Medical attitude crosses the Lyme

Bob Cooper has Lyme disease and wants to raise awareness.|Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d419775
Bob Cooper has Lyme disease and wants to raise awareness.|Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d419775

It is this contradiction and other inconsistencies that make Lyme disease so controversial.

Lyme is a potentially fatal illness contracted through tick bites that, if left untreated, causes a variety of crippling side effects such as lack of energy, muscle soreness, joint pain and in Mr Cooper’s case, short-term memory loss.

These symptoms are often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, parkinson’s, motor neurone and alzheimer’s disease.

The Currambine resident has visited his GP more than 65 times since he started experiencing the symptoms in 2008 and has been admitted to emergency four times.

‘The most frustrating thing is when I get a letter telling me it’s all in my head,’ he said.

‘Just for doctors to think outside the box, ‘Yes you could possibly have Lyme disease, let’s do some testing’ instead of saying no, it doesn’t exist.’

Mr Cooper and WA Lyme Awareness Association spokeswoman Rebecca Vary have asked for one thing: recognition.

Ms Vary said more than 450 West Australians have been diagnosed with Lyme.

She said the numbers were limited only by the doctors trained to diagnose and treat the condition.

Lyme patients protested at the Perth Cultural Centre on Saturday to raise awareness of the need for better testing and treatment options.