Monday, May 4, 2009

May : Lyme Disease Awareness Month

It's that time of year again for Lyme Disease Awareness. For those of us affected by Lyme Disease EVERY month is LD Awareness Month but we take this month to push, promote, teach, beg and plead for changes in the medical community concerning Lyme. At this time last year I had the privilege of receiving a proclamation from our small town Mayor officially declaring May as Lyme Disease Awareness month in Ottawa, Ks. There are many sick people in Ottawa who are being refused treatment based on the inadequate IDSA guidelines. Those people will continue to deteriorate until the medical community chooses to open their minds to this devastating disease. Unfortunately, no one seems to care about Lyme Disease unless they are directly affected by it. If you haven't told someone about how LD has changed your life, this is the perfect month to SOUND THE ALARM!
"Thank You Mayor Ramsey. On behalf of the Lyme Disease Association of Franklin County and the Lyme Wellness Center of Kansas we want to thank you for this proclamation declaring May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia Burgdorferi. It is a systemic infection that can affect almost any part of the body. According to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society "Lyme disease is the latest great imitator and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of MS, ALS, seizure and other neurologic conditions, as well as arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrom, Gulf war syndrome, ADHD, fibromyalgia and other various difficult-to-diagnose multi-system syndromes." Not only can Lyme disease be incorrectly diagnosed as other conditions, it can also occur concurrently with other conditions or be diagnosed incorrectly.

With the declaration that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month it opens the door for education and prevention here in Ottawa. For those of us in the Lyme Disease Community we are painfully aware of the physical, neurological, emotional, spiritual and financial complications that are caused by this complex bacterial infection. My husband Scott was diagnosed with late stage Lyme Disease in March of 2006. With two years of research and treatment under our belts, we have become Lyme Advocates. We meet people every day who are being told by Kansas doctors that Lyme Disease does not exist in the Midwest, let alone KS. They are being turned away and refused medical treatment based on inadequate and outdated information.

With the recent announcement of a settlement in a landmark antitrust investigation into the Lyme treatment guidelines of the Infectious Diseases Society of America we know the tide is turning. Because the IDSA guidelines have been treated as mandatory within the medical community, many patients have suffered and been refused medical care. This opportunity to include previously suppressed scientific viewpoints and evidence will change how we are diagnosed and treated for Chronic Lyme Disease. The agreement by the IDSA to reassess, update and revise the guidelines will undoubtedly make an impact in Ottawa, KS. It is our hope that this proclamation will be the first step in educating our medical community and will bring about a greater awareness of this hidden epidemic in Ottawa residents.

If you have questions about the symptoms and treatment of Lyme Disease there are several local groups who are willing to listen and help. The Lyme Disease Association of Franklin County meets at the Paper Haven on the 4th Monday of each month from 7-8pm. The Lyme Association of Greater Kansas City meets the 4th Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm at St. Jo Hospital and they provide a hotline at 913-438-LYME.

As a founding member of the Lyme Disease Association of Franklin County, as a lyme advocate and the wife of a chronically ill Lyme patient I want to say Thank you to the City of Ottawa and to Mayor Gene Ramsey for making MAY Lyme Disease Awareness Month and for giving us an opportunity to help others in our community!"

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