A tick bite in the summer of 2009 changed life permanently for Lance Tycholaz.
At the time, Tycholaz was working for the B.C. Ministry of Tourism when he had a tick bite on his back, between his shoulder blades. He was alone at the time and needed to use two mirrors to locate and remove the tick.
After the bite, he kept the tick in a jar and monitored himself for symptoms of Lyme disease.
Normally, Lyme disease can be eliminated with an antibiotic treatment shortly after the bite occurs. The treatment has a high rate of recovery if it begins quickly.
However, soon after he was bitten, Tycholaz was severely injured in a head-on collision. The injury and the resulting recovery meant the tick bite and its aftereffects were not treated for the next three years.
“It’s a bad situation if you don’t get the treatment immediately,” he said.
Doctors have worked to treat him, including putting him on an antibiotic treatment, but he continues to deal with Lyme disease today.
Today, he continues to have symptoms of a rare form of Lyme disease. The condition, filamentous borrelial dermatitis, is also known as Morgellons disease. His symptoms, which include skin lesions, affect fewer than six per cent of those with Lyme disease.
There have been some challenges having his condition recognized as a medical condition, he added. Later this summer, he will be in Atlanta, Georgia, at a gathering of other people who also have the same condition.
Tycholaz has met with medical professionals and his condition has been studied around the world. He said there are 16 scientific, peer-reviewed studies of this condition around the world.
In late May, he wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office and provide a report of more than 160 pages, detailing his condition. This document has since been sent to the Federal Ministry of Health.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been cautious because of the potential effects of getting the virus while also dealing with Lyme disease.
“My immune system continues to be compromised,” he said. He is cautious about being in public and being exposed to diseases and viruses today.
Today, he is advocating for those affected by this condition. Some of those with his condition have been able to take treatments and have few symptoms, but others have seen their conditions becoming more severe over time.
Lyme disease is most commonly spread by the black-legged tick or deer tick. Initial symptoms of the disease resemble flu symptoms, but if left untreated, the conditions will worsen.
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