Families launch Lyme disease support group
Kingwood moms Leesa Shanahan and Diane Kahler first connected many years ago through the Boy Scouts of America.
Years later, the two became even more interconnected when both of their children were fighting Lyme disease.
“My son was about to enter the ninth grade when he had joint pain and was always fatigued,” Kahler said. “I took him to several doctors and tests showed he had a low cortisone level eventually going into adrenal failure. It wasn’t until, ironically, my niece in another state was diagnosed with Lyme disease that I thought that could be the issue.
“Every person who is diagnosed with Lyme disease presents differently so it’s important to ask for the testing from your doctor and always check yourself and your kids for ticks.”
For Shanahan, their journey battling Lyme disease started with her daughter, Audrey, who began experiencing joint pain as well as feelings of depression and anxiety which were not normal for her.
Once Audrey was officially diagnosed with Lyme disease after a battery of tests, that is when the Shanahan’s relied on the help from a fellow Kingwood family, the Kahler’s, and they learned about a place called the Hansa Center in Wichita, Kansas, which offers holistic forms of treatment for patients with Lyme disease.
“Once Audrey began treatment at the Hansa Center and I knew the various symptoms that come with the disease, I started to pick up other symptoms in my other two children and through testing found they had Lyme disease as well so we have all been treated at the Hansa Center,” Shanahan added.
In an effort to raise more awareness, create a support group and a place for families and individuals diagnosed with Lyme disease, they recently kicked off the first Kingwood Lyme Support Group.
The group will hold its next meeting Sunday, Nov. 13, from 2-4 p.m. at Planet Beach located at 2665 Royal Forest Drive, Kingwood.
“The purpose of this group is to have a safe place to ask questions and share info about resources in the area,” Shanahan said. “We are not physicians, we cannot diagnose or prescribe a treatment for anyone. We are simply here to support each other on our journey to health and wellness.”
Anyone who wishes to join the Kingwood Lyme Support Group can come early to the meeting to tour Planet Beach and learn more about their saunas which have proved to be helpful for some patients with Lyme going through various treatment plans. Great Harvest Bread will provide samples of their gluten-free items as well.
ABOUT LYME DISEASE
According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported by state health departments and the District of Columbia each year. Lyme disease can be a hard disease to diagnose because it can mimic other diseases and is caused by spiral shaped (spirochete) bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi. Most of those who are diagnosed with Lyme disease have gotten it from ticks, mosquitoes and other insects.
It was a long 13-month journey for Kahler and her son, Zak, who is now healthy, and for Shanahan and her family, they continue to seek treatment at the Hansa Center for Optimum Health but both want to continue to find ways to help others battling Lyme disease.
“Lyme disease is like a corkscrew-shaped bacteria and incurs when a baby tick feeds on rats who carry that bacteria then they carry it,” Kahler said.
“When a tick bites into you, most people can’t feel it because of a chemical they use, but it’s like they inject that bacteria into you. Someone told me once that whenever you see deer, there are most likely ticks near. Not all ticks carry Lyme which is why it is important to get that tick tested if possible.
There needs to be more awareness for Lyme disease and more vigilance in checking for ticks when time is spent outside. Lyme changed my son’s life and if we can prevent that elsewhere, that is our mission with the support group.”
Shanahan echoed Kahler’s sentiments by adding, “I have one new person contact me each week about Lyme disease and treatment options through social media because I have shared our story so our idea for the support group was a great idea to get everyone together in a group setting which can be more effective. The first support group meeting was well-received and we look forward to growing this even more in the future.”
For more information about the Kingwood Lyme Support Group, email KingwoodLyme@gmail.com.