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  • Nanworimo 2009

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  • “Productive”

    About a week and a half ago, I got a sore throat, I lost my voice, and started creating sinus and chest mucus in large and disgusting quantities. Jay got a touch of this, too, violating our usually hard and fast rule that only one of us can be really sick at a time.

    He was in a bit better shape one day, and so got sent to the store to buy as many boxes of tissues as he could carry (with and without lotion – he loves the lotion version when he’s sick). He was sneezing like crazy, and I was blowing my nose about once every ninety seconds. We have filled paper bags with snotty tissue all over the house.

    I also got nasty aches (worse than my normal Lyme pain), extreme exhaustion (even for me), chills, and a low-grade fever. My lungs got involved early on with a wheezing, “productive” (doncha just love that word?) cough that has me worried I could have pneumonia or Pertussis. I was diagnosed with Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, a couple of years ago. It was not fun.

    I’m not coughing hard like I did two years ago, but that may be because I’m working hard at not coughing. When I do, it hurts and I don’t like worrying that I may toss my cookies (or experience what my Mother, the nurse, used to call a, “Green Burp.” The less said about that phenomenon, the better).

    So far, no cookies tossed, although I came close last Tuesday when I lay down so Jay could give me my IM Bicillin injection. Once I realized what was going on (or coming up), I made a mad dash to the bathroom (which is thankfully close). I got there in time to experience the aforementioned and much dreaded Green Burp, but avoided anything worse.

    Laying flat has turned out to be risky business. I spent three nights sleeping on a recliner because if I lay down, the phlegm in my chest took it as an invitation to come on up and have a party. I told Jay that while I miss the cuddles with him, I figure barfing in bed is just not very sexy. No argument from him there. We were both relieved when I was able to join him in bed again (propped up on pillows, mind you), two nights ago. Cuddling was reduced to playing footsie, since, once propped up, I really can’t move without inviting trouble.

    After a week and a half of this, Jay is thankfully much better and I’m a little better, too. He’s still sneezing. I’m still wheezing. I see my primary care physician for a “touch-base” visit and blood tests this Friday. If I’m still sick, I’ll see what she thinks about Pertussis or pneumonia.

    On a happy note, I started a new serious-ass pain killer this week (Oxycodone). And my LLMD also added oral Doxycyclene to kill the Erlichiosis. I’m afraid the pain killer is too low a dose –  it seems to wear off after four or five hours when it’s meant to last 12, and most of the time barely takes the edge off my pain. But I have high hopes for the Bicillin/Doxy combo.

    I’ll keep you posted.

    CDC Positive Western Blot

    I came home this past Wednesday from my second trip to San Francisco to see my LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). She’s the one who gave me a clinical diagnosis for Lyme Disease four weeks ago.

    During this visit I got my blood tests results back and I am VERY positive for Lyme Disease, even based on the ridiculously narrow CDC guidelines (for both past and present infection). You don’t need a positive antibody test to be diagnosed with Lyme (because Lyme is a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms and history, not lab results), but I feel vindicated to have it show up in labs.

    I’m surprised by the fact that I’m still making the antibody after being sick for so long – it shows that my immune system is still trying to fend off the bug. I’m surprised because it’s more common for the immune system to just shut down so that no antibody is present (which is one of the reasons there are so many false negative Lyme Disease lab results).

    I also tested positive for Bartonella (a common co-infection found in people who have Lyme). My LLMD suspects I have other co-infections as well, including Babiosis and Erlichiosis. In addition, she found two unrelated infections: H. Pylori (the bacteria that is related to ulcers), and shingles!

    Next week I’ll start taking a combination of antibiotics and Prilosec to kill off the H. Pylori. Then I’ll continue with the antibiotics, which will hopefully knock out the Bartinella and other co-infections, as well as the Lyme bacteria.

    The next confirmation of Lyme infection will be when I respond to the antibiotics, either by feeling better, or by experiencing a Jarisch-Herxheimer (or “Herx”) reaction. A Herx happens when the bacteria dies-off and releases poisons into the body, temporarily making symptoms worse. Oh joy. I may have a reaction either way immediately, or it could be months. I’ll keep you posted.

    In the meantime, I have a TER-rible cold, and I’m tracking my Lyme symptoms (there are 47 on my list), and reading, spinning, knitting, and writing when I have the energy.

    I’ll try to post an update once per week, in case you want to check up on me. 😉

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