Van Straten family’s battle Lyme Disease
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.