlag, at the same time as starting the treatment.
Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics when diagnosed early. Left untreated, the borelliosis bacteria attacks the organs and immune system and causes a range of symptoms that can often be mistaken for other chronic illnesses.
Ashley was a bright and healthy fourteen-year-old in 2006; by 2015 she was bedridden, unable to sit up for more than a few minutes at a time, in constant pain, often slipping in and out of consciousness; she required assistance to eat and go to the toilet; and she had co-infections that further complicate treatment. Ashley had no teenage life and has been unable to finish school. Her mother Gina had to give up working in order to provide 24-hour care for Ashley.
The tragedy is that Ashley's condition was entirely preventable. If health officials were not in denial about the existence of Lyme disease in Australia, Ashley would never have had to suffer worsening health for a decade.