lyme disease quiet epidemic

Lyme disease documentary highlights frustration of diagnosis

Betsy PriceCulture

lyme disease quiet epidemic

The film “The Quiet Epidemic,” which will be shown Friday night at The Screening Room at 1313, focuses on two Lyme disease patients and their search for treatment.

When Delaware native Gregg Kirk’s health declined sharply in 2002, he embarked on a years-long medical journey to deal with Lyme disease and the ramifications of it.

Kirk, who now lives in Connecticut, will be back in Delaware Friday, Aug. 11, for a special event he hopes will help those coping with Lyme disease, as well as their family and friends.
lyme disease quiet epidemic

Gregg Kirk

The centerpiece of a movie showing, discussion panel and book-signing at The Screening Room at 1313 is the film “The Quiet Epidemic: As Close as Your Backyard.” A documentary that’s been winning awards at festivals across the country, it was made by one of Kirk’s friends.

Kirk has two central messages.
One point is that while Lyme disease is strongly associated with tick bites, it also can be spread by spiders and other biting bugs.
The other point is that many people are able to shake the symptoms of the bacteria-caused disease with a blast of antibiotics, but Kirk is among those who have had to cope with co-infections and other problems that he finally was able to shake with both traditional medicine and herbal remedies.
He’s not alone  in advocating people get checked for Lyme disease. Singer/Actor Kris Kristofferson was diagnosed with dementia before tests showed he was suffering from Lyme disease.
Model Bella Hadid has been all over social media in the past week talking about her lengthy battle with Lyme disease. Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Osbourne and Shania Twain are among others who have come forward to talk about Lyme disease and treatment.
Tickets to the Friday screening are $8 and include a 6 p.m. meet-and-greet cocktail hour, 7 p.m. movie, 8:45 p.m. Q&A/panel discussion, book signings by Kirk and Fred Diamond and treatment giveaways by  Nutramedix (Cowden Protocol) & CellCore. 
A tick biologist from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will be on hand to talk about how to avoid ticks and how to remove them.

Kirk’s Lyme journey

Kirk, whose father worked for du Pont, was born in Delaware and grew up here until his dad was transferred to Iowa. Kirk went to high school there, but returned to the First State to earn a degree in English education from the University of Delaware.
He spent a couple of years teaching at Christiana High School, but decided that wasn’t for him.
Kirk founded and published “Big Shout Magazine,” whih he sold in in 1996 before going to work for The News Journal where he helped launch Delaware Online. He remembers those days as exciting.
He moved to Connecticut in 1999 to work in New York City-area media.
It was there that he contracted Lyme disease, which was discovered in the 1970s in Lyme, Connecticut
The advocate says he was one of the many patients who don’t get lyme disease from a tick bite or have a bullseye reaction to a bite that’s considered a specific marker for exposure.
He believes he was bitten by a spider in his own bed at home.
Kirk’s main symptom wasn’t a headache and fatigue. It was becoming ill whenever he ate.
After seeking help from several doctors, one finally recognized his symptoms and provided antibiotics. That doctor also recognized a co-infection and treated him for that.
Even so, Kirk says he didn’t feel well until he started taking herbal remedies, which he now advocates, and finally felt cured in 2011.
lyme disease quiet epidemic

Lindsay Keys

He’s since been trained as a Lyme disease health coach and works with patients in a Connecticut Clinic. He considers himself an advocate for those who still don’t feel well even after antibiotic treatments.

There’s a difference in acute Lyme disease and chronic Lyme disease, Kirk says. The idea of a chronic illness is still frowned up in some medical circles, which is at the heart of the documentary.
Kirk went on to found the Ticked Off Foundation to help patients who didn’t feel well after antibiotic treatments. Lindsay Keys, one of the co-directors of “The Quiet Epidemic” was one of the first Lyme patients that was helped with a Ticked Off patient support group.
“The Quiet Epidemic” was directed by Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch, who also was a Lyme disease patient.
The Screening Room is in the Lower Atrium at 1313 North Market Street, Wilmington.
Tickets can be bought here, here or at the door.


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