Under Our Skin is a must watch documentary about chronic lyme disease. It took me 6 sittings to finish it as I cried my eyes and heart out. These people’s stories are my story, their pain is my pain, their revolt is my revolt. You will find the movie it its entirety below.
Please note, that this documentary is about the United States. In Canada, the situation is even more fucked up. First of all, there is denial by medical authorities of the existence in certain regions and prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi (and associated co-infections) carrying ticks. Canada’s public health agency denies the existence of chronic Lyme disease and medical associations have cracked down on doctors who prescribe the necessary long term multiple antibiotic treatment. Doctors usually don’t know how to recognize it or how to test for it, preferring to make the assumption that the patient needs psychiatric help, or diagnosing him with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, etc. Doctors refuse to treat patients who know they have Lyme disease, who pay their taxes (if able to work) and yet have to pay out of pocket to get treated in the States. And if that wasn’t enough, well the two-tiered testing method used in Canada is grossly inaccurate, it is known to miss many lyme cases as it does not detect the infection immediately after the bite and also completely misses chronic lyme disease. This is a very short summary and only scratches the surface. Lyme disease is an extremely complex and multifaceted issue.
Oh, did I mention that all this was some seriously fucked up shit, tabarnac?! Pardon my French.
Synopsis: In the 1970s, a mysterious and deadly illness began infecting children in a small town in Connecticut. Today it’s a global epidemic. A real-life thriller, this shocking festival hit exposes the controversy surrounding chronic Lyme disease. Following the stories of individuals fighting for their lives, director Andy Abrahams Wilson reveals with beauty and horror a natural world out of balance and a human nature all too willing to put profits before patients. The film follows six individuals including major league ball player Ben Petrick who report chronic symptoms, which they attribute to persistent Lyme infection. The majority of the film is devoted to the storyline of these patients and their reported recovery. The film also focuses on state medical board investigations of Joseph Jemsek and Ray Jones, two physicians who prescribe long-term antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease.
Under Our Skin 2: Emergence is a sequel set to come out this summer and is said to “take the viewer on a journey from horror to hope”. I’m looking forward to it. As I mentioned before, hope is an incredibly important element in this type of healing journey, as without it you are as good as dead.