And, as difficult as it is to ask for help, pride no longer gets in the way when your child falls very ill. When you are unable to do this alone, you must turn to others for support; hoping your community will help one of it's own.
Brandan, prior to illness onset, 2014
Our son, Brandan, now just turned 17, suddenly fell very ill over 4 years ago. In the blink of an eye, he was suddenly unable to get out of bed presenting with flu-like symptoms. This turned into months of chronic headaches, unrelenting abdominal agony, debilitating muscle and bone pain. His extreme insomnia worsened, and his heart and blood pressure became a serious issue. Brandan could no longer attend school, enjoy time with friends and had to quit his beloved AAA hockey team. He is not only suffering physically, but emotionally as well. All the normalcies in his life were instantly taken away leaving a very vulnerable boy and family in heartbreak.
So, our family's nightmare began along with Brandan's exhausting journey of fighting Lyme Disease/Bartonella.
We innocently believed a quick trip to the family doctor’s office would send Brandan home with a prescription and all would be well. Wow, were we so wrong. No matter where we turned, there were road blocks at every corner. Waits to see specialists and still no doctor was able to understand the illness or provide a diagnosis, so Brandan continued to suffer. It wasn’t until we worked with a Naturopath in BC that led us to a MD in Maryland who specialized in tick-borne illnesses that Brandan's infection was properly addressed. Our son was finally put on antibiotics and supplements to prevent his infection from spreading.
He was taking up to 50 pills a day just to re-gain a stable status.
For the past four years our family has done everything possible we could for Brandan. He has visited numerous doctors, been on endless medications, supplements and put on very restricted diets. Doctors in Canada had no knowledge on the illness and were unable to offer any support to help to ease his suffering. However, under the MD’s care in the states, Brandan made some gains and the future looked brighter. We cautiously celebrated that his quality of life was gradually improving, and he was even able to get back on the ice for short periods of time. Those quiet celebrations now seem pre-mature as his health again quickly plummeted when the antibiotics had done all they could do. In August, our trip to Washington to see his doctor, Brandan was taken off the antibiotics and the focus became on strengthening his immune system and restoring his gut health, however throughout this struggle, this co-infection, Bartonella, that Brandan tested positive in Ontario, for was making recovery harder and even more complicated.
Bartonella striations on Brandan's back
Brandan was isolated, yet again, to his bed. His muscle mass quickly deteriorated and began to lose a significant amount of weight. Our once power-house son disappeared before our eyes into a weak and
frail teenager. As a family, we never imagined how devastating this illness could be on a young person's life. Our son will not have any high school memories. Brandan shared with us that he forgets how it feels to not be in pain and we are desperate to help our child.
A few months ago, a Canadian family with Lyme disease, traveled out of country for stem cell therapy. I’ll be the first to admit, we were very skeptical. Through the years we had heard many magical cures for this illness. Cautiously, we followed their journey, which was a multi-month commitment, but this family returned healthy. So we spent countless hours researching and increasing our understanding of stem cell therapy and we began to wonder if this was something for our child. Many Canadian families were returning with children whose immune systems were functioning better and were rapidly healing from this debilitating illness.
The London Free Press recently published an article about Brandan's story:
after which we received a phone call from a stranger, another mother whose family was also deeply impacted by Lyme disease. “Sounds exactly like my son,” this woman told me. “He’s home from stem cell therapy and doing well, great even and back to his normal life.” I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe, we finally have an answer!
We long for our son to be full of life again and enjoying what this world has to offer. We need your help to achieve this. Our hands are tied. We are not much further along in this process than we were more than 4 years ago despite the dozens of appointments, specialists, testing and travel. We now must go out of country as all avenues, not yet exhausted, are pointing towards stem cell therapy. The Canadian healthcare system has been unable to provide answers for Brandan, and definitely not where it needs to be for patients like my son. Canada does not do stem cell therapy for Lyme patients, only limited to sports related injuries and some cancer patients, whereas other countries have specialized clinics that treat Lyme patients and those patients are healing and getting their lives back. One choice is India. It requires a 2-month stay, flights and transportation, accommodations, meals, and medical bills add up quickly to more than 100k.
Info on stem cell therapy at http://www.stembrella.org
Every single day our son struggles to cope with his constant debilitating disease. As a parent, I’d do anything to have my son back hanging with his friends, going to school, playing hockey and return to the life he once knew. It is a living nightmare seeing such a hopeful kid lose so much and there is nothing I can do besides ask for help. Lyme disease can happen to anyone; we never imagined, in our worst
nightmare, it would happen to our family. We have faith Brandan will get the help he needs, but we also ask for your support.
We welcome any donations to help Brandan's fight to get his life back.
We need to help him get him out of his bed, out of the house and out into the world! Please share our story and spread the word of Lyme Disease.
Thank you for your kindness and compassion.
Dan, Lisa and Brandan
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