A Rimbey woman with Lyme disease hopes her story will help bring awareness to the debilitating disease.
Amber Vigh said after she fell ill on April 26 with an extreme fever, headache, neck and stomach pain and eventually sought treatment in British Columbia when she was not satisfied with the response from several Central Alberta physicians.
She said a naturopath in Kamloops, B.C. clinically diagnosed her with Lyme disease and A Go Fund Me account was set up by her mother to help pay costs associated with the disease, including a $1,300 Lyme test that will be done at a lab in Germany.
She said the Lyme test done in Canada produces inaccurate results.
“There’s co-infections along with Lyme disease and they think I have seven co-infections so (the naturopath) wants to get the test to make sure we’re treating the infections with the proper protocols,” said Vigh who is working with a B.C. and a Rimbey naturopath.
She said British Columbia is the only province that allows naturopaths to prescribe antibiotics so that’s why she looked to B.C. for help.
Vigh, 32, said she doesn’t know when she was infected.
“(Lyme disease) can lay dormant in your body for years and years. It could have been I was bit a couple years ago when I was out camping.”
She said she was outside cleaning up her yard on the day she was stricken with pain. Her naturopaths suspect inhaling something like snow mold may have triggered the disease.
Vigh said during her first month on Doxycycline and CBD oil her symptoms have persisted.
“I’ve had a headache since April 26. At the moment I have some major heart pain. I don’t know how to explain it except that your heart hurts, and joint pain, neck pain.”
Vigh will return to Kamloops at the end of May to get enough Doxycycline for another month. She must return again to get her third and final month of antibiotics.
The stay-at-home mom and her husband James have three young children so the money raised through Go Fund Me will also help pay for her medicine and supplements.
Dr. Mohammed Mosli, medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services Central Zone, said Central Alberta hospitals do see people with questions about Lyme disease but it’s not a common concern, and the Lyme disease test done in Canada is the highest quality testing available.
“The testing in Canada is as accurate as it can get. There is an agreed upon protocol for testing that is followed the Public Health Agency of Canada and the United State’s Centre for Disease Control,” Mosli said.
A tick surveillance program is currently underway in Alberta to monitor for Lyme disease bacteria.
Ticks found on people or in their surroundings can be submitted to an Environmental Public Health Office, a First Nations Health Centre, or a doctor. Ticks found on pets or farm animals should be taken to a veterinarian.