Sufferer Gets Wish

ABC News 13 and Noreen Turyn have produced a number of excellent Lyme-related stories and have contributed greatly to educating the public about Lyme and tick borne diseases.

Lyme Disease Sufferer Gets Wish

02/19/10 12:40 pm | reporter: Noreen Turyn producer: Amy Foster

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Amherst Co., VA - A local teenager is getting his wish granted through the Make a Wish Foundation. His wish is a trip to Disney World. You've heard of Make a Wish— they make dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses.

What's unusual about this boy's case is that his life threatening illness is Lyme Disease. On top of that, he and his mother are in the same boat.

"I don't go outside as much. I maybe go outside for one day once a week or something, but I can only do so much at a time," Terrell Foster said. At 17, Terrell Foster would love to be playing basketball like he used to. Now he can barely find the energy and focus to play video games.

His mother, Joni, struggles through the day to homeschool her children. "Low grade fever, night sweats, confusion, insomnia, joint pain, did I say fatigue?" Joni Foster said.

For Joni, it started four years ago, when she had a sudden onset of allergies, to just about everything. She went to a number of doctors, until a friend suggested she see one in South Carolina. He just also happened to be what one Lyme advocacy group calls a "Lyme Literate Medical Doctor."

"And he thought there was something behind the allergies for them to all of the sudden start as bad as they were, so he did the test for Lyme Disease and sent it to Igenex, and it came back positive," Joni said.

On top of that she had Terrell with her. "And when we explained he had symptoms he thought it would be a good idea to get him tested as well and he came back positive at the same time," she said.

Both remember tick bites, but neither had gotten the rash. What makes their case life-threatening is their allergies have progressed so much they can't take the antibiotics needed.

“I take my pills like vitamins and stuff, all different vitamins and stuff and that seemed to help, like get it stable," Terrell said.

They've tried an herbal protocol, but it's costly and insurance won't cover it. They just mustered up $1,500 dollars to rent a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for a month and that seemed to help some. "I've got more energy, got my old self back, been able to focus on my hand eye coordination.” Terrell said.

But it isn't a cure. Terrell understands that getting his wish means he's not doing very well. "Yeah when mom did this and it got approved I thought it must be pretty bad." And yet he won't let it get to him.

"I think my Lyme Disease has a point to get better, not as bad as my mom has, but I think I may have a chance of getting better. Maybe not a complete cure, but stable," he said.

Joni contacted Make A Wish and they talked with the doctor to make sure his illness is life threatening. The whole family gets to go next month. It's for a special Star Wars Weekend, which Terrell loves.

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