This was the article where I first became aware that Lyme Disease was becoming a problem. I can no longer find the complete article online so I have copied what I could find of it from this link:
3rd March 2010
“I have two kids who have lost seven and five years of their lives at such a crucial stage,” said mom Susan Jasper. “If somebody had suggested to us six years ago that maybe you should look at Lyme, that might have saved Russell and Katie losing so many years of their life.”
From the Comox Valley Echo:
The politics of Lyme Disease
Former Highland students – both athletes and scholarship winners – fell ill here and since then have been struggling to have a U.S. test result recognized in Canada so they can get treated for a debilitating disease carried by ticks. Their parents want to alert others to the risk.
Marcel Tetrault, Comox Valley Echo
Published: Tuesday, March 02, 2010
A brother and sister pair who showed great promise as students and athletes while attending Highland High School have been stopped in their tracks by a nasty disease.
Katie and Russell Jasper were both able to successfully graduate, were even offered substantial university scholarships, but in the four to six years since they have pretty much been confined to their home.
“I have two kids who have lost seven and five years of their lives at such a crucial stage,” said mom Susan Jasper. “If somebody had suggested to us six years ago that maybe you should look at Lyme, that might have saved Russell and Katie losing so many years of their life.
“We’ve got this connection to the Valley and I want people there to know that it’s a possibility. If we can help even one other person not have to go through that same journey, it’s worth it.”
Both children lived in the Valley for most of their lives — they moved here in 1988, when Katie was just one year old and Russell was three. They left the Valley for Calgary, along with mom and dad, in 2005.
While here in the Valley the pair were very active kids, said Jasper, and enjoyed all sorts of sports, from hockey to soccer to weightlifting.
But in 2003, at the age of 17, Russell fell ill with what was diagnosed at the time as severe mononucleosis.
“He had all the classic mono signs — swollen spleen, exhaustion and he just didn’t get better,” said Jasper. “The doctors kept saying it takes time.
“After a year he was still pretty much bedridden.”
When the mono didn’t clear up, Russell was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome “and basically just told you have to live with it,” said Jasper.
He never improved so the family continued to consult with doctors, getting diagnoses that ranged from ‘there’s nothing wrong with him’ to ‘he needs to see a psychiatrist.’
In 2005, when Katie hit the age of 17, she also fell ill.
“She didn’t have mono or anything that was immediately diagnosed,” said Jasper. “She was just incredibly exhausted.”
The health of both of Jasper’s children has continued to decline in the five years since, to such an extent that Russell was even having trouble walking and climbing the stairs.
“His brain connection with some of his organs started to shut down,” said Jasper. “They’re both just physically shatteringly exhausted.
“These are prime athletes and they both have such cognitive fatigue — we call it brain fog — that even reading is difficult. Light and sound is like an assault on their brains so they’ve got blackout curtains in their rooms, they can’t carry on a conversation for long.
“It can be a really debilitating disease.”
In 2005, both Katie and Russell were tested for Lyme disease in a Canadian specialty lab. The results came back negative.
As Jasper continued her research and discovered there were questions about the accuracy of the Canadian testing, they sent blood samples to an American lab.
“They came back unequivocally positive,” said Jasper. “There’s a whole political issue there about why the Canadian testing isn’t as good as the American.”