He has constant headaches and suffered dizziness for over a decade, and only now is Nic Broderick (48) getting to the bottom of the cause after being tested for Lyme disease.
Nic, who lives in Maddiston and works for a high street bank call centre, has called on local MPs Martin Day and John McNally to lobby Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and back proposals put forward by English businessman John Caudwell for funding research into the disease.
The condition comes from tick bites, when the tick is infected with bacteria after already biting an infected animal.
If, after being bitten, you display flu-like symptoms and have a circular rash, the NHS recommends getting in touch with your GP.
Although Nic had been bitten by a tick and had notified a doctor of this during a hospital visit years ago – because he did not have a rash there was no further consideration that it may have been Lyme disease.
But only two of every five cases of Lyme disease shows a rash.
Now, 13 years later, Nic is still suffering from the same symptoms.
He said: “Every day I live in this almost spaced-out lack of awareness. The neurological symptoms I have include headaches, dizziness, deteriorating vision, and it almost feels like I am drunk or hungover every day.
“It makes it difficult to take part in anything, it has affected relationships, friendships, work and finances, and I don’t have a quality of life.
“Lyme disease has eroded away my life, personally and professionally.”
One of the most difficult things for Nic has been not knowing what is wrong with him.
He said: “I’ve been put into hospital seven times because of symptoms since 2005, I’ve been told it’s migraines, meningitis and encephalitis, or psychological problems.
“I’ve had a lumbar puncture because doctors were concerned it was meningitis.
“And on my second last hospital visit I heard the doctor outside my room door accusing me of just wanting drugs.
“I can’t remember the last time I went a six-month period without absence because of it.
“A lot of people are not understanding, especially when you say they don’t know what it is, people assume it’s mental health, but you know it is physically something.
“I desperately researched my symptoms myself and wrongly came to the conclusion that the mercury in my fillings was poisoning me so spent £2500 on replacing my fillings with white ones, but the symptoms continued.”
Nic has called for research funding, so people don’t go through the suffering he has.
He added: “Many thousands of us in Britain with chronic Lyme disease need to get back to work, or school, or to bringing up their children. As long as this inaction continues, there is no hope for us.
“We need government funding for research so people with Lyme disease can get better, and prevent other people suffering the same, destructive disease.”