Many of you know or have heard us talk about Rob Supan over the years. He has been involved in our ministry for years. Countless number of graphic design pieces for the ministries, web sites and has served on our board of directors as well. Rob is one of the greatest people that I know and his family of 9 are so special to us.
Rob’s wife Tricia and two of their seven children (Jordan, 16 & Louie, 10) have been suffering for years with mysterious symptoms which have only recently been diagnosed as Lyme Disease, a very complex disease.
Their struggle is not only with the disease itself, but also with the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, etc. This debilitating disease is not covered by health care insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
After seeing countless doctors and multiple trips to emergency rooms, little progress has been seen. Tricia had been told it was possibly Lupus, MS, a heart issue, a thyroid problem, celiac disease, hashimoto’s disease, fibromyalgia, as well as something in her head for which she needed psychiatric help! Finally, they were steered in the direction of a correct diagnosis by a midwife who watched a close friend whose struggle paralleled Tricia’s in very similar ways. They received confirmation of the diagnosis of Lyme disease and began treatment with a specialist in Hermitage, PA, then switched to a doctor in Pittsburgh who had helped a friend make a remarkable recovery from the disease. After 10 months, Jordan has seen improvement, but Tricia has continued to decline.
It has been extremely stressful for Rob, caring for her and the seven children physically and financially, while trying to hold down his job. Rob told me how helpless he feels as he sees his wife getting worse daily. He felt like it was time to seek another doctor and a more aggressive treatment, but where and with whom is always a difficult decision.
Rob watched a Netflix documentary on Lyme disease entitled “Under Our Skin” which portrays what others suffering with this disease have gone through. He told me it mirrors exactly what their family has experienced. So, he began reaching out to the filmmakers and doctors mentioned in the piece for help and direction.
The movie centers on a few patients and their journey with this nightmare, along with the political battle surrounding Lyme disease. There was more sadness than hope. Families spent between $75,000 and $125,000 for various treatments, some losing the ability to walk or talk, with some rare cases proving fatal.
The film did, however, report a Dr. Jensek, who had significant success in treating the disease, with mega doses of antibiotics for a long-term period. Many of his patients improved to the point that they regained manageable lifestyles. But due to the politics attached to the treatment of this disease, this doctor found himself with lawsuits that ultimately caused him to lose his license to practice in his home state of North Carolina.
After some googling, Rob found that this doctor had moved to Washington, DC–but that his waiting list is over a year! Even seeing a physician’s assistant would take months. There were some financial obstacles as well, with the initial visit costing $850.00 and requiring a deposit to secure an appointment.The miracle is that an appointment was secured for the next week!
Their first visit was in late June, and while the travel was quite rough for her, they both feel hopeful to be in the care of this clinic. From their first appointment they have already seen minor improvements from some of the changes made in medications, and while small, it is tremendously encouraging.
They have returned in August and September and have started a treatment plan. The doctor said he is unable to treat the disease until her considerable pain and sleep deprivation can be managed. This, therefore, became the focus of the first visit and subsequent 6 week medication plan. How long the treatment will take is unknown.
The treatment and transportation costs are beyond what they as a family can handle. The new medications are expensive. Rob and Tricia have applied for every possible program and study for help, but are struggling to cover the considerable costs. So I’m asking others like you to help carry this load.
We know that the Lord commands us to bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of love. I’m asking you to pray to see if God would want you to help share this burden. No matter your decision, please pray that this effort will prove positive for them.
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to Joy-Care Ministries, Inc. P.O. Box 560153, Macedonia, OH 44056
(Memo: “Supan Health Care”)
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