By Lauren Fruen
A YOUNG woman has gone from being an energetic pole dancer to a fatigued “gran” after falling ill with a mystery disease doctors cannot diagnose.
Ashleigh Butler’s life was transformed overnight when she suddenly lost feeling in her legs at work during a shift as a waitress.
When her symptoms began to get worse the fitness fanatic and law student visited doctors – but with her tests not showing anything Ashleigh has left doctors stumped.
More than a year later and 22-year-old Ashleigh is no closer to knowing exactly what is wrong with her.
She suffers from chronic fatigue and pain, numbness and tingling, seizures and slurred speech.
Ashleigh also experiences blurred vision, hair loss and excess sweating.
It means the former pole dancing instructor now spends her time knitting and her boyfriend is now her full time carer.
Medics had originally though Ashleigh was showing early signs of MS.
But further tests showed that not to be the case – and Ashleigh still needs answers.
Ashleigh, who lives with her boyfriend Justin, 23, in Jervis Bay, Australia, said: “One day I was a normal, healthy 21 year old girl and the next day I was burdened with a sickness that left me disabled and no one has been able to explain why.
“It turned me into a gran overnight. I went from being a pole dancing instructor to knitting. It made me old before my time.
“Prior to becoming chronically ill, I was studying a double degree of law and psychology full time and working full-time hours as a waitress.
“I was extremely fit and healthy as I was a pole dancer and instructor, plus a regular gym-goer.
“On top of this, I also maintained a great social life and a healthy relationship with my partner of four years. My lifestyle was extremely full-on but I loved every minute of my busy life.
“One day I just couldn’t feel my legs. Doctors thought I had the early symptoms of MS. But I had the tests and they just couldn’t place what was wrong with me.
“In a weird way that crushed me as I was so sick I just wanted to know what was wrong with me.
“I felt like I was made to feel I was crazy.
“Months passed and I was seeing every specialist under the sun.
“My boyfriend has gone from my boyfriend to my carer.
“He has to help me walk and support me financially. It’s such a burden on people.
“I was this little old lady who sat at home with my knitting.”
“I’ve been searching for a diagnosis since September 2016 and I have spent thousands on medical testing and specialist opinions that didn’t get me anywhere.
“There is a silver lining, I have found a fantastic doctor who is close to finding out what is causing my mystery illness.
“However, he needs me to complete extensive testing over the next few weeks which will total around $1500. I just want to get to the bottom of this.”
To help come to terms with her chonic illness Ashleigh started a blog. Visit: http://findingrainbowsinthedark.com/about/.
Now she is raising money to cover medical expenses to finally diagnose her illness.
Visit to donate: https://www.youcaring.com/ashleighbutler-1156936)