Patient seeks change after Lyme disease test

After a series of misdiagnoses, blood tested in California confirmed her illness was due to a tick

The circuitous route to a Lyme disease diagnosis has led one Saskatchewan woman to advocate change to what she calls flawed testing.

Danah Hysuick of Indian Head went from feeling unwell in December 2012 to being unable to work because of seizures, weakness, pain and twitches in her limbs to finally receiving a diagnosis through a U.S. test kit in May 2014.

“The cost to the taxpayer for this misdiagnosis is over $100,000,” she said, citing medical investigations that included MRI and bone scans, neurology and rheumatology consultations, spinal taps, a hospital stay and prescriptions.

The diagnoses during this process ranged from fibromyalgia to multiple sclerosis. That included testing negative three times for Lyme disease.

“Everything came back negative, and I was getting sicker and sicker,” said Hysuick, who eventually became bedridden and was unable to walk more than 20 steps at a time.

She sent for a test kit from the IGeneX lab in California at her own expense, had the blood work done in Saskatchewan and shipped the test back, where it was confirmed as Lyme and a treatment of antibiotics advised.

“The doctor (in Saskatchewan) refused to sign off on a treatment because the results came from somewhere else,” Hysuick said.

“I was devastated.”

Hysuick then travelled to Alberta to a naturopath who could prescribe drugs.

“Within two weeks, it was unbelievable how fast I came back,” she said, noting she soon walked without a cane.

Patrick O’Byrne, executive director of the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory, said the province is using up-to-date testing methods.

“In Saskatchewan, we’re using the best proven technology we have right now,” he said.

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