Jade Morgan from Salt Ash returns to Malaysia for hypothermia treatment of lyme disease

HOPE: There's light at the end of the tunnel for Jade Morgan of Salt Ash, on her journey with lyme disease. Picture: Sam Norris
HOPE: There's light at the end of the tunnel for Jade Morgan of Salt Ash, on her journey with lyme disease. Picture: Sam Norris

Salt Ash woman Jade Morgan flew back to Malaysia on Saturday for a second round of treatment to fight the tick-born lyme disease.

The 25-year-old underwent hypothermia treatment there last month and has already regained the ability to walk albeit for short periods.

The Lions Club of Tilligerry Peninsula raised $11,000 for the second trip to pay for airfares and the treatment. 

“I couldn’t walk before I left,” she said.

“Even taking a few steps was very hard for me.”

Miss Morgan had been on a steady decline since 2012 when she first experienced lethargy, loss of feeling in her legs and short-term memory loss.

Then living in Victoria, she was told it merely psychological. After moving to Salt Ash in 2014 she had blood tests done in Sydney that confirmed the presence of the bacteria Borrelia.

Subsequent rounds of intravenous antibiotics at an underground Sydney clinic provided little relief.

Her first round of hypothermia – elevating her core body temperature for eight hours while under anesthetic – targeted the Borellia.

“You’re cooking for eight hours,” Miss Morgan said.

“The next day, it kind of feels like you’ve been on a bender. You’re heaps tired… I don’t remember much of that day.”

The treatment was followed by intravenous antibiotics where she stayed in Malaysia for 12 days for further checkups.

“I would only get out of bed to go to the toilet or get a drink before I underwent the treatment,” she said.

“Even watching TV before was like I could hear the words but I couldn’t retain them.

“I’m still quite weak, so it’s not like I could climb a mountain tomorrow. I’ve still got rehab to do after this.”

Tilligerry Peninsula Lions Club held a dress up day in March where business houses and schools treated St Patrick’s Day as a dress in lime for lyme disease fundraiser.

“It was absolutely vital that we raise the funds for this second round and I’m pleased we could,” project chairman John Sheppard said.

“The family would have been stretched to get there otherwise and Jade was so overwhelmed when we gave her the cheque.” 

Miss Morgan said it would have been near impossible without their help.

“We had pretty much maxed out dad’s credit card after the first trip, I don’t know how we would have afforded it,” she said.

“It’s amazing that people are so generous and want to help people they don’t know.

“I don’t know how I will ever be able to thank everyone. It seems impossible and I’m so grateful.”

The treatment has already given her hope.

“It will be a little while before I can get back to work but that’s my goal,” she said.

“To think back at how I was only two months ago, I didn’t think I was ever going to make it back from this but I can see the light now.”

Miss Morgan continues to share her experience through the Facebook group My Lyme Disease Journey.

The page also advocates for recognition of the disease in Australia.

“It would be good to have the treatment here but we’ve got a long way to go. It doesn’t seem like we’ll get much from the senate inquiry,” she said.

“If I document everything in an open way then people might see there is hope.” 

This story Lions help Jade fight tick-born lyme disease first appeared on Port Stephens Examiner.

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