JANEY Cringean was playing hide and seek with her niece and nephew in Beecraigs Country Park in 2004 when she was bitten by an infected tick.

Ten days later she suffered extreme vomiting and feverish flu-like symptoms, along with a rash that would not clear.

"The rash was frozen off by a dermatologist but grew back and grew bigger," said Ms Cringean, from Livingston. "Eventually disappeared after 14 months."

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It took three years - and a fight for a referral to infectious diseases - before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, however.

"By that time, I couldn't get out of chairs without help. I had trouble rolling over in bed, and I couldn't stay awake long enough to eat a meal," said Ms Cringean, 57.

She had to give up working in her IT business and had only recently been able to return part-time. Initially she was prescribed antibiotics but her NHS treatment was stopped in 2010 when her consultant told her there was "nothing more we can do".

"I thought I was being sent home to die," said Ms Cringean.

She wants more help for patients who become chronically ill as a result of late diagnosis.

She said: "The Scottish Government has been doing its bit with public health campaigns, but it's really focused on raising awareness and early diagnosis.

"There's nothing for those of use who are chronically ill because we missed the early treatment window."

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Since 2010, she had paid for private treatment which she says has improved her symptoms.

In 2017 tests revealed she had three other tick-borne infections besides Lyme disease and since October 2018 she has been treated with antibiotics for all four by a Dublin-based private doctor.

"I've made vast improvements since I've seen him," she said.

Ms Cringean has petitioned MSPs to improve the care for Lyme disease and also works to raise awareness through the charity, www.lymeresourcecentre.com.