Van Straten fam­ily’s bat­tle Lyme Dis­ease

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Terri Hux­ley The Drumheller Mail

After mul­ti­ple con­sul­ta­tions, tests, etc. The Van Straten clan is still suf­fer­ing.

Back in the sum­mer of 2013, Angie and Joe noted a huge bite mark had ap­peared un­der Joe’s armpit which was thought to be a spi­der bite.

After a few days, Joe started ex­pe­ri­enc­ing symp­toms and went to the hospi­tal to get blood work done.

Lyme Dis­ease can be a mix­ture of dif­fer­ent things which may lead to false di­ag­no­sis or not get­ting di­ag­nosed at all.

“It’s a great im­i­ta­tor be­cause it mocks so many other ill­nesses,” said Angie.

Symp­toms in­clude: Body paral­y­sis, heart pal­pi­ta­tions, in­som­nia, sweats and chills, im­paired con­cen­tra­tion, dizzi­ness, etc.

The doc­tors de­ter­mined Joe had a wblood in­fec­tion, and pre­scribed him doxy­cy­cline an­tibi­otics which seemed to help but then the symp­toms came back with a vengeance.

By the end of Novem­ber, both Joe and Angie Van Straten had dis­cov­ered they both had Lyme Dis­ease.

They found a natur­opath in Cal­gary that was able to get their blood work tested in Ar­min Labs in Ger­many. The re­sults came back pos­i­tive.

At that point, the cou­ple de­cided their youngest son, Dex­tin, should be tested.

Joe was an au­to­mo­tive me­chanic at the Stet­tler Dodge deal­er­ship while Angie was a teacher at the Green­tree School in Drumheller. The Elisa test has a 30% ac­cu­racy and only tests for one strain or genospecies of Lyme dis­ease whereas labs overseas have much more ac­cu­rate test­ing.

If there is a neg­a­tive read on the Elisa test, then the sec­ond stage, the more ac­cu­rate western blot test, will not be per­formed.

One way to pre­vent Lyme dis­ease is to wear long sleeves and check your­self over for bites when en­ter­ing from out­side.

Med­i­cal bills for the fam­ily can range from $800 to $1000 just in herbal sup­ple­ments alone.

“We haven’t been able to work, so we have no money com­ing in. We were both de­nied dis­abil­ity and just try­ing to get through each day is just hard, it’s very very hard,” said Angie.

Aware­ness of Lyme dis­ease has spread but Angie feels it has been de­terred by hos­pi­tals.

“I think peo­ple don’t have enough of an un­der­stand­ing of it, I think it comes from the health care sys­tem. Lots of med­i­cal doc­tors don’t be­lieve in lyme dis­ease so they won’t treat it,” said Angie.

Stud­ies have sug­gested that Lyme dis­ease can be trans­mit­ted via in­fected in­sects, sex­ual en­coun­ters, preg­nancy, breast­feed­ing, or blood trans­fu­sions.

Dex­tin has had no luck find­ing a doc­tor to treat him so par­ents Angie and Joe plan to send him to the United States.

“It’s a lot of money but i’m sure hop­ing that we get at least enough for my lit­tle guy to get treated be­cause the sooner you treat, the bet­ter chance they have of re­mis­sion,” said Angie.

As well as a press for cash, the fam­ily has been notic­ing stig­ma­tism sur­round their new ill­ness.

“I have peo­ple in my life that don’t be­lieve that this is hap­pen­ing to my fam­ily and I’ve al­ready lost re­la­tion­ships be­cause of it,” said Angie

On the up­side, Angie has con­tacted the Rum­sey Ag So­ci­ety to see about brain­storm­ing ideas in sup­port of the lo­cal fam­ily.

“It’s not a quick fix kind of thing,” said Angie.

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