In early 2019, Lee Bollom was on a personal health improvement journey walking to and from the gym five times per week and going on the treadmill for more than 30 minutes a day plus light weight work and weekly Pilates classes.
“While the gym work I did was not over excessive, I managed to get to a very fast walking pace and had also taken to eating really healthily,” says Lee.
During this time, Lee was eating plenty of fruit and vegetables including a green vegetable breakfast smoothie and had cut down on meat, alternating to a plant-based diet every second day with plenty of fish. He remembers feeling like this was the fittest and healthiest time of his life.
“I felt better than I did when I was much younger age and I felt really good physically and mentally.”
However, in October 2019, Lee had a sore on his left arm and didn’t know where it had come from. Soon after, he began to have terrible night sweats and noticed dizziness and vertigo, tingling and numbest in his hands and feet, very loud tinnitus, flu like symptoms, blocked sinus and extreme lethargy. He would wake up and head straight to the lounge every day because he had no energy and felt drained.
Lee went through numerous tests including MRIs, nerve conduction testing, ECGs, Holter monitors, a colonoscopy, a gastroscopy, numerous pathology tests for everything including auto immune diseases but nothing revealed anything worthwhile. Lee was tested for almost everything under the sun but was still no closer to finding out why his life had suddenly changed.
“After all the tests came back normal my local GP said, ‘Dude, there is nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head and you have anxiety’, which was so unhelpful,” said Lee.
Lee became convinced that he probably did have anxiety and was growing increasingly more scared about what was going on within his own body. He wondered why no one could tell him what was wrong or offer any help.
Lee and his wife spent a small fortune seeking natural therapies and seeing multiple doctors, but there were still no answers so Lee suffered in silence. A year later, he found a holistic doctor who ordered different tests to the usual GPs. One result came back positive for Rickettsia and Scrub Typhus, however the infection had already imbedded itself into Lee’s system and it was too late to tackle it with early treatment options.
After nearly three years of being sick with no real treatment and no end in sight, Lee’s mental health suffered severely and his anxiety became unbearable.
“I reached a point when I just didn’t want to live with the relentless symptoms anymore.”
Soon after, Lee met with Dr Richard and joined the study at Royal North Shore Hospital and says that this was life-changing. Lee believes this was a real turning point and a “breath of fresh air” with the positivity and hope that he needed to go on.
“I wouldn’t be here today without Dr Richard and his kindness and understanding because he was the first doctor to ask me about each symptom rather than me having to explain them.”
Now at nearly six months post treatment and feeling better than he has in the past three years, Lee is feeling good with only minimal symptoms still persisting. He hopes that with treatment and time that these too will pass.
“The crazy thing about this is that there is medicine currently available to provide treatment if detected early so if only I was tested early enough I would not have lost the last three years of my life.”