A young woman has been forced to spend as much as $1,000 per week treating her rare and disabling illness because doctors refuse to recognise the condition.
Madison Rapa, a 26-year-old businesswoman from Melbourne, returned from a holiday across the United States two years ago and suddenly fell terribly unwell.
She began experiencing heart and lung issues, suffered memory loss, had extreme fatigue and uncontrollable migraines and nausea.
Ms Rapa contracted Lyme Disease, a condition so rare it is not covered by Medicare and barely even acknowledged within Australia because there is ‘little evidence’ of it being contracted in the country, News.com.au reported.
Madison Rapa (pictured right), a 26-year-old businesswoman from Melbourne, returned from a holiday across the United States two years ago and suddenly fell terribly unwell
Ms Rapa contracted Lyme Disease, a condition so rare it is not covered by Medicare and barely even acknowledged within Australia
After visiting 47 different doctors, being misdiagnosed countless times and spending over $100,000 on treatment, Ms Rapa has been forced into extreme measures.
She was initially told her symptoms were due to ‘ageing’, but after being left ‘rolling around in agony’ after eating something as simple as an almond, the 26-year-old sought help overseas.
A friend set up a crowd-funding page for her to travel to Malaysia where she would receive medical attention not offered in Australia.
Ms Rapa now has a doctor in Sydney that has helped her work through the worst symptoms and take control of the condition, but it has taken more than two-and-a-half years and huge amounts of money to reach this place.
‘I have to travel interstate to see the doctor and none of it is covered by Medicare,’ she told News.
I’ve been misdiagnosed so many times I’ve spent thousands on treatment for things I didn’t have.’
Ms Rapa (pictured left with a friend) now has a doctor in Sydney that has helped her work through the worst symptoms and take control of the condition
Lyme Disease can be contracted by ticks with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, found in America and Europe
The NSW government states the condition is contracted in temperate forests in Europe and America, and that although some bites from east coast ticks can give similar symptoms to Lyme Disease, they blame ‘poor characterisation’ for the relation.
‘While there is no evidence that Lyme disease is caused by Australian ticks, there may be other infections carried by Australian ticks which may cause an infection which is similar to Lyme disease. These infections remain poorly characterised,’ the government fact sheet reads.
‘Lyme disease is not a notifiable condition in NSW.’
Ms Rapa said she wants the government to recognise the condition and to encourage education for medical staff on how to identify it.
‘If they don’t want to put money into treatment to help people in my position, then at least don’t punish the few people who are,’ she said.