Last hope for a healthy life Woman forced to look over­seas for cure

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

AN Idalia woman suf­fer­ing a crip­pling ill­ness for more than a decade is spend­ing more than $ 10,000 to travel over­seas to treat her con­tro­ver­sial con­di­tion which is not widely recog­nised in Aus­tralia. Jes­sica La­caze has spent 12 years trav­el­ling in­ter­state to see more than 30 doc­tors and spe­cial­ists af­ter she de­vel­oped a mys­te­ri­ous chronic ill­ness. “They kept telling me I was stressed or de­pressed but I wasn't ei­ther of those things,” Ms La­caze said. “I hon­estly think they thought I was just in the too hard bas­ket be­cause they just didn’t know.” Ms La­caze said she and her hus­band spent more than $ 60,000 on in­ef­fec­tive treat­ments and di­ag­noses un­til a break­through late last year. With the help of a Ger­man lab­o­ra­tory, she tested pos­i­tive to Bor­re­lia burgdor­feri, the main causative agent of tick- borne Lyme dis­ease. “When some peo­ple told me I should get tested for the bac­te­ria, I thought it just couldn’t be me to have it,” Ms La­caze said. “I just felt like some­thing wasn’t right be­cause I did every­thing ev­ery doc­tor ever told me to but I just kept get­ting worse.

“The only op­tion is I got ( the bac­te­ria) in Aus­tralia, be­cause I had never been over­seas be­fore I got sick.”

In late 2015, the Se­nate Com­mu­nity Af­fairs Ref­er­ences Com­mit­tee was asked to in­quire about “the grow­ing ev­i­dence of an emerg­ing tick­borne dis­ease that causes a Lyme- like ill­ness”.

In Novem­ber 2016, the com­mit­tee’s fi­nal re­port found “po­ten­tially infectious pathogens are be­ing trans­mit­ted by Aus­tralian ticks, and treat­ment for the en­su­ing ill­nesses is cur­rently sub­op­ti­mal”.

Twelve rec­om­men­da­tions were handed down in­clud­ing that “the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment al­lo­cate fund­ing for re­search into med­i­callyap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment of tick­borne dis­ease”.

But with no for­mal com­mit­ment since, Ms La­caze said she is be­ing forced to seek treat­ment over­seas.

In Septem­ber, she is head­ing to the Y& C In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in Cyprus for four weeks of in­ten­sive ozone ther­apy that isn’t avail­able in Aus­tralia.

The treat­ment will cost more than AUD$ 8251 on top of the travel costs.

“This is like a last- ditch ef­fort for me be­cause I have spent all my money be­fore my di­ag­no­sis try­ing to find out what’s go­ing on and on the wrong treat­ments,” she said.

“Even if I feel just 5 per cent bet­ter af­ter the treat­ment it will be bet­ter than noth­ing.

“I just hope putting the story out there puts more pres­sure on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to help so no one else has to go through what I’ve been through.”

To help with the costs of Ms La­caze’s treat­ment, visit www. go­fundme. com/ JessLyme

Pic­ture: SCOTT RADFORD- CHISHOLM

FED­ERAL IN­AC­TION: Jes­sica La­caze is head­ing over­seas for treat­ment. JES­SICA LA­CAZE

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