An aspiring dancer who fell chronically ill after being bitten by a tick is finally undergoing lifesaving treatment after more than 100 doctors failed to diagnose her.
Janine Mieni, a 28-year-old from Western Sydney, was dreaming of becoming a star when she was bitten by the parasite during a primary school camping trip on the Hawkesbury River.
Although doctors wrapped the swollen wound and sent her on her way, the energetic performer said she knew something was wrong.
‘I became extremely ill and developed terrifying symptoms such as seizures, tremors, loss of feeling in my legs, having difficulty standing/walking, migrating pain and extreme fatigue,’ Ms Mieni wrote on her GoFundMe page.
The 28-year-old said the symptoms intensified over time and often left her bedridden.
‘I would wake up almost every morning before work and relentlessly dry retch and vomit from severe nausea and vertigo,’ Ms Mieni said.
‘Simple everyday tasks such as brushing my teeth, showering, washing my hair and walking throughout the house would leave me out of breath and having to constantly sit or lie down.’
Ms Mieni said she saw more than 100 doctors over the following 16 years with the hope of finding an explanation for her illness.
After more than 80 trips to hospital emergency departments and several misdiagnoses, Ms Mieni was left feeling frustrated.
‘All neurologists said: “It’s not epilepsy, so we don’t want to treat you.” I must have seen about four or five neurologists,’ she told The Daily Telegraph.
‘Medical professionals… had ultimately blamed me for my deteriorating health and told me “there is nothing wrong with you” and “you’re making yourself sick”.
Ms Mieni was finally diagnosed with chronic late-stage Lyme disease in 2014 after watching a TV feature about the tick borne illness.
The 28-year-old said she was finally relieved to have found a doctor who not only believed her symptoms, but ‘validated’ and ‘acknowledged’ them.
The Sydney woman is now undergoing treatment to reverse the effects it has had on her body during the years.
She recently underwent a 10-day treatment in the U.S. and said she is now working to spread awareness of Lyme Disease and move on with her life.
‘Dance was my outlet – that was my life, my love, my passion,’ she told The Daily Telegraph.
‘Now all that I have to look forward to when I wake is that I can wake up.’