|
|
News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Raising funds for woman as she battles lyme disease

    • email print
      Comment
  •  WHITE MILLS - An area woman who has been fighting severe chronic lyme disease is continuing treatment, but funds are becoming scarce.
    Jen Rickert Brownell, 35, was being treated for lyme disease in the area, but stopped responding to treatments in 2012.
    In December 2013 she began taking part in a program at a clinic in Florida, which ended this week.
    “She's doing better but she's not out of the woods yet,” said her mother, Debbie Rickert.
    She added there's a possibility Brownell will go back to Florida at the end of the year for further treatment.
    *** Where it began
    In November of 2009, Brownell was told she had fibromyalgia, but later discovered that she was wrongly diagnosed and went without treatment for three years.
    “In 2012 we went to the Healing Zone and saw Lynn Wright,” said Rickert.
    Wright works in Naturopathic Health at the Healing Zone, which is located in Hawley.
    Rickert said that in December of 2011 you could “definitely notice” that something wasn't quite right. In January of 2012 they went to the Healing Zone.
    “Lynn could see the spirochetes, plus Jen was having the symptoms of lyme,” Rickert stated.
    The symptoms included severe headaches, short term memory loss, confusion, hallucinations and dizziness.
     *** Getting treatment
    “Her immune system was bad and Lynn was trying to treat it so she could get better,” Rickert said. “She used homopathic medicines to help Jen's immune system, which are fairly successful in doing so.”
    She added that Brownell's immune system did get better, but when Wright tried using the medicines to treat the lyme, she wasn't responding.
    “We were told to see a lyme literate doctor and that's when Jen started seeing Dr. Dan Cameron in Mount. Kisco, New York,” said Rickert.
    She said that Brownell was treated with oral antibiotics from May to Oct. 1, 2012.
    “He also started the picc line treatment through an IV and she continued taking oral antibiotics,” Rickert stated. “The oral medications were killing her stomach. The picc line bypassed the gut and penetrates the blood brain barrier, since her symptoms aren't neurological.”
    Rickert added that Brownell did respond to the IV for awhile and that she “seemed to be a little better.” She also said Brownell was having heart palpitations before having the picc line and that it “at least helped that.”
    Around June or July of 2013, she reached a plateau and seemed to be regressing.
    “We were told it takes time, but who knows if that could be months or years,” Rickert said. “I don't want her to waste years with this. She's already lost enough of her life from it.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Cameron did everything he could and it didn't work out for her.
    “Everyone is different,” Rickert said. “Every case is different.”
    Since beginning oral medication, before the picc line was put in, Rickert said that Brownell lost 20 pounds.
    “She hasn't been able to work since the picc line was put in,” she said.
    Paying for treatment has been a huge burden on her family, especially because of insurance.
    “The treatment was very expensive,” Rickert said. “When Jen went on the picc line in October 2012 we were receiving the IV rocephin from an infusion pharmacy in Philadelphia.”
    She added that Brownell's insurance cut her off after 28 days of treatment.
    “The meds were over $100 per day,” Rickert said. “Insurance companies don't want anything to do with lyme disease because it is very expensive to treat lyme.”  
    She added that they appealed the insurance company's decision twice, but “lost both times.”
    ***Finding funds
    A benefit was held in November 2013 at the White Mills Fire Department to help raise funds for the family for medication and the clinic in Florida.
    While home, Brownell will be continuing treatment.
    “She has to do an infared sauna and get weekly colonics,” said Rickert. “We are also looking into ozone therapy.”
    Brownell will also have to take supplements daily.
    Between treatments, supplements, prescriptions, blood work and having no out-of-network insurance, everything was being paid for out of pocket.
    She hasn't been able to work since October 2012. Her husband, Mike, had to become her full time caregiver in Florida and hasn't worked since December.
    Funds have been exhausted since her treatment in Florida.
    As Brownell continues her treatment, there are several fundraisers taking place to help raise funds.
    Her cousin, Courtney Kiegler, set up a fundraising page for donations. To make monetary donations visit http://www.gofundme.com/7g0llk.
    There is also an account set up at The Dime Bank in Honesdale. You can send donations to the Brownell Rickert/Brownell Benefit Fund, c/o The Dime Bank, 820 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431.

        calendar