A brilliant swimmer, Sophie Ward had to see her Olympic dream shatter after acquiring Lyme disease. The twenty-four years old girl experienced painful symptoms such as migraines, recurring infections, sore throats, and food intolerance after she returned from her trip to China. These conditions reportedly were seen after she petted a Panda.
Over the following 9 years, Ward’s health started deteriorating so rapidly that she was forced to stop going to college. Her numerous visits to the doctors did not yield any fruit as the specialists were not being able to determine the cause of her ailment.
Ward finally visited a specialist in January 2017, who pointed out that she could be ailing from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The specialist analyzed her symptoms tracing back to her trip to Beijing. During this trip in the year 2008, Ward reportedly was petting a panda. She believes that a tick could have bitten her at that time. Eventually, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which is an infection that usually spreads from infected ticks to humans.
After returning from China, Ward immediately began feeling unwell and started sweating uncontrollably. Four years later, she developed further symptoms. She said in a statement, “I was getting severe pains in my muscles and my joints. I kept going to the doctors but they treat all these things separately. They sent me for lots of scans but I kept getting told everything was fine.” Further, she explained, “People start questioning you, so you start questioning yourself. Everyone is telling you, you are fine. But deep down, you know you are not. My health was declining and I did not feel right. But I even started hiding my symptoms or lying about them as I felt people wouldn’t believe me.”
Ward even found that she had been infected by Coxsackie virus. China suffered the virus’s outbreak in 2007. She believed that tick had acquired the Coxsackie virus before biting her. She also pointed out that her body developed initial symptoms just within some hours of getting in contact with the panda. Ward said, “I just felt really poorly and was sweating uncontrollably after touching the panda. We went back to the hotel and I saw the doctors. They said it was a fever and gave me two days of antibiotics. They made me feel better and I carried on with our holiday and came home and carried on with life and felt absolutely fine for a number of years.”
Ultimately in March 2017, Ward was diagnosed with Lyme disease. At the present, she is being given herbal therapies because her body has become extremely weak and cannot take antibiotics. Her health conditions tend to vary and she uses wheelchair for traveling long journeys.