I’m off today but heard of this crazy-sounding situation affecting more and more families and wanted to share.
Josie Andrews is one of many kids diagnosed with PANDAS, a devastating disease that happens to your well-adjusted child overnight. It starts with something we’ve all had – strep throat. That strep throat then creates OCD, anxiety, eating disorders, aggressive rages for hours at a time, irrational fears, mood swings, writing issues and a decline in motor skills.
The desperate mother of 9-year-old girl Josie reached out. Traci Andrews said PANDAS affects one in 200 people, but only a few doctors know about it.
PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with the Streptococcal Infection. Basically, Traci says, the strep throat causes the body to make antibodies that misfire and start attacking their brain.
“We found out after six months of dead ends, multiple testing and searching for brain tumors,” said Traci from her home in Charlotte. "Josie was finally diagnosed in December 2015.”
Treatments are expensive. According to Traci, families in Charlotte are having to travel to Washington DC to see specialists. Even worse, she says, insurance denies coverage.
“We pay everything out-of-pocket,” said Traci. “I cannot begin to tell you how awful it has been for our family the past year. Even worse, many families in Charlotte are dealing with this.”
The adorable picture of Josie in this story is with her new guinea pig.
“She found the animal online,” Traci says. “I told her if she was brave I’d let her get it. I needed her to be brave because everything was changing so fast. She was unable to feed herself, get dressed or get out of bed. She was afraid to be without me. She stopped sleeping. She was afraid of books. She was having severe rages, aggression and tantrums. But, she fell in love with this guinea pig, Grayce, and the promise of having her has helped get her through treatments.”
PANDAS sounds odd and terrible. All from strep throat? Who would've ever known?
Thank you, Traci, for sharing. I am betting you just educated many.
*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there – which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here.