Friday, January 14, 2011

Trying New Treatment for Lyme Disease

Colfax man tries new treatment for Lyme disease
Gloria Beverage, Colfax Record editor

Colfax Record file photo
Jeremiah “Jimmy” Katches, who began showing signs of Lyme disease in 2004, recently received a port, which pumps antibiotics directly into his body. With Katches is his wife, Kristy and their two daughters, Kayle and Kameron.
By Gloria Beverage

Colfax Record Editor

Colfax resident Jeremiah “Jimmy” Katches is cautiously optimistic about winning his battle against Lyme disease.

Last year a group of residents hosted a fundraiser for the 27-year-old former soldier, who began showing signs of the tick-borne infection while in basic training in 2004.

The goal was to fund an IV antibiotic therapy that Katches hoped would help rid his body of the debilitating disease.

While enough money was raised to enable him to start the therapy, it didn’t help.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I have been getting a lot worse,” he said last week. “In October, I got a port put in my chest.”

The new treatment feeds the antibiotics directly into his heart and chest, he explained.

“It’s too early to tell how it’s doing so far,” he said. “I have a good day every once in a while. For the most part, it’s getting a lot worse.”

Unable to keep food down, Katches has dropped from 150 pounds to 128.

“My whole body is in pain and I get really bad headaches every day,” he said.

Still, he’s hopeful the latest treatment is beginning to have an impact.

“For the last week or so I’ve been able to keep down a little bit more,” Katches said. “I’m really hopeful about this port. I know a lot of other people with Lyme that it has really helped. I hope it will do the same for me.”

For Katches, then, a really good day means he’s able to get out of the house for a length of time.

Usually it’s a short drive into Colfax to pick out a couple of videos at Pick A Flick. Two weeks ago, however, he went to the movies.

Katches believes his battle with Lyme disease started during basic training for the U.S. Army in Missouri.

After a day in the field doing simulated combat, Katches found three ticks on his body. He pulled them off, but a week later found a bulls-eye rash on his forearm. It wasn’t long before he began having flu-like symptoms.

When the symptoms didn’t clear up, Katches was given a medical discharge.

Back in Colfax, Katches tested positive for Lyme disease and began seeing a specialist in October 2005.

By 2008, the Veterans Administration declared him disabled. Although they offered health care, they still will not acknowledge nor treat him for Lyme disease, Katches said.

Unable to work, Katches was finally able to begin receiving disability pay two months ago.

“My wife has been awesome,” he said. “She’s helping me get through everything. She takes care of me. I don’t know what I would do without her.”

Kristy only works two days a week at a Colfax church and home-schools their two daughters: Kayley, 7 and Kameron, 3.

“I’m very thankful for everybody in the community who has encouraged me,” he said, adding he’s received countless words of support from Don Cunningham, co-owner of Pick A Flick.

“Whenever I go in there, he tells me how much he thinks about me and is praying for me,” Katches said.

Cunningham, who bought the Main Street business in April, said he likes visiting with Katches.

“I feel just horrible about what he’s going through. I think what I can do to boost his spirits is remind him that life is worth living,” Cunningham said.

As for Katches, all he asks is that “people to pray for me, for Kristy and the kids.”

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