Kirstie Haysman was a fit mom and beauty queen — until Lyme disease forced her to be “bedbound.”
The Miss Herfordshire 2015 title holder stayed trim for pageants with high-intensity training, but has since developed excruciating physical pain and fatigue that leaves her unable to leave home, much less her bed.
Doctors told Haysman, 34, that she most likely had an infection or auto-immune disease when her symptoms cropped up in 2015, leaving her struggling with her health for the years that followed.
Unsatisfied with her vague diagnosis, the Brit beauty traveled to Mexico for further bloodwork that revealed she had Lyme disease, which is contracted via tick bites.
The illness is most often caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and symptoms included fever, fatigue, headache and the hallmark bulls-eye rash, erythema migrans.
Lyme disease, which infects and estimated 426,000 Americans each year, is often resolved with a two to four course of antibiotics, though some patients can be unlucky enough to develop persistent symptoms, dubbed Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, similar to an “auto-immune” response.
Haysman claimed that if she had received a proper diagnosis, she could be living pain-free, but instead, her body “is shutting down.”
“I pray it gets better so I can walk around — I’ve been outside twice in last the six weeks, other than that my life is in bed,” the Watford, England mom told SWNS, adding that her husband has been tasked with carrying her to the toilet and bath. “This all could have been avoided if they’d done a simple Lyme test.”
Her first symptoms appeared as joint pain and chronic fatigue, and she said a rheumatologist prescribed her a high dose of steroids.
Yet, her health continued to worsen — her joints swelled and she was unable to pick items up — and her bloodwork results passed with flying colors.
Physicians diagnosed her with an auto-immune disorder and attempted to suppress her immune system as treatment, which Haysman claims probably made her condition deteriorate even futher. Her long-term steroid use even resulted in “the bones of a 70-year-old,” per her doctor.
It wasn’t until January 2023 that a friend suggested Lyme disease could be the culpri.
“I’d been taking steroids, living on pain killers and had tried every low inflammation diet you can think of,” she said. “I just assumed I had an autoimmune disease like Lupus — Lyme is called ‘the great imitator’ because it imitates these autoimmune conditions.”
The following month, her bloodwork from Mexico proved she had Lyme disease, prompting doctors to prescribe a concoction of three antibiotics for 12 months while Haysman attempts herbal remedies as well.
Even back home in England, the former pageant queen is still struggling to find a doctor who understands her condition.
“I’m bedbound and I had to give up my job as a healthcare professional, I was a chiropodist and couldn’t use my hands anymore,” she lamented.
The situation has even prompted her daughter, Harriet, 11, to get tested for the disease as well.
“I want to get the word out that if you have autoimmune conditions or rheumatic disease to get tested for Lyme,” Haysman said. “It’s so frustrating — in your mind you want to be working and socializing but you’re stuck in body that can’t work.”
Her harrowing story follows a scourge of ticks plaguing regions of the US in recent years.
As of April, jabs from Moderna as well as Pfizer and Valneva were in the works, the latter of which was hoping to seek FDA-approval as early as 2025.