health

At 26, Emily lives in constant excruciating pain. But health groups won't recognise her illness.

At 26, Emily Rosner lives every single day in pain. Sometimes she wakes up screaming in the middle of the night.

She suffers from migraines, nausea, vertigo, blindness, and fatigue, and is bedridden being too weak to walk. She’s physically and financially dependent on her mum Leanne, and she experiences debilitating cognitive dysfunction that leaves her confused and disoriented.

When Emily’s symptoms started, she saw hundreds of doctors to try to find an answer. She missed 70 per cent of her secondary schooling due to illness, but still managed to get into university.

When her condition deteriorated, however, she was unable to keep working and studying. Instead, she’s spent most of her 20s dependent on others to do basic daily tasks. Her mother bathes her, dresses her and prepares her meals.

Emily Rosner. Image supplied.

But doctors in Australia won't recognise Emily's condition.

Emily has late stage Lyme disease. After years of suffering, she finally found a doctor who would diagnose her in 2015 and underwent a year of treatment. While she started to improve, the progress stopped - which is common for advanced Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is recognised in Europe, the US and Asia, where there are 300,000 new cases every year. But it's highly contentious in Australia. According to medical authorities, there isn't enough evidence to prove Borrelia-carrying ticks (those that cause Lyme disease) exist in Australia - meaning there is no agreed definition for the illness here, making it impossible to diagnose and treat. It's been acknowledged, however, that a locally-acquired form of Lyme disease can't be ruled out.

Many medical professionals argue that delivering treatment for Lyme disease here in Australia is irresponsible and potentially harmful.

But for people like Emily, treatment is what she needs. Australia's stance on the illness meant Emily went undiagnosed for years, with bacteria locking into the brain and other organs and devastating the body's immune system.

Emily now needs a wheelchair. Image supplied.

Nonetheless, according to Emily's mum, there is hope.

Emily needs immediate care and intensive medical treatments - which can be provided by a world-class clinic in Switzerland.

Paracelsus Clinic treats Lyme disease and has been successful in helping patients return to work and their daily activities in 80 per cent of cases.

Leanne's hope is that Emily will be able to live a normal life again. She wants Emily to be able to achieve all she's capable of, and have the opportunity to work, study and be wholly independent.

"Em only leaves the house to go to medical appointments. She lives in a darkened room to avoid the intense pain that even the smallest amount of light causes," Leanne wrote.

"She can't finish her degree, can't go out on weekends or even to a cafe... For years she's worked hard to do everything possible to get better and get her life back."

We all deserve the chance to do what it is we love - and Emily has been deprived of that chance.

You can help Emily get the treatment she needs here.

Tags: health , lyme-disease , news-3
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