Don’t let Neurological Lyme Disease end Lindsay’s life – Help bring her home to her family!
This is a story about three children living without a mother. This is a story about a husband struggling to provide for both his family and costly medical treatments for his wife. This is a story about how a fun-loving woman, who makes friends with everyone she meets, could be at risk of losing her life.
Growing up in Pointe du Bois, Manitoba, on the banks on the Winnipeg River and the heart of the Canadian Shield, Lindsay Boychuk (nee Pedruchny) developed a love for the outdoors at a very early age. Her family spent most of their free time in the bush or on the river, enjoying all that nature has to offer. We all know that Lindsay is just as comfortable wearing camo as she is in heels – and perhaps even more so!
Sixteen years ago she met her perfect match in Mark – another outdoor enthusiast. They were married in 2010 and they moved to an acreage bordering the town of Oakbank, MB. They went on to have three beautiful kids – Bradley (2010), Brooke (2013) and Laurel (2017). Over the years, Lindsay and Mark prioritized spending their family time outdoors, instilling the same love for nature in their children as they grew up learning in their childhood. Little did they know this love of nature and the outdoors would bring the family up for their worst nightmare, taking Lindsay away from her family and slowly killing her.
After the birth of her third child, Laurel, in March of 2017, Lindsay noticed her pregnancy recovery was not the same as her previous two births. She began to have muscle and skeletal issues which no amount of exercise, diet, or physiotherapy could improve. During this time, she also noticed that she was having memory issues and significant brain fog.
By November 2017, Lindsay was struck with significant anxiety, and soon after, severe depression followed. Lindsay sought medical assistance, but was assured it was related to her childbirth and was likely postpartum depression. Over the coming months Lindsay’s anxiety and depression continued to worsen. It reached a point where suicidal ideation was a serious threat to her life and family and friends provided a watchful eye over her nearly 24 hours a day.
The next 14 months of Lindsay’s treatment focused on the diagnosis of postpartum depression. She was also hospitalized for a month, made a ward of the St Boniface Psychiatric Unit. With no success from medications, the medical team decided to try electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments. Over the course of next eight months, Lindsay received over 20 shock treatments, all without success. Despite these failures in treatment, however, the doctors remained firm on their diagnosis.
During this time, Lindsay’s mental health continued to decline, forcing her family to be on constant suicide watch. Often, she was unable to live at home due to her mental instability, taking her away from her children and the life which she had built. Mark was forced to care for their three children as single parent, juggling work to support the family, while also ensuring their children’s lives were disrupted as little as possible.
With no success from the many drugs and treatments attempted, Lindsay began questioning her diagnosis. She did a lot of research, seeking out experts around the world and even making a trip to the Mayo Clinic. Over the 18 months, tests and therapies and other related costs not covered by Manitoba Health totaled nearly $250,000. Ultimately, Lindsay’s persistence to get well resulted in a phone conversation with an anesthesiologist from New York. It was this doctor who told her that he believed she may have Neurological Lyme Disease, especially due to the outdoor lifestyle she and her family led for her entire life.
Lindsay got tested for Lyme Disease outside of Manitoba and the test came back positive for not only Lyme Disease, but also for multiple co-infections including Bartonella and Babesia. She took the test results to her doctors in Manitoba but came to know that the provincial health system normally relied upon ELISA testing method for the initial screen for Lyme Disease. This test can be known for its poor sensitivity rates and false negatives when the patient has late stage Lyme or Chronic Lyme Disease.
After meeting with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) and Medical Doctor (MD), Lindsay was finally set on a treatment plan to cure her. Sadly, due to the extreme progression of the disease, her body would not accept the medication needed, instead causing extreme convulsions and seizures every time it was administered. It was at this point, it was realized that Lindsay would not be able to receive the proper treatment she needed in Manitoba.
Lindsay set to work doing more research and was able to find a clinic that would be able to help her. The Sponaugle Wellness Institute was well-known for successfully treating Chronic Lyme Disease patients. This clinic knows that symptoms of Neurological Lyme Disease are extremely severe and debilitating, leaving sufferers feeling like it has stolen their lives. After learning the extreme severity of Lindsay’s case, the clinic immediately accepted her as a patient, even despite their long waiting list. During new testing, the clinic found through PET scans and blood analysis, that in some instances Lindsay’s infections were double the highest level they had seen in a patient during their 22 years of practicing. The severity of her illness was apparent.
Since mid-June Lindsay has been away from her family, receiving life-saving treatment. But that doesn’t come without a cost. Treatment, living and travel costs, along with the US exchange rate make the cost of her treatment approximately $10,000/week CAD. It is expected that her treatment plan will last a minimum of 20 weeks at a cost of approximately $200,000. This is on top of the nearly $250,000 spent on seeking a diagnosis and treatment in the early stages.
Lindsay and her husband Mark are both self-employed. Lindsay has a medical insurance policy but the company was able to deny her coverage. They deemed her to have not returned to full-time work after her maternity leave and at the time of her illness onset, and therefore ineligible for coverage
Lindsay's medical team in Manitoba, which includes a top Lyme Disease doctor at Victoria General Hospital, her psychiatrist from St. Boniface Hospital who attempted to treat her for postpartum depression for 12 months, her Clinical Psychologist and her naturopath have all submitted letters to Manitoba Health indicating they support treatment outside of Canada and that she should be eligible to receive Out-Of-Country Support. A decision is still pending but the family has been made aware that support can be difficult to get approved and is often unlikely.
Armed with a proper diagnosis, experts in treating that diagnosis, and the persistence to be well, Lindsay is on the road to recovery. But she needs our help. The family has used all of their savings, extended credit, and relied on financial help from family. Next steps include selling the family home, further disrupting their children’s lives.
A family who cherished nature and the outdoors has now befallen to Lyme disease. Please know that anyone of us or our children who spends time outside could find ourselves in a similar situation.
Lindsay has three beautiful children. Laurel her youngest is just two-years-old and has never known a mother who was well and able to care for her.
Lindsay missed both Brooke’s first day of Kindergarten last year, and now her first day of grade one.
Bradley misses his mom every day, especially her encouraging his impressive LEGO skills and goal-scoring at hockey.
These are three children who have not had a mother able to care and nurture them in two years. It will have a lifelong impact.
They are now facing the prospect of having to move to a different home, giving up their familiar surroundings and praying for their mother’s return. At this point they have not seen her in nearly three months as she continues to receive treatment in the U.S.
So this isn’t just about saving Lindsay, it is also about her children and them growing up with a mother.
Please consider making a donation to this campaign so that three children can have their mother back and healthy. If you’re unable to help with a financial contribution there are a number of additional ways you can help.
Lindsay’s husband Mark and the extended family have been working tirelessly to keep the home life as normal as possible for young Bradley, Brooke and Laurel. Mark juggles his work schedule to drop off and pick up the kids, look after the household, and ensure they continue to participate in all the activities that active and healthy children need. As a constant caregiver and single-parent for the past two years, Mark’s days are long and stressful. Managing this along with an extremely sick wife and the financial burden to treat her makes him a Superman.
Single parenting three young children often requires having to keep Laurel out past a regular bedtime, bringing a sick child along or just one too many leftover meals as there are no supports at home when Mark’s parents aren’t able to make the trip from Dauphin to help out. With the kids back in school and participating in activities, Mark could use help with babysitting (times when a child is too sick for school or daycare), chauffeuring to activities, and household chores including preparing a ready to-go meal as the family goes from one activity to the next. Thank you for your consideration. Lindsay, her family and friends appreciate anything you can give.