First Lyme Disease support group meeting this Saturday
“Family, friends, and frankly the medical community get tired of hearing their complaints because it can be a long siege."
Sandra McCaw, RN, Pike County Lyme Disease Task Force
By Linda Fields
MILFORD — Most of us are aware that Lyme disease can result in debilitating complications such as arthritis and nerve damage. But not so much focus has been given to the emotional damage it can cause victims and their families.
The Pike County Lyme Disease Task Force, formed just a year ago to educate the public about this disease, will be holding its first support group for those affected by the disease from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 12.
“We discovered that because of the myriad of symptoms associated with Lyme, such as affected lability" — rapid shifts in mood and emotions — "people need support groups where they can relate to each other and share their stories,” explained Sandra McCaw. A member of the task force, McCaw, is an advanced practice registered nurse and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is trying to fill the void for those who need emotional support as a result of grappling with Lyme disease and its effects.
“Family, friends, and frankly the medical community get tired of hearing their complaints because it can be a long siege,” said McCaw.
McCaw also pointed out that the emotional upheaval can result just as easily when it is a family pet that contracts Lyme.
“The U.S. has the largest number of domestic family pets worldwide," she said. "People love their pets."
As far as the human victims go, McCaw would like to see the medical community “step up and develop a consistent protocol to deal with tick bites.” She pointed out that research has made a connection between Lyme and dementia conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. The concern applies to not only deer ticks, which can transmit Lyme, but other ailments transmitted by ticks on mice, chipmunks, and squirrels.
The Pike County Lyme Disease Task Force support group will meet on the second Saturday of every month, from 11 a.m. to noon, at the library, 119 East Harford St., Milford. Call 570-503-6334 for more information.
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