How a single tick bite has changed my life
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.