Advocates put spotlight on chronic Lyme disease
They suffer from chronic Lyme disease. Mark describes several years suffering first from fatigue and dizziness - and then his symptoms got worse.
"I had trouble with cognitive processing, fine motor skills, short term memory loss," said Hopwood. "I was degrading to the point where my wife and I were seriously concerned about dying."
The tenth doctor he went to finally diagnosed and started treating his Lyme disease. Reid describes a similar struggle, and more.
"Years of misdiagnosis, of symptoms that aren't written about or learned about by treating physicians, and just the struggle," said Reid. "The struggle to find support in family and friends as well as just to get better."
What if you had a disease that no one believed in? That, in large part, is the reality for chronic Lyme patients.
"Some components of the medical community claim it doesn't exist," said Peter Wild of the Lyme Research Alliance. "That if you've been treated by short term anti-biotics, your Lyme is gone."
Conn. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants Congress to create a Lyme Advisory Committee to focus resources on the disease. It would go a step further than similar committees by including patients.
"Patients have been unrepresented and unreflected in this process and they have a powerful story," said Blumenthal.
In what Sen. Blumenthal calls a rare sign of bipartisanship in Washington, he has both Democrats and Republicans supporting this bill and that makes him hopeful it will pass.