A TEACHER has told of her three-decade-long battle to find an answer to a mystery illness that left her bedbound and unable to speak.

Pauline Bowie was struck down with, what she thought was, a terrible flu in 1989 however she failed to recover, suffering terrifying symptoms with no explanation.

The mum-of-three suffered crippling headaches, heart palpitations, carpal tunnel syndrome, extreme fatigue and chronic pain across her body.

Yet, the condition puzzled doctors.

The clue was a small circular rash which Pauline discovered on her thigh when she was working as a summer camp volunteer in the Michigan forest just as her mysterious flu began.

Glasgow Times:

The rash continued to grow and, when she returned to the UK, GPs diagnosed her with ringworm but failed to make the connection to her other symptoms.

The teacher told the Glasgow Times: “They prescribed a cream and that was it really.

“In the early 90s, my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and, after he died, they put all my symptoms down to stress.

“It wasn’t until 2018 when my cousin actually mentioned Lyme disease to my dad. When I googled it, I just slid down the wall. It was like all the lights just went on.”

Lyme disease is an incurable illness carried by ticks which infect humans when bitten.

Around 30% of the creatures carry the disease, which causes an array of troubling and often confusing symptoms.

The Lyme Resource Centre (LRC), a Scottish charity, has vowed to raise awareness of the disease which, it says, not many people are aware of.

Glasgow Times:

Pauline, 55, said: “I had to have my blood sent to Germany in order to receive a diagnosis and then I was able to find a private doctor who worked really hard to get me in remission.

“It took about two years but I am doing so much better after being entirely bedbound in 2018 and unable to speak with dementia-like symptoms. Now, I have so much energy. I do have relapses so I have to keep an eye out for it and really watch my lifestyle.

“But, even still – after 30 years – there isn’t enough awareness out there. Scotland is very prevalent for ticks and people need to know how to handle them and the symptoms to look out for.”

As part of Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Pauline, who works in Clydebank, visited Parliament and helped pass a motion to ensure all West Dunbartonshire schools are educating children on the illness.

The LRC has urged for all major landmarks to be lit up green as part of the Light Up For Lyme campaign throughout May.