Sask. family stares down $25K medical bill to get husband's mystery illness diagnosed

Rodney Gardner has been suffering from from abdominal pain, fatigue, vomiting and drastic weight loss since last December.

After months of getting no answers from Sask., doctors, Keri and Rodney travelled to the Mayo Clinic

Keri Gardner says the Mayo Clinic has found some clues to her husband's mysterious illness, but their conclusions aren't being recognized in Saskatchewan. (Submitted by Keri Gardner)

A Regina woman says she's staring down an estimated $25,000 medical bill after her husband travelled to the U.S. to get a diagnosis for a mysterious illness doctors in Saskatchewan have been unable to identify. 

Keri Gardner says her husband, Rodney, from Preeceville, Sask., has been suffering from severe abdominal pain, fatigue, vomiting and drastic weight loss since December 2016.

After months of getting no answers from doctors, they travelled to Rochester, Minn., to see if doctors at the Mayo Clinic could help.

"Rod unfortunately is getting worse and worse as the days are going by," Gardner recently told CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition.

Gardner said doctors at the Mayo Clinic found he has extremely high iron and calcium levels.

Tests revealed brain cyst

She said they also re-read a CT scan her husband received in Saskatchewan, which doctors in the province read as normal, but staff at the Mayo Clinic found it showed he has a cyst on his brain.

"At this point, we don't have a lot of faith in the system," she said.

"We don't have a lot of faith in the doctors that are reading these reports and the CTs."

Upon returning to Saskatchewan, Gardner said she was disappointed that doctors here are not willing to recognize the doctors' findings from south of the border. They learned that after a recent visit to a family doctor, she said.

"He basically said Rod's levels, according to Saskatchewan, are within normal ranges and they aren't in the U.S.

"We're kind of at a standstill as to where we go from here, we keep pushing. I keep asking for help from people, anybody, that might have any ideas to what's going on."

Gardner said they are looking at paying upwards of $25,000 for the assessment her husband received, and may have to make a second trip to the U.S. for treatment if doctors in the province are unwilling to order the tests recommended by the Mayo Clinic.

Husband might return to U.S. for treatment

She said according to the Mayo Clinic, her husband needs to undergo a series of tests, including a brain MRI and nerve study.

"I feel like we have very, very good doctors. I feel like they're not able to do their jobs, basically is what it boils down to. It's the system."

Gardner said they have a number of appointments booked with specialists, but isn't hopeful her husband will be able to treated in the province if his out-of-country diagnosis isn't recognized.

"When you're fighting for somebody you love and you pull out all the stops, I've done and said things that are absolutely out of my character, but I feel like I'm fighting for a reason and a cause," she said.