County backs disease petition

“People are going bankrupt, and people who are unable to get treatment abroad (in) many cases are committing suicide because the disease is so horrific,” she added.  

Excerpted from  the Stratford Gazette ( Posted: 07/21/2011 ) 

Christine Heffer said it’s about time the medical community gives Lyme disease the respect it deserves.

Heffer went four long years before being diagnosed with the disease after she was bitten by an infected tick. Left untreated, the disease left her at times nearly disabled, bedridden and unable to speak or eat and with a burning sensation she described as like “someone pouring battery acid on your skin.”

It wasn’t until doctors figured out what was wrong that Heffer began to recover, but as she explained to members of Perth County council last week, there’s no escaping the disease. She takes 54 pills a day including four heavy-duty antibiotics.

“The goal is not to kill (the disease),” she said. “It’s to get it to go into remission and hopefully get your immune system to suppress it.”

Heffer, a resident of Corunna, just outside of Sarnia, was in Stratford last week where she gained the support of council for a petition  – started by Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey –  that asks for improved testing in the province around Lyme disease, a wide-scale education program and mandatory training for physicians on how to diagnose and treat the disease.

Had these changes been made sooner, Heffer said she wouldn’t be fighting for her life today.

“I suffered from many unnecessary tests and procedures and even a major surgery due to faulty testing and general lack of knowledge of Lyme disease in this province.”

Before being diagnosed Heffer said she was told by doctors her symptoms were in her head, that she was depressed and was even accused of being a drug seeker. The disease is also often misdiagnosed as MS, Parkinson’s,  ALS due to its similarities.  

“This is what a person with Lyme disease faces from the medical community on  regular basis,” she said.  

Lyme disease is the fastest growing disease in North America, with an estimated 400,000 cases each year in the United States. Yet, notes Heffer, the number of confirmed cases north of the border are comparatively low, which she attributed to a “lack of knowledge and general poorness of the testing.”

For the complete article:

~ by Rob on July 21, 2011.

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