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Isabella Radestock

Help is needed to curb deadly illness

ISABELLA Radestock was the life and soul of the party before illness struck.

But in 1998 she contracted Lyme disease after being bitten by an infected tick in trees near Grants Houses, next to Easington Colliery. It caused irreparable damage to her vital organs and she died three days before Christmas, after a seven-year battle with the mysterious illness. Now her daughter Gillian Devine has vowed raise awareness about the disease. Gillian said she wanted people to be more aware of a disease which is hard to spot because it can imtitate other conditions. She also praised health workers who were a ‘‘massive’’ help to her mother. The illness left Isabella, who was fondly known as ‘Beldy’, in constant pain. She was unable to walk around her home, and it wreaked havoc upon her eyesight and digestive system. In an interview with the Mail before she died, Isabella said: “I’ve lost my back teeth because of it and now my other teeth are turning black. I have vomiting bouts every few days, diarrhoea, night sweats, hallucinations and it feels as if every bone in my body is broken. “I’ve got nodules on my hands and some days they turn blue as if rigor mortis has set in. I’m completely poisoned throughout my system.” Gillian, of The Spinney in Easington Village, explained how Isabella, a grandmother-of-one, had also suffered from a number of other health problems as well as Lyme disease. She battled against chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Later, the results of tests carried out in America proved positive for Borreliosis (Lymes disease), said Gillian. By then it was the summer of 2001 and Isabella was admitted to hospital for treatment. But her health continued to deteriorate and in 2003 she developed pneumonia and then breast cancer, said Gillian. She added: “They diagnosed her with breast cancer in October and they operated in the November. They gave her a double mastectomy. Then the Lyme disease got worse.” Isabella had to have a Hickman line inserted into her chest to pump antibiotics straight into her heart to treat the Lyme disease, said Gillian. And at the same time she was undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Then, at the beginning of December of last year, Isabella was given the all-clear for the breast cancer. But the good news was short-lived. Gillian said: “On December 18 I took her Christmas shopping and the next morning she was at the top of the stairs and I thought she’d had a stroke. She didn’t know who I was and she was disorientated. “The doctors came out and didn’t know what was wrong with her. She just deteriorated.’’ Isabella was taken into hospital where she went into a coma and passed away. Stephanie Woodcock, chairwoman of Lyme Disease Action, said: “There are about 500 confirmed cases of Lyme disease every year, but official figures admit this could be an underestimate because of all the cases that go undiagnosed. It can imitate any other disease or illness. « Previous PageNext »Page 1 of 2 Help is needed to curb deadly illness “Awareness inside the medical profession needs to be raised because Lyme disease can be cured if it is treated quickly with antibiotics.” Gillian said: “My mam’s GP, Doctor Gupta, and the district nurses were a massive help. Throughout all her illness, she never got depressed, never got down. ‘‘She was such a bubbly person, she was the life and soul of the party. She used to be there for all of us, she was very caring and she used to try to please everybody. She would go to the other end of the world to get something for you if you needed it. “But I hope that by publicising my mam’s death it will raise awareness about the disease” l For more information about LymeDisease, go to: ‘Awareness needs to be raised because the disease can be cured if it is treated quickly’

Tragically, three days before Christmas 2005, Isabella Radestock died of ‘liver disease due to Lyme sepsis’. This may be the first death due to Lyme Borreliosis recorded in England and Wales. Her story was published by the Hartlepool Mail Thursday 9th February 2006 (4).

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