Steamboat Springs It was a blessing in disguise when Liz Kirt moved into a Kansas City home that had a mold problem.
Kirt quickly moved her family out of the house after discovering the mold, but she remained ill from what she initially thought was mold toxicity.
Doctors told her to take antihistamines, but when her health didn’t improve, she was eventually tested for Lyme disease last February.
“I thought, 'There’s no way,'” Kirt said.
But she tested positive.
Though she grew up in Minnesota, where the tick-borne disease is fairly common, doctors thought Kirt contracted the illness as an infant from her mother.
Further testing also turned up positive results for Kirt’s husband, her brother and her sister-in-law. She thinks she and her brother’s spouses contracted the disease sexually, though its unproved in the medical community if that is possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Lyme disease is contracted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, and initial symptoms can include a headache, fatigue and characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, the infection can spread into joints, the heart and nervous system.
Though the CDC says most cases of Lyme are cleared up with a short course of antibiotics, there is controversy over whether a form of “chronic Lyme,” also known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, exists.
Kirt, who lives in Stagecoach, thinks she has chronic Lyme and says she’s heard of 10 to 20 others in the Steamboat Springs area who think the same.
“It’s such a political disease,” Kirt said.
She is starting a support group to try to formally connect people with Lyme and their families. The group plans to meet the first Sunday of each month and has scheduled its first meeting for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3, at Bud Werner Memorial Library.
Before taking six months of antibiotics, Kirt said she suffered from chronic fatigue and neurological symptoms, including a “brain fog.”
“There would be no connection between thoughts and functions,” Kirt said. “I couldn’t finish a task.”
Following the antibiotics, Kirt, 36, who a registered nurse and the mother of a toddler, said her symptoms have improved.
She now researches Lyme and self-treats for about two hours per day, using a sauna, castor oil, a coffee enema, homeopathy and a rife machine.
The experimental “Doug coil” machine generates an electromagnetic field Kirt believes kills of the spirochete bacteria inside her body associated with Lyme.
Kirt is in school to become a family nurse practitioner and hopes to focus on Lyme through her profession.
For more information about the support group or to contact Kirt, visit nwcoloradolymesupport.org.
To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow