Director’s word
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Director – Joonas Berghäll

Director‘s word

In 2011, a health-related hell that would last nine years began. I was in Kenya filming Mother’s Wish, a film about women’s and girls’ rights.

Forty-eight hours after arriving home, my body failed. I had dozens of symptoms; fever, severe insomnia, headaches, burning sensation in the head, swelling of the stomach and glands, eye and memory problems, brain fog, balance problems, swollen ankles, tingling of the elbows, etc.

In 2017, I almost passed out four times over a two-week period. I’ve since met 82 different doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Then I read an article about someone who was suffering from similar symptoms and had found help from a doctor. I found out who this doctor was and told him that he would be the last doctor I meet because I had no strength left to continue with this. Number 83 was the first doctor who took me seriously. My first appointment lasted two hours and fifteen minutes. Suddenly the doctor said, “Damn, could it be Lyme disease?”

I had blood work done, and after a couple of weeks, I tested positive for the following bacteria and viruses: Borrelia burgdorferi AFz, Gar, Borrelia burgdorferi Round body, Babesia microti igG, Babesia microti igM, Bartonella henselae IgG, Ehrlichia chaffeensis IgG, Rickettsia akari IgG, Coxsackis type A, Epstein-Barr IgG, Epstein-Barr IgM, Parvovirus B19 IgG and Mycoplasma fermentans. I told my doctor I was overjoyed. He told me I shouldn’t be; Lyme disease is one of the hardest illnesses to treat.

That was the start of my journey back toward health. Up until now, ten of the twelve bacteria and viruses that were in my body have been eliminated. I’ve been treated in hospitals in Germany and the United States. I didn’t understand how big of a problem we were dealing with until I traveled to Germany to receive hospital treatment. I’ve met with patients all over the world. I was and am still shocked that this is an epidemic and that at the moment over 100 million patients around the world aren’t receiving treatment. I want to fight for every patient. I believe that in the future, I will focus on the well-being and patient rights of Lyme disease patients in my career.