Amanda Wilkinson was bedridden and temporarily blind after a wash and blow-dry at a local hair salon.
Amanda, who was once an athlete and squash champion, was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease after collapsing and being rushed to hospital.
“It was a normal day when I went to the hairdressers for a wash and blow-dry," she told The Sun.
"Once a month, I went to the salon for the same treatment. When my hair wasn’t tied up for work or sport, I liked it to look its best, especially when I was out with my friends.”
Having bleached hair, Amanda had an intensive conditioner applied to repair any damage.
“My hair was bleached, so I agreed it probably needed some TLC," she explained.
"I was initially happy with the result but hours later when I looked in the mirror at home, my hair was standing on end. When I touched it, it broke off in my hands.”
Amanda, from Pinner, north London, returned to the salon to complain, where stylists claimed they had never seen anything like it before.
She said: “The next day I didn’t feel myself. I was confused and kept falling over.
"I hoped I’d feel better after a night’s sleep, but I woke up feeling the same.
"Then, later on, I was in the living room chatting to a friend when my whole body suddenly started shaking.”
Amanda’s friend called for an ambulance and she was rushed to hospital where she was told she had had a seizure.
She had some blood tests and was told she had Hashimoto’s disease, a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid – a small gland at the base of your neck.
“The doctor told me it was likely I had suffered a toxic reaction to the hair product, which had triggered the disease," she said.
"I was prescribed levothyroxine and was told I had to take it for the rest of my life."
Doctors suspected she also had encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain), and after a lumbar puncture was performed, Amanda’s health deteriorated.
“It was a trainee doctor performing the procedure and it took him several attempts to get the sample of fluid from my spinal cord. By the time he finished, I was in agony.”
After the lumbar puncture, Amanda was taken by ambulance to National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London.
That evening, her health got worse and her eyesight became so badly blurred that she couldn’t see – for two weeks.
“Every day I woke up hoping it was all a bad dream,” she said.
“Eventually my sight returned, but then I started having the screaming episodes, which a doctor told me was a tic.”
Now bedridden, she has to live with other problems including weight gain, thinning hair, skin rashes, throat problems, frequent nosebleeds, and the inability to concentrate.
WHAT IS HASHIMOTO'S DISEASE?
Hashimoto's disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid gland, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body's functions.
Inflammation from Hashimoto's disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
It primarily affects middle-aged women but also can occur in men and women of any age and in children.
Those suffering from Hashimoto's disease might not have any symptoms at first, or they may notice a swelling at the front of the throat (goiter).
The disease progresses slowly over years and causes chronic thyroid damage, leading to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in your blood.
- fatigue and sluggishness
- increased sensitivity to cold
- pale, dry skin
- puffy face
“My life is ruined. My tic disorder involves episodes of screaming and repeating everything.
"I am a completely different person to who I was before this nightmare.
"This, along with my other health issues means I’ve also lost contact with my family and friends.
“Doctors say my case of Hashimoto’s disease is among the worst two per cent in the country.
"I still can’t believe an innocent trip to the hairdressers stripped me of everything, all because of a reaction.
"It’s unlikely I will ever get my old life back, but all I can do is hope.”
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