The son of a Farnham auction house owner has opened up about his battle with Lyme disease to help raise awareness for the illness.
Edward Parker, 16, whose father Buffy is co-owner of Parker Fine Art Auctions in East Street, has been suffering with the disease for the past four years.
He opened up out about the debilitating impact it has had on his life, at stages being bedbound or confined to a wheelchair, in response to a column by Bishop Christopher Herbert.
Edward first started noticing symptoms following a school trip to France, and after just two weeks, could hardly walk. His mother, Vanessa, quickly booked an emergency appointment with a doctor who suggested he may be suffering from a form of early arthritis, which would indicate the start of a long period of misdiagnoses from doctors.
These struggles are commonly shared by many other Lyme’s disease patients, as ‘chronic Lyme disease’ is not a medically-accepted term in the UK.
It was only after Edward’s blood was sent to a top-rated clinic in Germany that his results came back positive for Lyme disease, following two negative NHS tests.
Following in the steps of many other sufferers who seek medical help abroad, Edward is now being treated by a highly-regarded doctor based in Dublin, who has prescribed him with effective antibiotics, which have proved successful in the past six months he has been taking them.
However, he still lives day-to-day with symptoms such as fatigue, having to take up to 40 pills a day just to manage the pain and infection.
Perhaps it is the social and educational changes which have had one of the biggest impacts on his life.
Because of the intensity of his symptoms, Edward has been unable to go into school since his illness began, and currently takes about five hours of tutoring a week.
However, the extent of his illness still means that he has had to defer his GCSEs, which he was meant to sit in 2022, to next year, as the inhibition of Lyme’s disease has meant that he physically cannot study to the extent that he would like.
Lyme’s disease is transmitted through ticks, which carry the bacteria Borrelia, and is often spread through tick bites. Symptoms can vary from bullseye rashes to fatigue and cognitive problems, and the NHS advises people keep exposed body parts covered up when in tick prone areas, such as in long grass and wooded areas.
“It makes me sick to the stomach seeing young children running through grassy areas with little protection, after seeing what my son has gone through with this disease,” added Vanessa.
She further indicated that it would be helpful if NHS guidelines could offer more longer-term treatment to patients, but stressed that raising more awareness for the disease would have the greatest impact, both socially and within the medical field.
Despite recovered sufferers still experiencing reoccurring bouts of the illness throughout their lifetime, Edward hopes to one day recover from the disease. He has even spoken about perhaps running a half marathon one day, to raise further awareness about Lyme disease.