You can read Mark’s story below but please get involved if you wish to help, this is not a closed group. Reach out through this page.
While over 50 of us are doing a mix of Movember & No Shave November there are lot of COVID safe activities that people can take up during the coming month. Below are some ideas
- Virtual Walkathon or Run event (Ask people to donate in proportion to how many miles you will walk or run in the month of November)
- No Shave November
- Virtual Online Charity Auction
- Virtual Quiz Night
- Birthday Fundraiser - Facebook (Instead of a present, donate)
- Coronavirus Jar (Family or workmates make a ‘coronavirus swear jar’, and give €1 every time the dreaded word is mentioned. Corona / Coronavirus / COVID etc - you decide on the rules)
What is Lymes Disease?
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection, transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease is currently the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the world. The bacteria is shaped like a corkscrew (called a spirochete) which enables it to burrow through body tissue which most other bacteria wouldn’t be able to penetrate.
If initial infection is left untreated there is a possibility that it could develop causing a serious, system illness called late stage Lyme disease. Not all ticks are infected with Borreliosis, however vigilance is recommended where ticks are present, to reduce the risk of transmission to humans and pets.
My name is Mark Noonan, 38 years old and up until 2017 I was fit & healthy. I was a very active person, played GAA, soccer, cycling, running, mountain climbing but all that changed abruptly when my symptoms appeared. I have been out of work since the end of July 2018, due to having chronic Lyme’s disease. I had been working with the same company for 15 years & it is very disheartening not being able to work or do anything.
As it took just over a year and a half to get my diagnosis, due to Lyme disease being very hard to diagnose, my symptoms are very debilitating which make me unable to work. Some of my symptoms include weakness in my legs, severe lower back issues & my mobility is greatly affected. I have to use crutches constantly and unable to sit for long periods of time.
July 2017, my symptoms first started with severe back issue’s, my lower back kept going into spasm and I got steroid injections to relieve the pain, this time I was out of work for a month.
Early 2018, same symptoms again and I received more steroid injections in the hope that this would relieve the pain.
July 2018, I attended Limerick v’s Cork All Ireland Semi Final, when I should have been celebrating afterwards but instead, I was roaring in excruciating pain. This is when I hit rock bottom, my symptoms became more severe which included my back going off line which in turn started affecting my walk, numbness in my hands and feet, bladder issue’s, pins and needles in my hands, night sweats, not sleeping, twitching, uncontrollable shakes, no energy, fatigue, memory loss, ear aches, lock jaw, nausea, joint pain & inflammation in the body.
At this time, I was advised to have 2 epidural injections, which were unsuccessful at treating the pain. I attended physio’s, neuromuscular therapy, neurologists, spinal surgeon, bone therapy, neurosurgeon, CT scans, MRI scans, Dexa scans and brain MRI, but still no answers and no relief to my symptoms.
January 2019, I could feel I was gradually getting worse my walk started to completely go due to weakness in my legs, being unable to walk unaided, back issues & still carrying the symptoms from July 2018. I was in bits & felt broken with no place to turn to. I had so many questions and no one could give me an answer.
Finally, mid - January 2019, my GP completed another detailed blood test & this time I received the answer, I had Lyme’s Disease. At last I had my diagnosis.
I was then referred to an Infectious Disease Specialist in Dublin and received my appointment 5 months later. Before my visit to the specialist, I was advised to send my bloods to Germany as Ticks can carry numerous infections. Meeting with the specialist and receiving the detailed results, I was then diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease with 9 additional infections. I then commenced my treatment of triple antibiotics and supplements. I knew this road would be a long road and I was willing to fight it all the way.
I have been attending the specialist in Dublin now since May 2019, but I knew going into this I could not stay on antibiotics long term. The next step, my specialist has advised to start on Herbal Antibiotic protocol with a Lyme literate herbalist in Scotland and return to the infectious disease specialist in March ’21.
I have seen a very slight improvement over the last few months. Every day is a struggle, but I have tried to remain positive throughout all of this, with the help of my fiancée Irene, family, friends, GAA community, former work colleague’s and everyone I have met along my journey. Thank you all so much for your support, it means the world to me.
Any monies raised will go towards further treatments against my battle with Lyme’s Disease.
Tick Talk Ireland is an awareness and support group, which has been a great help to me and many others fighting Lyme’s Disease. www.ticktalkireland.org for further information.
- Sheila Clifford
- Mark Fitzgerald
- David O’Connor
- Darren Brennan
- Mark Fitzgerald (C)
Fundraising team: Bruree GAA & Family/Friends of Mark (58)
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