Eight years to find diagnosis - doctors get there too late

Lyme disease sufferer Leah Tedman and her husband Lincoln Tedman at the New Auckland nursing home, Gladstone.
Lyme disease sufferer Leah Tedman and her husband Lincoln Tedman at the New Auckland nursing home, Gladstone. Luka Kauzlaric

LYME disease has cost Leah Tedman her career, her quality of life and her chance of having children with husband Lincoln.

The courageous Gladstone couple have fought for eight years with numerous doctors to receive an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate course of treatment.

After living in a state of unendurable pain for the better half of a decade, the disease has ravaged her body and dismantled her life.

Mrs Tedman says the hardest part of living with lyme disease is the ignorance of health professionals and the Australian Government.

"People are dying and getting turned away from hospitals," she said. "The government needs to take its head out of the sand."

A representative from The Federal Australian Medical Association affirms a lack of knowledge on lyme disease.

"According to the health departments it does not exist in Australia."

In 2005 Mrs Tedman was newly married, living an active life and practising as a child protection lawyer, with dreams of starting a family.

Life as she knew it was interrupted when she came down with a splitting headache, a pain so severe it caused her to fall unconscious as she was leaving the gym.

"I was sleeping 20 hours a day and couldn't even walk from the bedroom to the kitchen," she said.

"I was rushed to hospital with a suspected brain tumour."

After consultations with seven neurologists and two cardiologists, the long and frustrating journey of misdiagnosis began.

"When they had run out of tests, some of them said I was most likely stressed," she said.

"We kept searching for answers but we were then told we were just seeking attention. I got a clear report from a psychiatrist thinking it would make the doctors listen, but I was then told I'd used my intelligence to manipulate the psychiatrist."

Symptoms of lyme disease include seizures, fainting, breathing difficulties, severe chest pains and blurred vision.

The disease is named the "Great Imitator" because the form it takes transpires differently in each new host.

The disease's bacteria, named borrelia, is shaped like a corkscrew and literally drills into every organ of the body, developing cysts.

We kept searching for answers but we were then told we were just seeking attention. I got a clear report from a psychiatrist thinking it would make the doctors listen, but I was then told I'd used my intelligence to manipulate the psychiatrist.

In Leah's case, it has damaged 11 out of 12 cranial nerves. If detected in its early stages, lyme disease is highly treatable with courses of antibiotics.

Late-stage lyme is near impossible to eradicate and remission is the only goal.

A representative from the Queensland Health Department said in a statement that to date there was no authoritative evidence of Lyme disease infections occurring in Australia.

"Australians travelling overseas in endemic regions can be infected with Lyme disease."

Mrs Tedman has never travelled outside of Australia, but has tested positive to the disease, twice.

Sufferers can contract the disease in a number of ways, most commonly through the bite of a tick.

Mrs Tedman does not recall being bitten by a tick.

Watching his wife suffer through the illness has been a difficult journey for Lincoln Tedman.

"It's taken the life we thought we would have away from us," he said.

Despite the hardship, Lincoln and Leah Tedman are thankful for the support of the staff at New Auckland Place and the wider community.

"The past eight years has been such a lonely journey for my husband and I," Leah said.

"To have such enormous support is beyond our wildest dreams. We are so grateful."

To donate funds towards research and for more information on Lyme Disease, visit

Topics:  editors picks lyme disease medicine

How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

'Cut in half': Disappointment as Gladstone loses crucial town

CHANGES: What the Gladstone electorate could look like under the proposed changes.

MAJOR town that's just up the road to be cut out of our electorate.

New boss leaves horror years, embattled project

Glen Lewis will start work as managing director for Realm Resources on March 6.

NEW BOSS of major mine looks forward to putting horror years in past

Excitement builds for big, new Tannum village plan

TOUGH SLOG: Gladstone's much-loved seniors are being forced to re-locate, away from Gladstone.

PLAN to plonk new village on vacant block of land gains traction.

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

Gladstone's 20 cheapest properties on the market, all under $150K

DIRT CHEAP: 5/239 Sun Valley Rd, Kin Kora is selling for $140,000

PROPERTY sellers drop prices as houses and units sell for bargains.

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!