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Ontario: Fighting to Recover

By Rob Houle  St. Catherines Standard

Matt Risi wants his life back.

For the last 10 years, his health has been in a downward spiral.

The bite of an insect that can be the size of the period at the end of this sentence altered his life. Risi has Lyme disease as the result of the bite of a black-legged tick.

He has no recollection of finding a tick on his body. He never developed a “bull’s eye” rash, the tell-tale sign of having been bit by the spider-like insect.

The 26-year-old Thorold native began seeing changes in his health while in high school.

“I was in Grade 10, that’s when I started to notice symptoms,” he says while seated at his family’s kitchen table. “It started with significant weakness in my left side, in my left shoulder.”

He had migraines, flu-like symptoms.

“His first diagnosis from a neurologist was, ‘Well, you’ve fallen off a bicycle, you’ve hurt the conduction of nerves, they’re not communicating with your arms,’ “ Matt’s mother, Debbie, says. “What kid hasn’t fallen off a bike? So we bought it.”

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