Every year, more Montanans are contracting Lyme disease and more patients with Lyme disease are moving to Montana. This is a beautiful place to live, but a horrible place to be as a Lyme patient.
Obstacles to diagnosis and effective treatment are as widespread as the disease. But in states like Montana, the problem is compounded by the idea that ‘we don’t have Lyme disease here’.
Studies since the 1980’s have highlighted how bleak the probability of diagnosis is for people living in areas not considered endemic. This was even shown for Montana directly in one such study.
The problem is significant whether you contract Lyme in Montana or elsewhere.
You are unlikely to be diagnosed in the acute phase of the disease. But more importantly, you are unlikely to be diagnosed within the first few years of infection, or at all unless you can travel out of state.
Once diagnosed, you will not have access to options for care, and the limited options in state will most likely leave you driving for hours and paying out of pocket.
We can get better, and many of us do, but our geography nearly guarantees a multi-year recovery for a disease that could be treated relatively quickly if caught early. The current state of Lyme care cannot stand.
Patients nation-wide began calling Congress yesterday (you can read more in yesterday’s post).
Unrecognized states, like Montana, need to make sure their patients got the message and called. We need to work even harder to get family and friends we may have reached out to to follow through with their calls, too (even if it doesn’t happen by the end of the day).
We need to take time today, as well, to make sure others in our states get the word.
In any ways you can today (right now and throughout the day, find posts to share on the Patients Call on Congress event page on Facebook, or pages (facebook, instagram, and twitter) for Lymestats, Invisibly Lyme Montana, and Lymeyarns).