Chalpat Sonti, WAtoday.com.au, March 1, 2011:
It's hard to know what causes more suffering for Theda Myint - the excruciating migraines caused by her decade-long battle with a crippling illness, or the fact that a simple method that can ease her pain is being denied by authorities.
Largely bedridden for the past 10 years due to the effects of myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME - better known as chronic fatigue syndrome - Ms Myint and her family have battled the medical establishment, bureaucrats and politicians firstly to get her condition recognised, then to try to get treatment.
WAtoday.com.au chronicled the former actress and journalism student's battle in a series of stories last year. That battle has seen her plumb to the depths of contemplating suicide.
One of the most crippling side-effects for the 34-year-old - apart from an extremely low tolerance of light and noise - is chronic migraine headaches.
Her GP, Hugh Derham, has taken to administering an intravenous saline solution comprising magnesium and a combination of other minerals, which has led to Ms Myint being able to walk around her Willetton home for the first time in years.
However, the cost of each four-hour treatment to the family, about $350 with just $75 refundable through Medicare, and the need to have it on a weekly basis, has forced the family to supplement what home treatments they can afford with regular trips to the emergency department at Fremantle Hospital.
Dr Derham, who is also the patron of the WA ME/CFS Society, said taking Ms Myint to hospital for the IV was like taking three steps forward and two-and-a-half back due to the crippling impact the exertion of the visits had on her frail health.
Ms Myint's supporters and family - who survive on pensions paid to Ms Myint and her mother Carol Adams, 68 - have asked for the hospital treatment to be made available in their home, an option they say that, as well as being better for Ms Myint, is also much cheaper for the taxpayer than taking her to hospital.