By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
What complicates matters is that so many people continue to complain about recurring Lyme symptoms long after supposedly being cured.
The National Institutes of Health hasn't helped, writing on its website, "While most patients improve after taking antibiotics, some patients continue to have symptoms. It is currently unknown why."
About 31,000 Americans officially were diagnosed with Lyme disease last year (with another 10,000 "probable" cases listed). The vast majority of the victims reside in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions.
CDC statistics show that Arizonans accounted for only three confirmed cases of Lyme in 2009, with four other people listed as "probable."
That many go to Remnant Health Center for "Lyme disease" treatment just about every day.
An epidemiologist tells New Times that Lyme disease is rare in Arizona because the culprit tick cannot survive long in low-humidity regions.
"We don't have the ticks here," says Craig Levy, program manager for the state health department's Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Disease Program.
"If we could support them, they would have been here a long time ago. But people are desperate to figure out what's making them sick, and they grab onto a Lyme diagnosis whether it's right or not."
Some Lyme-ites, including those at Remnant, suggest that the disease also can be transmitted in utero or by sexual contact.
Janet Love is adamant that she contracted Lyme disease genetically from her parents, natives of Missouri and Texas. She also says she's sure that she transmitted it to her son Garrett (who is Remnant's office manager).
Alyssa Goodale's mother, Lynn, says both Love and Dana Rosdahl informed her that all six Goodale children contracted Lyme genetically.
"When Dana first told me that Lyme was passed along in families, it rocked my world, to say the least," Lynn Goodale says.
The notion of entire families infected with the Lyme bacteria elicits a one-word comment from Dr. Randy Horwitz, medical director at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine:
Founded by famed alternative healing MD Andrew Weil, the Tucson clinic hardly is a member of the mainstream-medicine industry that Lyme-ites are quick to condemn.
Dr. Horwitz adds, "To take a disease and to extrapolate and say that everyone is infected — that based on alleged clinical symptoms, this is Lyme, even in the absence of data — makes no sense to me."
He adds a cautionary note relevant to Alyssa Goodale's case:
"In the absence of a clear diagnosis, you shouldn't just assign something based on your own theories or probabilities and promulgate a myth. That's when you take a step that's beyond what we do."
A recent paper by the American Lyme Disease Foundation concluded, "There is no epidemiological or clinical data to support the sexual transmission of Lyme disease."
The CDC goes further, saying there is "no evidence that Lyme disease is transmitted from person to person."
The agency does note that a pregnant woman infected with Lyme may pass it along to the embryo through the placenta — "However, no effects on the fetus have been found when the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment."
As for the allegedly infected blood supply, the CDC says, "No cases of Lyme disease have been linked to blood transfusion."
Alyssa Goodale says she'd never heard of Lyme disease before her first appointment with Dana Rosdahl on June 11, 2009.
She says her mother took her to see Rosdahl, whom Lynn Goodale had known for years, because of issues with her menstrual cycle.
Rosdahl was working as a nurse practitioner at the Gilbert offices of an internal specialist and had just quit her teaching job at ASU's College of Nursing. She and Janet Love still were several months from opening Remnant Health Center.
Alyssa is the second youngest of Austin and Lynn Goodale's six children. She is a pleasant, pretty young woman with a quick wit and keen sense of right and wrong.
Alyssa was an athlete at Gilbert's Higley High, in soccer and track. But the Arizona native says asthma, allergies, and other physical problems long had plagued her.
"I wasn't what you call sickly," she says softly, "but I think I had more than my share of stuff going on inside of me, and I never knew what it was."
The Goodales say they met Rosdahl around 2003 at East Valley Bible Church in Gilbert.
Word got around the congregation that Rosdahl was a top-rate healthcare provider, and Lynn Goodale sought her counsel. She also treated Lynn's husband, Austin, and other family members at various times.
"She was my go-to person for issues related to being a woman and getting older," Lynn says. "She got me on a great health track, and I trusted her."
Alyssa graduated in the spring of 2009 and enrolled at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. She continued to work at a Paradise Bakery over the summer but says she was feeling exhausted, aching all over, and suffering from awful menstrual cramps.
Alyssa says Rosdahl almost immediately mentioned Lyme disease during the first appointment.
"I was, like, Lyme what?" Alyssa says. "I thought it was going to be hormones. It was scary."
Rosdahl's handwritten medical records (which Alyssa Goodale provided to New Times) show that the girl told her at that first meeting, "I feel old all over."