Long road to Lyme diagnosis
SOUTH Perth resident Rebecca Vary wants Australian doctors to be trained in acute tick-borne infections.
She was diagnosed with Lyme disease after suffering from symptoms for 25 years.
“I travelled to Germany for treatment, which included IV antibiotics and hyperthermia and immediately my life changed. The lift in symptoms in just two weeks was beyond amazing,” she said.
“Ozone treatment in Indonesia was the first glimmer of hope that I might be able to recover from my infections.”
Ms Vary welcomed news that the Lyme Disease Association of Australia was funding a pilot research study to test clinical samples using an innovative method to diagnose vector-borne infections, including those from tick bites.
OVERWHELMING, debilitating fatigue left Rebecca Vary, of South Perth, so tired each day that she slept in her car during her lunch break just to gather enough energy to get through her afternoon workload.
With no diagnosis from doctors, her symptoms were so bad she prepared her will and prayed that whatever ailed her would take her soon.
It was 25 years later, in 2013, that Ms Vary was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by a tick bite. Its symptoms include severe exhaustion, nausea, chronic muscle pain, depression, anxiety, dizziness, seizures, rash and an inability to stand.
Ms Vary said she believed she was infected in 1988 at the age of 17 while living in Carmel.
She said it was difficult for people to understand the level of fatigue experienced by sufferers.
“Imagine you slept a solid 12-hour night but when your alarm goes off you can’t wake up,” she said.
“You finally get up on the fourth alarm and you manage a three-minute shower because you can’t stand for too long.
“You give up everything that you don’t have to do – your hair, showering, eating, shopping or socialising – but you have to work and you have to sleep.”
Ms Vary entered remission in 2015, 27 years after being infected.
“Lyme disease should be part of a differential diagnosis in patients presenting with chronic fatigue and other unexplained illnesses,” she said.
Lyme disease sufferer Rebecca Vary.