After a 2014 Lyme disease diagnosis, Dubliner Denise Ryan is left in desperate need of US medical treatment with Irish health services unable to provide the treatment she needs.

An Irish woman is relaunching an appeal for aid in funding vital medical treatment in the US that will combat the terrifying disease that has left her being fed through a tube and at one stage bedbound in her parents’ home.

Dubliner Denise Ryan, 34, had spent four happy years living in Canada and was set to return to college there when increasingly severe health problems forced her to return to living with her parents in Ireland, too sick to work or to enjoy many of life’s everyday simple pleasures.

Eventually diagnosed with late stage Lyme disease and its co-infections in 2014, two years later, she was diagnosed with severe gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), severe osteoporosis, muscle wasting and malabsorption. At that point weighing just 5 stone (70lbs) and having lost all her hair, she developed crippling fatigue, arthritis, and heart complications, along with speech and memory problems caused by the Lyme disease spreading to her neurological system.

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Ryan when she was living in Toronto, to just 2 years later when she weighed 5 stone and her hair started to grow back after losing it.

Ryan when she was living in Toronto, to just 2 years later when she weighed 5 stone and her hair started to grow back after losing it.

Although she has gained some weight again and her hair has grown back, the extent of the long-term illness has left serious damage to her digestive tract and immune system, problems that the Irish health service is not capable of dealing with. To make matters worse, just this year, Ryan was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, mast cell activation disorder and potential Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction, adding to the need for her to urgently travel to Seattle to seek treatment and surgeries from experts there.

“It's a really scary position to be in,” Ryan told IrishCentral via email.  

“I'm terrified of what will happen without the medical care that my team of doctors in Seattle can give me, the hospitals and doctors there are amazing and just the past year six gastroenterologists in Ireland have refused to see me because they don't know anything about my gut disorders and can't help me."

Ryan's stomach and intestines are extremely distended because of inflammation and damage that's getting worse all the time.

Ryan's stomach and intestines are extremely distended because of inflammation and damage that's getting worse all the time.

Despite appeals from even her local politician to get Ryan the help in Ireland she needs, the 34-year-old is forced to look for help in raising the money to get her 4,520 miles across the world for the correct procedures; a journey she will have to take alone as a result of the expense involved in bringing even one of her parents along.

“Because I was so sick for so long, I have really serious damage to my digestive tract and immune system, so I need to go back to Seattle for six months to have surgeries that I haven't been able to afford yet, and biopsies to diagnose both an intestinal disease called Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction and to figure out exactly which autoimmune disease I have,” Ryan explained.

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The NJ tube through which Ryan now "eats."

The NJ tube through which Ryan now "eats."

“My doctors think I could have the early stages of Scleroderma. My uncle passed away from that so my family and I are really hoping it's not that.”

Looking forward to how she will get better, Ryan has launched her second 10,000 tenners campaign, seeking help in getting her across the Atlantic. 

“This is the situation I'm in so I'm trying to focus on doing to do what I have to do and not let being angry and so frustrated and heartbroken at everything stop me from getting the treatment I desperately need to save my life,” Ryan states on her GoFundMe page.

Lyme disease can cause carditis and heart complications. Babesia, a co-infection of Lyme disease can also cause heart palpitations.

Lyme disease can cause carditis and heart complications. Babesia, a co-infection of Lyme disease can also cause heart palpitations.

“I'm trying to get fundraising going to get back to America as soon as possible to keep my Lyme treatment going, have surgery and to get the diagnoses of the intestinal and autoimmune disease to hopefully catch things early. It's a lot!”

Having previously raised $175,000 (€150,000) to afford treatment for the past 3 years going over and back to Seattle to see two gastroenterologists who are specialists in motility disorders and immune system dysfunction and to see her Lyme disease doctor, Ryan now needs to raise a further $175,000 in order to return to the Washington city for six months for more extensive life-saving treatment.

To contribute your own donation to Ryan’s medical fund, you can visit her GoFundMe page here or donate to her directly with the following details:

  • Denise Ryan Lyme Fund
  • BIC: BOFIIE2D
  • IBAN: IE03BOFI90109589132842

Here's hoping you can make a recovery, Denise! 

Denise Ryan has spent six years battling a potentially terminal illness that has caused serious damage to her digestive tract and immune system.