A mum is in such agony 18 months after being bitten by a tick that she would happily chop her leg off – if she were strong enough to use a chainsaw.
Samantha Frost was bitten by the parasite while paintballing with her son last February and is convinced she has contracted Lyme disease – after ending up with the telltale bullseye-like rash.
The 43-year-old has been left housebound and unable to look after her son 11-year-old son Toby – so he has been sent to live with his grandparents.
Samantha said her torturous illness has left her exhausted and a shadow of her former self, suffering extreme fevers, hallucinations and up to 200 involuntarily body jerks per night.
NHS doctors maintain she does not have Lyme disease but think she may have ME, a long-term neurological condition affecting the nervous and immune systems.
But a DNA test from the USA confirmed Samantha’s suspicions that she does have the bacterial infection, which is carried by ticks.
She said: “The pain feels like somebody is stabbing you with a knife and like your legs are being electrocuted, burning from the inside but when you touch them they are cold.
“I would cut them off with a chainsaw if I had the chance. It’s pure torture.
“My body jolts, known as ticks, feel like somebody invisible is whacking you and you are jolting as a result. It is really scary.
“I want to be well enough to have Toby back full time with me, he is my world.
“At first, I would take him to school in the morning and come home and fall asleep on the sofa where I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
“I was completely shattered every day, sleeping like a baby.
“The fevers were so bad there was a sweat mark of my body on the bed.
“I was hallucinating and hearing music that wasn’t there, I even thought I knew what song it was.”
Samantha, from Northolt, Surrey, was unaware she had been bitten by a tick until two days after the paintballing party when she began suffering from terrible migraines and stiff neck and her blood pressure plummeted in February 2017.
The former manager of a group of hair and beauty salons discovered the tick burrowed into her leg after she undressed after work.
She said: “It looked like a spider and I ripped it out and smashed it with a book but left the head in my leg.
“There was blood everywhere, it was like a plug had been released.
“It was one big gaping hole.”
Samantha contracted pneumonia two weeks later but doctors gave her antifungal cream for ringworm when she broke out into a huge rash in April last year.
She said: “If I had been given the antibiotics when I went to the doctor in April rather than three lots of antifungal cream, I probably wouldn’t be ill anymore.
“I don’t want to point to the finger but there is a lack of awareness and people need to know.”
Samantha’s condition deteriorated causing her to leave her job and become cut off from her friends, unable to do the things she loved such as ice skating and going to theme parks with Toby.
She was rushed to hospital in August last year when doctors admitted her leg was covered in EM rashes, a symptom of Lyme disease, but still refused to give her antibiotics before her test results came back – which came back negative.
But the DNA test from the USA confirmed Samantha had Lyme disease Borrelia as well as three co-infections including Babesia, Bartonella and tick-borne relapsing fever.
She said: “I actually thought I was going to die.
“My dad arrived and I couldn’t understand what he was saying.
“With the DNA test from the USA, it is impossible to get a false positive because it is there in your DNA.”
Samantha was contacted by Australian DJ and producer Didier Cohen who hit the headlines earlier this year when he revealed his battle with Lyme disease after his body shut down.
The Ozzy star offered to contact doctors in Germany for Samantha who is now crowdfunding to have the £30,000 treatment in Frankfurt which she hopes will turn her life back.
The mum-of-one was prescribed heaps of medication by Chinese doctors but says they are long-term and she is running out of time as her condition worsens.
She said: “People like Didier are on their feet again after a few months and that’s what I want too.
“I want my life back and to do all the things I used to love and enjoy.
“It’s such a horrible, torturous disease.”
Self-made billionaire John Caudwell, who founded Phones 4u urged the Government to do more after he, his ex-wife and three of his children were affected by Lyme disease.
He tweeted: “For years patients have been misdiagnosed, diagnosed late, given incorrect treatment or told there is nothing wrong with them.
“People are dying.
“The UK government and department of health must address this tragic situation so that victims can gain their lives back.”
Samantha also wants to raise awareness of the disease and said she wasn’t given any information about ticks or advice on what to wear by the paintballing company in Surrey, which she subsequently found was a hotspot for the tiny insects.
She said: “There were so many children running around in shorts, it’s so dangerous and there are no signs warning people about them.”
“I was wearing skinny jeans and boots but my ankles were out so it must have climbed up my leg.
“The tick injects you with an anaesthetic before it bites you so most people, like me, don’t even feel it when it bites you.
“If there had been a sign warning people about ticks in the area, I would have checked me and my son when I got home.”