(YouTube image)

Lyme Disease: A “devastating” illness for many Central Albertans

“It’s a pretty big epidemic,” says support group member

Grant Patton went from being a healthy Bentley business owner to becoming a debilitated hospital patient almost overnight.

He lost weight and muscle strength until he couldn’t stand on his own. He had involuntary flailing of his head and arms and some cognitive impairment.

Doctors at Red Deer hospital didn’t know what ailed him, recalled his wife, Lynn Patton.

During nine months of his down-hill progress, which started in 2007, no medical diagnosis was provided. It seemed apparent to Lynn that her husband was dying. She recalled he lost the ability to move his limbs.

The family’s long-time pharmacist, who had just seen a TV program on a tick-borne bacterial illness, told Lynn, “if you’ve already considered everything else, then consider Lyme Disease” — and that was the turning point.

The illness wasn’t widely known then — and many people who have been successfully treated for the disease believe it’s still flying under the radar today.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and the Pattons are helping spread knowledge of the illness. Lynn said many members of the medical establishment don’t accept that disease-carrying deer ticks are even present this area, although many Central Albertans have come down with symptoms.

“It’s a pretty big epidemic,” said Josh Barker, a board member of the 100-member Central Alberta Lyme Disease Support Group.

The kiteboarding athlete had to skip races this year due to a recurrence of a disease he thought he had beaten. “It’s a devastating problem,” said Barker, who believes the lack of acknowledgement from the medical community doesn’t help.

Part of the problem is that only ineffective blood tests are used to test for the disease in Alberta, so few people came up positive, said Grant. His own blood tested negative — although Grant said he later met the majority of markers (66 out of a possible 75) in a more thorough test for Lyme Disease that was ordered from the U.S.

Lynn found a couple of medical and holistic healers who were willing “open their minds” to the diagnosis, and the couple believe that treatments for Lyme Disease saved Grant’s life.

Grant, now 63, gradually regained his health, but recently suffered a setback after his immunity was low after surgery.

To date, the Pattons have spent $120,000 on medications not covered by health insurance because no Lyme Disease diagnosis was ever made for Grant.

Lynn hopes information available at AlbertaLyme.org will help those who are ill with the tick-borne bacteria, but can’t get a diagnosis or treatment plan. “Many people are suffering and they don’t need to be.”

The Central Alberta Lyme Society’s (CALS) support group meets at the Red Deer and District Museum on the last Thursday of the month, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (except for July and August). Information and tick removal/testing kits are available by emailing: lymereddeer@gmail.com.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer’s Craig Schmitt placed first once again at Woody’s Marathon

When Craig Schmitt runs in the annual Woody’s RV Marathon, he is… Continue reading

Life and death: Mistake sent one family to funeral home, the other to hospital

Doctors told Jody Littlewolf that her daughter was brain dead and should… Continue reading

‘Still beautiful:’ Waterton Lakes National Park prepares for life after fire

WATERTON, Alta. — Parks Canada officials and businesses in Waterton say there… Continue reading

British royal family thanks those who celebrated wedding

LONDON — The royal family, blessed with fantastic weather and a buoyant… Continue reading

Cougar kills 1 mountain biker, injures 2nd near Seattle

NORTH BEND, Wash. — Two friends on a morning mountain bike ride… Continue reading

Red Deer Silhouettes prepare for year-end show

Synchronized swimming team will perform its last show this season May 30

One dead in collision west of Sundre

A 30-year-old Cochrane resident is dead after a single vehicle collision in… Continue reading

How a 94-year-old retiree became a gym rat

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Like many gym rats, Paul Russell lifts weights… Continue reading

‘Like a warzone:’ People evacuated as fires burn through Manitoba city’s downtown

BRANDON, Man. — Leanne Marlow saw the flames engulf the building across… Continue reading

Canadians celebrate mix of pageantry, modern twists in royal wedding

As the freshly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex embark on married… Continue reading

Maduro favoured as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to win a… Continue reading

Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humour

SANTA FE, Texas — Hardworking. Funny. Loving. Grieving family and friends recalled… Continue reading

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A veteran Sherpa guide who scaled Mount Everest for… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of the year

Hundreds came out to the first farmers market of 2018 Saturday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month