Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring cleaning

Another spring season is upon us. Yes, that time of year when Lyme patients in the northern hemisphere renew the desire to shake off the shackles of our hibernatory albeit involuntary habituation.

Last year really was extraordinary in terms of media attention to issues of Lyme disease. Let's keep that momentum building! We need to continue to press our media and government, both locally and nationally, lest they forget how this devastating disease is impacting not only each one of us, but also countless other Canadians who become infected each year and are abandoned with inadequate access to testing and treatment. And as additional States go in the direction of legislative protection for Lyme-literate doctors, ensuring patient access to treatment options, we push on towards the day when the first of our provinces will take such a bold step. Will it be yours?

And what else may lie in store for us this year? No one knows for sure. But there are already some exciting entries in the calendar.

While snowbirds shivered in the south during recent months, many areas of Canada enjoyed a mild winter. But just as several States reported a significant increase in tick populations last year, there are indications we may experience a tick explosion of our own in 2010, as noted in this recent article in Manitoba's Winnipeg Free Press.

During the March Total Health Show in Toronto, raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt (Glencolton Farms) and constitutional lawyer Shawn Buckley (National Health Products Protection Association) reminded us that if we value our freedoms, we must make our voices heard. This is no less true for the Lyme community. April's Vitality Magazine includes a related article on the theme "Saying NO to Corporate Healthcare Fraud".

Just last week, an article in the Calgary Herald highlighted the problem of Lyme patients being misdiagnosed with MS and other chronic conditions. The article focused on the recent thesis of Winnipeg researcher Kathleen Crang.

Also last week, Bryan Allen's AM940 talk show focused on Lyme disease issues in Canada (you can download the 35 MB mp3 file here). The 2-hour program included interviews with Jim Wilson (CanLyme President), the renowned Dr. Ernie Murakami (Dr. E. Murakami Centre for Lyme Research, Education & Assistance), Rossana Magnotta (Magnotta Winery President who lost her husband to Lyme-related complications in December), and Lyme patients from across Canada. You can send a note of thanks to Bryan by email.

Looking forward... well first backwards. Remember last year's review of the IDSA Lyme guidelines? Yes that review -- the one that came out of the Connecticut Attorney General's investigation finding several conflicts of interest in the original guidelines preparation. Feedback on the review process was originally expected by the end of 2009. Then it was early 2010. The delay may be related in part to recent allegations by the Attorney General's office that the IDSA has failed to abide by the agreed voting procedure in assessing individual recommendations of the original guidelines. Amidst little fanfare, the IDSA website's Guidelines Review section recently issued a more definitive statement: its final report will be issued by the end of April. While unspecified, we take this to mean 2010... Please stay tuned.

Canada's foremost consumer advocate, Dale Goldhawk, will devote his Wednesday radio program to Canada's Lyme disease crisis. Remember to tune in to Goldhawk Fights Back on AM740 or listen online this Wednesday, April 21st, from 11:00am to 1:00pm.
***update*** You can download the 18 MB mp3 file from the radio broadcast here. Please drop a brief thank-you message to Dale Goldhawk and encourage him to cover this subject matter further.

And May, in many jurisdictions of the world, is recognized as Lyme disease awareness month. While Canada has shamefully failed to offer official recognition to this important issue to date, let's not let that stop us. Keep an eye out for local events in your community!

As examples of new life are springing all around us, here is a wish that each of us will be reinvigorated to push on. Let's continue our "tireless" (OK, this is obviously a very relative word for the Lyme community) pursuit of truth and justice, against the tyrannical status quo of the medical establishment and our government representatives.

"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, that is all that ever has." Anthropologist Margaret Mead

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