Teenager battles fatigue after a parasite burrowed into her EYE
Teenager is left battling chronic fatigue after a parasite burrowed into her EYE: 19-year-old claims the bug was in tap water which ended up on her contact lens and could now kill her
- Skye Wheeler endures unrelenting exhaustion and excruciating pain
- She claims a parasite burrowed into her cornea and ate away her eye at just 14
- The microorganism is ‘sleeping’ in her eye and could reawaken at anytime
- Ms Wheeler says her life has been ‘ripped to pieces’ and only ‘ash’ remains
- She wishes those who doubt whether ME is real could experience it for an hour
A teenager has been left battling chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), after a parasite burrowed into her eye.
Skye Wheeler, 19, from Cambourne, Cornwall, endures unrelenting exhaustion and excruciating pain that has left her confined to her small bedroom.
Ms Wheeler became unwell at 14 when a parasite burrowed into her cornea and ate away at her eye, where the microorganism is still ‘sleeping’. The bug caused the teenager to develop an infection, known as Acanthamoeba keratitis.
She said: ‘I was told it is found in tap water. The ultimate mistake was a droplet of water between my eye and my contact lens. It could blind me or even kill me one day.
‘My life has been ripped to pieces and then burnt down into nothing but ash and smoke.’
Although CFS’ cause is unclear, the condition has been linked to infections, with some doctors reporting on cases that appeared to be caused by Acanthamoeba keratitis.
Ms Wheeler is speaking out to coincide with Severe ME Awareness Day.
Skye Wheeler has been left battling chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), after a parasite burrowed into her eye via a contact lens
Ms Wheeler claims she endures unrelenting exhaustion and excruciating pain that has left her confined to her small bedroom while she watches her friends pursue adventures
Ms Wheeler feels she is just existing and often relies on a wheelchair due to her exhaustion
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WHAT IS CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME? AND CAN IT BE CAUSED BY A PARASITE BURROWING INTO THE EYE?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalopathy (ME) causes patients to suffer severe and debilitating fatigue.
Other symptoms include painful muscles, disturbed sleep, poor memory and reduced concentration.
In many causes CFS’ cause is unclear, however, it has been linked to infections, operations and accidents.
Some patients return to full health and others deteriorate progressively, however, most fluctuate between good and bad periods.
There is no cure for CFS, with the majority of treatments to reduce symptoms being ineffective.
CFS has atrracted controversy with many doctors previously questioning whether it is a true condition.
The World Health Organization and the Department of Health recognise CFS as a medical condition.
Can CFS be caused by a parasite burrowing into the eye?
Certain cases have seen sufferers develop symptoms after a parasite called Acanthamoeba burrowed into their eyes, causing Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK).
AK is an infection of the cornea.
Acanthamoeba is common in lakes, oceans and rivers, as well as tap water, swimming pools and hot tubs.
AK is most common in people who wear contact lenses.
Treatment usually involves antiseptic drops to kill the parasite.
Source: ME Association
‘I have a parasite in my eye’
Speaking of her condition, Ms Wheeler said: ‘I have a parasite in my eye. The Acanthamoeba burrowed into my cornea and ate away to create snail trails around my eye.
‘Despite years of treatment, I still have this parasite in my eye.
‘I am told that it is dormant. It goes into this stage to protect itself, picture it curling into a ball.
‘We will never be able to tell whether it is dead or not or if and when it may reawaken so I have to live with the feeling of never knowing.’
‘The fatigue is like a thousand bricks being tied to your body’
Ms Wheeler began experiencing ME symptoms just one month after coming off medication to treat an eye problem.
Speaking of how misunderstood ME is, she said: ‘The fatigue is like no other.
‘I actually wish there was another name for it. There is nothing I would give more than to transfer my symptoms to another person for just an hour.
‘The fatigue we feel is like a thousand bricks being tied to your body. You can’t muster up the energy to put on foot in front of the other.
‘You can’t get dressed and ready for the day without a blackness descending over your eyes. You can’t carry a conversation let alone even speak.
‘The bottom of the line is that there is no energy there in the first place to channel through your body to all the right places. The only thing you can do is lie and exist.’
Ms Wheeler’s condition has forced her to watch while her friends pursue adventures while she is housebound.
She said: ‘I lay in the dark because of light sensitivity alone and waiting for someone to return home and take me to the toilet.
‘My bed is my world. My bed is my support. It has seen me through endless days of torturous pain, fatigue and inner turmoil.’
Another ME sufferer sharing their story is Rosie Halsall who is unable to lift her head from her pillow, requires spoon feeding and cannot sit for more than 30 minutes without fainting
Rosie does not have the strength to stand or walk. It is unclear how she developed the disorder
‘ME has changed my life’
Another CFS sufferer sharing their story is Rosie Halsall, 17, from Liverpool, who has had the condition since she was just nine years old. It is unclear how she developed the condition.
At her worst, Rosie is unable to lift her head from her pillow, requires spoon feeding and cannot sit for more than 30 minutes without fainting.
She said: ‘ME has changed my life. I can’t sleep in my bedroom, instead in a downstairs room. I’m sensitive to lights and sounds, so regularly wear sound reduction headphones and sunglasses, particularly on bad days.
‘People don’t tend to see the bad days, the days when I’m crying in pain, when I’m too exhausted to wear “proper” clothes and the help I need from my parents with washing myself.’
As well as being totally dependent on her parents, Rosie is unable to walk unaided, forcing her to get about in a wheelchair.
She said: ‘I still don’t have the strength to stand or walk and I haven’t attended school since 2014.
‘I have a very good support system around me who understand my illness, however I have lost contact with people I used to talk to every day and friends who I grew up with.’
‘It can feel like a constant flu’
A spokesman from the ME Assocation said: ‘It is an invisible illness. When you see us, we might not always look ill, but when our symptoms flare, the effects are obvious.
‘It can feel like a constant flu, the smallest exertion can floor us, our bodies are painfully sore, restful sleep eludes us, light and noise are intolerable, and ‘brain fog’ causes confusion.
‘ME remains a hidden disease. There is no known cure and no effective treatment – and it can lead to greater functional impairment than multiple sclerosis or cancer.
‘The most severe sufferers are often the most hidden. A lot of people give up and their families are left fighting, so they can’t raise awareness. There’s a higher risk of suicide with ME sufferers.
‘People find it hard to understand, with the medical advancements, how something like this can happen in this day and age.’
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