By James Somper
A hunky MMA fighter has shared shocking video of what look like BUGS crawling under his skin – caused by a rare disease.
Chris Fantetti, 26, has 1,000 fasciculations – erratic muscle jerks that look like insects under the surface of his skin – a day and says that his life has been ruined by his condition.
The former fighter, from Gillingham, Kent, was diagnosed with a neurological condition called chiari malformation in addition to filum disease and neuro-cranio-vertebral syndrome in January by a private doctor in Spain.
But he claims before this he spent five months in total agony – visiting his GP at least 20 times and his local hospital at least 10 times after being rushed there by ambulance – and was even told his illness was ‘just in his head’ before he got a diagnosis.
Former railway worker Chris, who has lost two stone in muscle since he became ill, said: “It’s totally changed my life, it’s really depressing.
“I look in the mirror and I can’t recognise myself.
“I have about 1000 fasciculations a day and it genuinely looks like I’ve got bugs crawling under my skin when it’s at its worst.
“I’m in constant agony and I can’t see any end in sight.”
Chris first began to experience back pain in July last year but believes his condition may have first showed initial symptoms as early as January 2018.
At the same time he also began to experience the terrifying fasciculations, which a doctor has since found is caused by chiari malformations, abnormalities in the brain that impair balance and muscle control.
He claims despite more than 20 visits to his GP surgery, Woodlands Family Practice, he was diagnosed with asthma and told the condition was psychological.
Chris even made at least fifteen visits to A&E at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham after experiencing chronic pain but claims he was told he had anxiety.
The 26-year-old was eventually diagnosed after six months when he visited a private doctor in Barcelona.
He has since also begun to suffer from a curved spine which seriously impairs his mobility and has stopped him from competing in mixed martial arts competitions.
Chris said: “I was in constant agony, everyday my arms would change temperature and I had severe pain across my body.
“I had shooting pains and my body would start tremouring and shaking.
“I went to my GP at least twenty times and went to the hospital at least fifteen times.
“At first the GPs kept saying it was asthma, so they gave me asthma pumps and steroids.
“Then they both said it was all in my head.
“It wasn’t nice, I felt like people thought I was going crazy, I almost felt like I was going crazy in myself.”
Chris’s girlfriend of five years Heidi Oldfield, 23, said despite the challenges her partner’s condition has brought, she loves him all the same.
But she is now forced to help her boyfriend clean himself and get dressed as he has limited muscle control.
The transport recruiter said: “It’s been quite a bad transformation, we used to go on holiday all the time and be so active.
“Now, we can hardly leave the house.
“He used to go to the gym all the time, he was a real hunk, but now he can’t get out of bed or shower without help.
“It can be hard, but at the end of the day I love him.”
Chris, who is raising £24,000 on GoFundMe to fund his ongoing and future care, added: “It stops me from sleeping.
“I don’t really like going out of the house now so my relationship with friends has suffered as a result.
“Heidi has to do most the things for me like cleaning myself and getting dressed as I have limited muscle control, it’s really, really hard.
“It takes me ages to walk places and I’m dependent on everyone around me.
“I won’t be able to continue what I used to do including MMA, it’s really heartbreaking.”
Harvey McEnroe, Chief Operating Officer at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Medway Maritime Hospital, said: “We are sorry to hear about Mr Fantetti’s concerns; we have been in contact with him and we are happy to meet with him to discuss these concerns or any other aspects of his care.”
Chris is raising money for his care: https://www.gofundme.com/6egncc-neuro-cranial-vertebral-syndrome-and-filum-disease