How a sin­gle tick bite has changed my life

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kathryn Cy­gan

BEKI Seekamp was your av­er­age young woman liv­ing in the Whit­sun­days and lov­ing life – be­fore she was bit­ten by a tick.

The tick bite soon de­vel­oped the tell­tale ‘bulls­eye rash’ as­so­ci­ated with Lyme dis­ease how­ever, since Lyme dis­ease is not of­fi­cially recog­nised in Aus­tralia, the sim­ple course of an­tibi­otics that would have cured her were not made avail­able.

In­stead the bite was brushed off as a spi­der bite and Beki was sent home.

“It’s the case for nearly ev­ery Aus­tralian who con­tracts the dis­ease, as no nurses or doc­tors are trained to look out for th­ese rashes,” Ms See- kamp said.

In 2014, Beki’s mys­te­ri­ous ill­ness be­gan to take its toll.

“I had to stop work­ing at Cruise Whit­sun­days in 2014, and we had to move to the Gold Coast in Oc­to­ber 2015 so I could be closer to a treat­ment cen­tre.”

Ms Seekamp re­cently re­turned from her first trip to Amer­ica, where she met with the lead­ing world spe­cial­ist on Lyme dis­ease to dis­cus treat­ment.

“I was di­ag­nosed in Septem­ber 2014 – we’re go­ing back nearly two years since I was di­ag­nosed. I was re­ally sick then and look­ing for an­swers.

“It’s been a re­ally long or­deal. I thought I would have been bet­ter by now but now I’m sicker than when I was first di­ag­nosed. I haven’t been able to work in a long time,” she said.

“This new spe­cial­ist has a wait­ing list of 800 pa­tients. I was re­ally lucky to se­cure an ap­point­ment with him. He’s com­pletely changed all my treat­ments and we’re start­ing a whole new plan.”

“We moved from the Whit­sun­days to the Gold Coast to do heat treat­ments, which didn’t end up help­ing. It helps some but it wasn’t strong or ag­gres­sive enough.

“It’s still go­ing to be a long road ahead – he treats very ag­gres­sively. Over a year or so I am hop­ing to be back to some level of nor­malcy.”

The de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms of Lyme dis­ease are painful.

“I have pain in ev­ery­thing, in my joints, mus­cles, nerves and bones. I have a lot of neu­ro­log­i­cal symp­toms like tremors and ticks. A lot of cog­ni­tive is­sues with think­ing and speak­ing, and I have mo­bil­ity is­sues. I can’t walk up and down the stairs by my­self.

“It’s also at­tack­ing dif­fer­ent body sys­tems. I’ve just had to have my gall blad­der re­moved,” she said.

Beki will phone her spe­cial­ist in New York ev­ery month for fol­low-up ap­point­ments and will need to travel to the US ev­ery six months.

“My med­i­ca­tion alone costs $2500 a month,” she said.

There is a GoFundMe page for Beki and do­na­tions are wel­come at www.gofundme.com/Bek­is­bat­tle.

“There is a se­nate in­quiry sched­uled for June on ill­ness- es like Lyme dis­ease and our test­ing and treat­ment. Hope­fully we will get some help and an­swers from that,” Beki said.

DES­PER­ATE FOR CURE: Beki Seekamp af­ter re­turn­ing from the US fol­low­ing her first treat­ment ses­sion with a world-lead­ing Lyme dis­ease spe­cial­ist.

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