In February 2021, Steven Williams was a fit, healthy 36-year-old who went to CrossFit, played soccer, and even played in a band.
But within a few days his whole life changed dramatically and even getting up became a chore.
“I’ve never had any mental health problems,” he said. “I suddenly got very intense anxiety and panic attacks for no reason.
“Literally in the course of a few days everything changed.
“I went from a week earlier on the CrossFit class and training and fit and healthy to an eight month absence from work.”
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Steven from Maesteg described the ordeal as “terrifying”.
His panic and anxiety attacks were so intense at the time that he was almost taken to the emergency room for treatment. Everyday tasks like getting up or washing and getting dressed were too overwhelming for him.
He also suffers from extreme tremors, sometimes up to eighteen hours a day, can only sleep two hours, and has constant ringing in his ears.
“I almost lost my life in the summer, it was absolutely horrific.”
Fortunately, Steven immediately started seeking help and his GP raised concerns about a suspected adrenal or brain tumor.
He was referred for scans but decided to seek private medical treatment due to the ongoing pandemic and NHS delays.
Fortunately, as well as unfortunately, no tumors were found in Stevens’ results.
Instead, he was given psychological medication, such as antidepressants, which made his symptoms worse.
“I was referred for new treatment in London, ketamine therapy. I’ve been to London about eight or nine times. It’s a really promising treatment for anxiety and depression, but it wasn’t right for me.”
Fortunately, the doctor in charge of this therapy noticed Steven’s unusual reaction after seeing it on another patient.
“He had seen another patient react like this and he happened to have Lyme disease, so he recommended that I have a check-up.”
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bite of an infected tick, which made sense to Steven when it was suggested.
“I live in the valleys and during the closure I spent a lot of time in the mountains to take my dog for a walk.
“It made sense because there wasn’t much else to do. I thought I would take care of myself and be healthy.”
In November, Steven was finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease.
In the late stages, the infection can spread to the nervous system and cause inflammation in the brain, which was the case with Steven.
Since then he has been looked after by a specialist doctor and a nutritionist who put him on a very restrictive diet in order to stabilize his condition.
“It helped me get back to work and function again, but it’s not healing.”
There is currently no cure in the UK.
Stevens hope to cure his Lyme disease in the late stage lies in a therapy center in Germany.
It is a hypothermic treatment that kills all bacteria and attacks the infection in the brain and ligaments as well as in the body.
He said, “They’re heating your core temperature to 43 degrees for six hours because the bacteria can’t survive at that temperature.
“They also give you antibiotics intravenously to kill the bacteria. You’re there for about three to three and a half weeks, it’s very intense.”
However, the treatment comes at a steep price, which Steven cannot afford after spending over £ 20,000 on private treatments to date.
His friend Alecs Donovan took it upon himself to raise funds for Stevens’ treatment through a gofundme page.
Alecs said, “He’s just the nicest person and he would never have done it himself.
“He’s never someone to complain and he’s very humble about the pain he’s had.
“When he said how much the treatment would cost and possibly considering rescheduling, I just told him people wanted to help.
“We were overwhelmed with the support, even from strangers, and I just said if 30,000 people gave 1 pound each they wouldn’t notice, but it would change everything.
She added, “If I had the £ 30,000 I would give it to him without hesitation, but that’s just something small I can do to help.”
“I am overwhelmed by all of the love and support from everyone,” said Steven. “It was just rude even to complete strangers and I am absolutely overwhelmed by their friendliness.”
If you’d like to donate for Stevens’ treatment, you can find his gofundme here.
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