After five years of suffering, teenager is on the mend thanks to innovative therapies, writes Louise Roseingrave.
After five years of suffering, Sinéad Kearney is finally on the road to recovery.
Sinéad, 16, a transition-year student from Rathcormac, Co Cork, fell ill during the summer of 2011.
A keen sports player with a bright future, her symptoms left doctors mystified as she developed shortness of breath, muscular weakness, and chest pains. Her mother, Claire Kearney, says it was a full 12 months later before Lyme disease was identified as the cause of Sinéad’s symptoms.
The Borrelia infection was later confirmed through blood tests carried out in the UK. But Sinéad’s situation worsened.
“She went on to develop severe gastric problems and later severe recurring pains in many different parts of her body which kept moving between joints, muscles, and bones,” says Claire.
Several organs were affected. Her limbs were often unbearably heavy, her knees swollen and normal everyday things like looking after herself, standing or walking, especially on stairs became very difficult.”
It became impossible for Sinéad to attend school regularly. She underwent two episodes of neurosurgery for a condition sometimes associated with Lyme disease. But the devastating symptoms persisted.
When every available treatment the family could access in Ireland at the time failed to bring lasting relief, the community in Rathcormac and Bartlemy rallied around to raise funds for Sinéad to get treatment abroad. It was a turning point from which she never looked back.
“Sinead felt a lot better when she returned from the US,” says Claire. “We chose the Integrative Medical Center in upstate New York for the combination of conventional and complementary therapies offered there.
“Killing of bacteria and other pathogens results in release of toxins in the body which can overwhelm the liver, kidney, and lymphatic system, causing what’s known as a herx reaction so that the patient feels even worse than they did before treatment.
Sinéad worked out on a cross trainer with the aid of oxygen before each infusion to boost the circulation and penetration of medication and IV nutrients to promote healing.
“Since that treatment, Sinéad has been able to walk unaided,” says Claire. “She had a big reduction in the pain and weakness she had endured for the previous four years, and was able to return to school part time and sit her junior cert in six subjects. She was also able to carry out everyday tasks that had previously been a major struggle. She was well enough to work on building up her strength and fitness again with the help of oxygen when needed.
“Nutritional, physical, and cranio-sacral therapy, herbal treatment, acupuncture and bio resonance have all been essential elements of her ongoing treatment.”
One final discovery has helped Sinéad renew her love of outdoor activity and sport. Claire believes the addition of biomagnetic treatment to Sinead’s health care plan is the ‘most valuable advice’ she picked up from another Lyme patient, as it gradually increased her daughter’s strength, energy, and vigour since beginning it just three months ago.
The treatment involves using pairs of magnets to create an environment that is hostile to disease-causing pathogens in the body.
“Biomagnetism is the most exciting and promising testing and treatment approach we have found for Sinéad,” says Claire. “It’s a relatively new therapeutic system that was discovered by the Mexican surgeon, Dr Isaac Goiz Duran in 1988 and has only become known in the English speaking world in recent years.
“By applying two magnets with opposite polarity at specific points of the body, the charges are pushed towards each other, neutralising the PH, thus destroying pathogens that cannot survive in a neutral PH environment. It also helps the body to repair damage caused by the infections and to recover from symptoms.”
It has made a big impact on Sinéad’s quality of life. She has returned to horse riding and hurling with her family and now recovers more quickly after activities than she had been.
“She must still take care not to overdo it but she’s delighted with her progress,” Claire says.
It’s been a long and difficult road for the family, particularly Sinéad herself. But the determined teen is very much focused on making up for what she’s missed out on.
“I want to be able to go to school full time, as odd as that may sound,” Sinéad says. “I’m hoping I can enjoy fully taking part in transition year activities this year. I need to catch up on subjects like maths that I just couldn’t do, even when I was recovering last year. But, more importantly, I intend to make up for lost time playing sport.”