Welcome to my blog! This is a place of information and hope for fellow Canadians who are suffering from Lyme disease. I want to share with you the knowledge I have gained during my fight with this debilitating, frightening, and misunderstood illness. I hope you will be blessed.

IGeneX Lab

IgeneX is a private lab in Milpitas, California that specializes in testing for tick-borne diseases.  Click here to visit their website or call 1-800-832-3200.

You can pay anywhere from $250 - $1500 USD depending on which tests you order and if you want to do testing for co-infections (see below). 

IgeneX no longer sends out the test kits for free.  You now need to order a kit online for $20 USD, but this will be deducted from the cost of tests you order.  It will take about 2 weeks to receive the kit if you live in Canada.

Once received, you need a doctor to sign the requisition.  My understanding from years ago is that IgeneX will accept the signature of various health professionals, including naturopaths and chiropractors.  Phone IgeneX to be sure, in case this is what you were wanting to do.  However, I believe that Ontario naturopaths are no longer allowed to order blood work out of province due to our own regulations. Talk to your naturopath to be sure.

Which tests should you order?

Dr. Marty Ross has a good article on the usefulness of the various Lyme tests available.  Another good source of information is this article on a Lyme blogger's site.

The minimum testing you should order is test #188 Lyme Western Blot IgM AND #189 Lyme Western Blot IgG.  You may want to consider the newer ImmunoBlot test, although it is more expensive.  Personally, I have always done the Lyme Western Blot IgM and IgG because I think they give you the necessary information for a reasonable cost.

If finances permit, you may wish to order a co-infection panel as well, since ticks pass on other infections besides Lyme.  Note that this will greatly increase the cost and is likely not necessary right now unless/until your Lyme doctor wants to have that testing done.  Co-infection testing is not foolproof and you can get false negatives.  A good Lyme-literate MD will be able to diagnose your co-infections clinically based on your symptoms and treat you without the need for a positive test.  Nevertheless, I have always opted to get some co-infection testing done.

Here's exactly what you will need to do once you receive the kit:

1. Your kit will come with a box with test tubes, a FedEx bag to send it in, and all of the paperwork (requisition, international air waybill, customs forms, etc.)

2. Have a doctor sign the requisition that comes with the kit and check off the tests he/she wants to order.

3. Decide on a day to have your blood drawn.  It is important to do this early in the week (Mon. - Wed.) so that it does not sit in a depot over the weekend.

4. Call FedEx the day before you wish to send the package (called a "clinical pack") to set up a time to have them pick up the package at your home.  In my city, you are not permitted to drop off clinical packs at FedEx depots yourself.  I assume that's the same for all places.  Make the pick-up time for later in the day.
Be sure to send it for overnight delivery.  It will cost around $80 - $90.  You will write your credit card number on the air waybill.

5. Fill out the IgeneX requisition and the FedEx paperwork ahead of time.  Both forms will require a credit card number.  If you have any questions about how to fill out the FedEx paperwork, call their customer service.  They are very helpful.  Also, you can ask the driver who comes to pick up your package to review your paperwork to make sure you have done everything correctly.  *Please note:  You need to have 3 copies of the Commercial (Customs?) Invoice, so if you don't have a printer/copier at home, you must do this ahead of time.

6. Go to the lab on the day you've decided upon and have your blood drawn.  Remember to bring your IgeneX requisition, instructions, and the FedEx paperwork with you.  It will cost around $25 out-of-pocket.  There will be about a 30 minute wait afterwards while they spin your blood samples.  (I used Dynacare lab.)  Make sure that the lab fills out the bottom section of the IgeneX requisition, and make sure that each tube is labelled with the patient's name, date of birth, and date of collection.

7. Pack up the vials of blood in the box according to any instructions included.  READ CAREFULLY to see if your blood samples should be at room temperature or refrigerated while waiting for the FedEx pick up.  You will not need to put an ice pack in the package to send it.  (But please double-check this for the tests you decide to order.)

8. Give your clinical pack to the FedEx driver when he/she comes to your home.  If you have any questions about the paperwork, you can ask him/her then, or you could always phone the FedEx office ahead of time to clarify any issues.

The results take about 2 weeks and are sent to the doctor who signed the requisition.  The results are very detailed and difficult to understand unless you have done some research into Lyme testing beforehand. 

To learn how to interpret your Western Blot, click here.