Stephanie Lavoie, a 30-year-old from Drummondville, Quebec, originally from Dolbeau-Mistassini, has been in an eight-year battle against Lyme disease since the age of 22.
Unable to work for the past two years due to her deteriorating health, Stephanie has made the heart-wrenching decision to apply for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) to end her prolonged suffering. Despite exhaustive efforts and seeking alternative treatments in Mexico, Stephanie's quality of life has rapidly declined.
Stephanie's struggle began with the challenge of obtaining a timely diagnosis for Lyme disease, resulting in severe pain, numbness, and an overall deterioration of her health. Reflecting on the difficulties she faced, she states, "I started experiencing Lyme disease eight years ago. At that time, we didn't know what it was. I began having symptoms that were challenging to connect."
The journey for Lyme disease patients in Quebec is marked by hurdles in accessing appropriate treatments. Stephanie highlights the lack of recognition within the healthcare system, stating, "It's very frustrating, and it brings suffering from being questioned and judged as well, a lot of judgment because the disease is still, for some, almost a myth nowadays."
Stephanie's decision to pursue Medical Assistance in Dying is grounded in the stark reality of her daily life. "I don't envision a life like this, always lying in the dark. I have no quality of life, I can't really go outside. It's an exorbitant cost to be able to continue maintaining this lifestyle,” she said. Stephanie Lavoie has a fundraiser to help cover her medical costs, you can donate here.
Her story underscores the urgent need for improved support systems for Lyme disease patients and more awareness about their challenges.