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Living with Lyme disease: A tick bite at age 2 left South African ex-pat Kimberly Roos Horwitz bed-bound at 27

0 2 years ago

“I was in a living hell. My heart was constantly racing and pounding and I was gasping for air with every breath,” says South African ex-pat Kimberly Roos Horwitz, recalling her 27th year.

The tick bite was an annoyance to two-year-old Roos Horwitz more than anything else; it kept itching and distracting her from what was really important – playing. A few hours on, that irritation had turned into something more sinister. “My parents remember that I wasn’t eating, I had a fever and couldn’t hold my head up. My mum said that I just wasn’t myself at all and I had a rash all over my body,” she says.

She healed over the next few days, the upset skin being quelled by her mum’s lotions and the family didn’t think much of it. Over the next few years, however, there were flare-ups. “As a child I developed severe asthma and felt different in terms of not being able to keep up in sports activities, although I still pursued sports and activities and managed to find much success in competitive sports. However, keeping up with training was always very difficult. I struggled with fatigue, breathing issues and developed rashes and allergies. I was often sick with chest infections and had to take time off regularly. It was very frustrating but we thought that I simply had asthma and allergies. Then panic attacks started to show up at age 12 and anxiety became a big part of my life,” she says.

Kimberly undergoes plasmapheresis treatment.

Then came the incident at age 27. Roos Horwitz was driving along the Corniche road in Abu Dhabi when her heart began to thunder and she stepped on the brakes. “I remember a lot of people getting angry and honking at me. A very kind stranger called the ambulance for me and they said my heart rate and blood pressure were unstable. At the time, there was no explanation as to what caused it,” she recalls.


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