My name is Marguerite Glazer, I’m from Montreal and I am a Lyme survivor. My health nightmare began 15 years ago, when I was 19 years old. Suddenly, I started feeling sick every single day.
I remember at first naïvely thinking: I’ll go to the doctor and the doctor will help get me well. But in the span of 12 years I saw over 30 doctors, generalists and specialists of all sorts, who all very quickly dismissed me with completely bogus diagnoses. Slowly but surely my symptoms worsened, they multiplied, affecting my entire body, making me increasingly incapacitated: unable to work, get out of the house much, take care of my basic needs. Extremely ill and repeatedly told there was nothing actually wrong with me, I considered suicide on numerous occasions. It felt like I was dying on the inside, and I had nowhere to turn.
After years of pain, exhaustion and relentless research, I finally did proper testing 2 years ago and was diagnosed with Lyme disease. For the record, I tested unequivocally CDC positive. With a mix of long-term antibiotics and other complementary methods, I gained my life back within a year and felt better than in my entire adult life.
After being diagnosed with Lyme disease I became involved in the Lyme community in Quebec, only to realize the extent of this devastating systemic issue. Je représente aujourd’hui tous les Québecois au prise avec cette maladie qui les empêche de vivre et pour laquelle ils n’ont aucune aide dans la province: déni de l’ampleur du problème, pas de soutien médical, pas d’aide financière ou gouvernementale, et une santé qui dégringole… c’est l’abandon total. On parle de centaines ou même de milliers de vies affectées et le nombre de cas d’infections augmente à un rythme faramineux. La situation est abbérante, ne fait qu’empirer, le problème est endémique et les patients ont depuis longtemps compris que ce n’est pas chez leurs médecins qu’ils vont trouver de l’aide.
Lyme disease sufferers desperately want to get to the root cause of their issues. Sadly, we are faced with MDs who show great contempt towards chronically ill patients, showing savage disregard for our suffering. We are told to stop looking into potential solutions and just accept that our problems are not real, that they are psychosomatic, of unknown origin, they label us with numerous misdiagnoses and of course push for us to take inappropriate medication. Patients are ridiculed and insulted. They are called attention-seeking hypochondriacs. They are told they have OCD because they focus so much on their health and symptoms. They are told that depression causes their seizures, that their anxiety causes their vision problems and that overall, they are just lazy people who don’t want to deal with life.
It is staggering how often we hear this nonsense being told to patients. On what evidence are these doctors basing their diagnoses? In a world of evidence-based medicine, it appears that doctors, and specifically infectious disease doctors, are often relying on their own magical thinking when it comes to Lyme patients. They freely throw around terms like placebo and psychosomatic, unwilling or maybe simply unable to do their actual job properly.
We are taken for fools, seen as gullible people drawn to a quacky diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease that we stumbled upon on the Internet. I have spoken to hundreds of Lyme patients and let me be clear: nobody, absolutely nobody wants to be part of this club. We fight strong and stick together because we have to, for survival. When the medical system is against you then much of society follows, and the isolation of the Lyme predicament is truly a gut wrenching and horribly difficult human experience. We fight because we don’t want anyone else to go through what we’ve been through. We fight so that people know about Lyme disease and other root causes of illness, and so they know how widespread it is. We fight so that others know that it can get better, that with the right help they can recover, that there is hope in hell.
Medical arrogance, a profound disconnect from the reality of chronic illness and over-reliance on outdated and flawed science and testing… those are the real diseases du jour.
Most doctors would rather believe that thousands are having the same mental and physical delusions than to question the mantras they have been taught to repeat. The rare compassionate doctors who are up to date with their scientific knowledge and who truly care about helping their patients heal are prosecuted by the medical police. It seems that we’ve gotten seriously off track when it comes to our idea of health care.
Let’s not forget that the primary goal of medicine is to make people well. We should all be concerned first and foremost by the reality of the Canadian Lyme disease patients. The present medical system in Canada is relying on outdated and flawed information, masqueraded as science, causing thousands undue suffering. We need to do better because the current standards are failing us miserably. And we need to do it now.
Lyme patients and their expert doctors have so much to teach: it’s up to everyone to listen. Being sick is not a crime, I hope this conference helps put a stop to the war that is being waged on Lyme disease patients.