Long road to Lyme di­ag­no­sis

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

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.

Pic­ture: David Baylis www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d481315

Lyme disease suf­ferer Rebecca Vary.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.