Is it MS, Lupus or immune system dysfunction? Doctors were left puzzled by Audrey Skoog’s rapidly deteriorating health. This led to specialist after specialist as well as referrals out of country and out of province. When diagnosis came, she found herself with late stage Lyme disease otherwise known as disseminated Lyme disease; this stage occurs months or even years after a tick bite, when the infection is not appropriately treated in the first or second stages.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system as well as cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Each year, approximately 30,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. However, this number is just the tip of the iceberg and the CDC is currently conducting research on evaluation and diagnostics of the disease and preliminary results suggest more than 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with the tick-borne disease each year. Lyme disease in Canada is on the rise with several thousand people affected each year and those numbers will only increase as infected ticks continue to migrate north.

Speaker: Audrey Skoog

In 1997 at age 17, Audrey became an unlikely advocate for social issues after having experienced youth homelessness. As a vocal consumer in the system, she was asked to speak in Ottawa on child poverty. Since then her experiences have led her to an education in psychology which led to even further adventures overseas and back here at home.

Audrey has started and worked in several grassroots initiatives benefiting vulnerable populations. She has been a public speaker on topics such as housing and homelessness, addiction, and now shares her Lyme disease perspective as a consumer in the health care system. She hopes to put a human face on awareness, patient advocacy, and to share that you can still live well even when you don’t feel well.

Moderator: Larry Elford

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019 Time: Doors open 11:30 am, presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 pm, Q&A 1 – 1:30 pm Location: Royal Canadian Legion (north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Lethbridge Cost: $14 buffet lunch with dessert/coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required

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