At the age of 19, Rachel Battersby was a bright, fun-loving and perfectly healthy young woman – but today, the girl who once had the world at her feet now has her life in tatters.
Ms Battersby, from the Gold Coast, Queensland, contracted Lyme disease – a severe bacterial condition – while on the trip of a lifetime to Sweden and the UK.
In an effort to raise money to fly to Germany for world class treatment, Ms Battersby has released a video showing her condition at its worst – a
Rachel Battersby (pictured) suffers from Lyme disease, a debilitating condition that leaves her writhing in pain with severe convulsions on a regular basis
The 25-year-old from the Gold Coast, Queensland, is attempting to raise $40,000 to fly her to Germany so she can receive world class treatment to fix her condition
Having initially suffered from just a sore back, the pain has intensified so much over recent years she’s been rushed to hospital 70 times and left writhing on the ground in agonising pain hundreds more.
‘I went to Sweden when I was 19 to study and then moved to the UK to nanny and began experiencing back pain, and then blacking out on Tubes,’ Ms Battersby told Daily Mail Australia.
‘By the time I got home to Australia my back was really sore, and I spoke to Mum about it but just started brushing off, we thought it might be my posture.
‘Then one day I called her screaming. My body just collapsed to the floor and the pain, I don’t even know how to explain it, it’s like this shooting pain that goes up my spine.
‘I start rolling around like a crocodile on a death roll until an ambulance rocks up, but sometimes even they can’t settle me down.’
Despite having lived with her disease for the best part of seven years, Ms Battersby still doesn’t know whether she’s in for a good day, or a bad day.
Ms Battersby picked up the condition while in Sweden as a 19-year-old. She initially suffered from severe back pain but now experiences agonising convulsions (pictured) at random, often requiring her to be rushed to hospital
Ms Battersby has been rushed to hospital 70 times in the past seven years. ‘I start rolling around like a crocodile on a death roll until an ambulance rocks up,’ she said
As recently as last Sunday while out with a friend at a local market Ms Battersby was struck down by a convulsion, leaving her writhing on the ground in pain in public for two hours
Some days she gets up and goes about life as normal. Some days she’s unable to get out of bed.
– Lyme disease is a bacterial infection.
– It’s most commonly caused by bites from ticks.
– Symptoms include everything from headaches, fever and muscle soreness to hair loss and painful convulsions.
– Doctors continue to deny the presence of Lyme disease in Australia.
But even when Ms Battersby’s feeling good, it only takes a moments notice for her to be struck down by the worst the disease has to offer.
‘Last Sunday I went to the village market and I turned to my friend said, “Uh oh, I’ve got to get on the ground”,’ she said.
‘And then five minutes later I started spasming and stayed like that on the ground for two hours.
‘It even happens when I go to University, or like the other week when I was grocery shopping – it’s horrendous.’
With Lyme disease not officially recognised by Australian doctors, being diagnosed let alone receiving treatment is difficult.
But at the St Georges clinic in Bad Aibling, Germany, Ms Battersby hopes to get top treatment and has so far raised $7,000 of her $40,000 goal.
Not only is she desperate to raise the money to stop the constant pain and severe convulsions, but to also get her life back.
She has set up a My Cause page where she has so far raised almost $7,000 of her $40,000 goal
Ms Battersby (pictured middle) said while the pain caused by the condition is severe, one of the hardest things about her condition is watching her best friends live their lives to the full
As much as the pain of the disease hurts, an emotional Ms Battersby said what’s almost as bad is seeing her best friends in their 20s live their lives as she watches hers fly by.
‘I can’t keep jobs, every time I go for a job I have to leave in an ambulance at one point – I just want to work,’ she said.
‘I live with my best friend and it’s just so hard looking at her as she goes surfing and does all the things I can’t do.
‘I just sit and imagine what it’d be like. I hope one day I’ll know again.’