Man's plea to doctors after he was struck down with 'terrible pain' following holiday

Tom Davies was diagnosed with Lyme disease in December 2022
Tom Davies was diagnosed with Lyme disease in December 2022 -Credit:Handout

A man from Huyton, Tom Davies, endured months of "terrible" pain and a series of worrying symptoms following a holiday in Tenerife, before finally receiving a diagnosis after persistent appeals to medical professionals.

Tom, a 32 year old who was generally fit and healthy, visited Tenerife for a 10-day break in April 2022. Shortly after returning home, he began to feel unwell.

In an interview with the ECHO, Tom recounted the alarming onset of his illness: "I woke up in the middle of the night with swollen temples and felt a shooting pain in my heart. My head was pulsating, my heart was racing - It was like my body was working overtime."

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Despite undergoing a CT scan and blood tests at A&E, Tom was informed that everything appeared normal. However, his condition worsened over the following months, as he developed severe headaches, fatigue, stomach cramps, mood swings, and sensitivity to light.

The situation escalated in July 2022 when Tom experienced intense chest pains and sought emergency care once more. He described the sensation vividly: "It was like an electric shock, but this time through my lungs. It was so painful. It was a little bit like Covid - I had trouble breathing.", reports the Liverpool Echo.

Further tests were conducted, yet doctors continued to assure him that his blood work was fine. The mystery persisted until in August of that year, while out for lunch with a friend, Tom felt a burning sensation in his back, signalling another troubling symptom.

He said: "I felt really achey and had terrible pain in the back of my neck. There was a massive rash on my back in the middle of my shoulder blades, like someone was buring my back."

The GP diagnosed him with cellulitis and prescribed penicillin. This gave Tom some relief.

He said: "If felt a bit better, like the infection was leaving my body."

But a week after he finished his course of antibiotics, the flu-like symptoms returned. He became so ill, he had to leave his job working in logistics. He told the GP: "Whatever you've diagnosed me with, it's not gone".

But once again, he was told his bloods were fine. Over the following weeks, things deteriorated. By mid-September, Tom says he started losing his memory.

He said: "It was the worst thing I've ever experienced. I felt really faint and dizzy. I thought it was meningitis."

He kept returning to hospital and begging for a diagnosis, but was told: "We can't keep seeing you. We can't find anything wrong with you."

He says went to the GP ten times and to A&E 15 times over the course of a few months. Then he began to lose weight. Tom estimates he lost a stone and a half, and began to feel the effects of muscle wastage on his body.

He said: "The entire right side of my body was weak. I was really worried."

He was referred to a neurologist, had further blood tests and then had an MRI, which was clear. He spent a week in hospital and began to feel better, but then his symptoms returned. Tom, at his wit's end, sought help from a specialist in Ireland. He credits this decision as his turning point, stating: "the specialist got me better", and "he gave me a clinical diagnosis".

Tom reveals that the Irish specialist sent his blood samples to an infectious disease laboratory in Germany, where he tested positive for Lyme bacteria. In December 2022, after months of uncertainty, he finally received a diagnosis: Lyme disease.

Today, Tom admits he is not completely back to his old self, but he estimates he is "95 percent there" following a six-month course of antibiotics and special supplements. He has reached a stage where he can live with the condition, despite still experiencing joint pain.

The NHS explains that Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks. Some people may develop a circular rash after being bitten by an infected tick, but not everyone will have this obvious symptom.

Flu-like symptoms such as high temperature, headaches, fatigue and muscle pain are also common.

After his struggle to get diagnosed, Tom is now committed to raising awareness about Lyme disease. He is collaborating with Lyme Disease UK and Lyme Resource Centre to improve understanding of the disease and its symptoms.

In recognition of Lyme Disease Awareness Month, two iconic Liverpool buildings will be illuminated in green. Liverpool Town Hall was bathed in a green glow on Friday evening, and come Monday, the Palm House in Sefton Park will follow suit.