Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Lyme Symptoms - Stage II (Feb 01 – Dec 01)

About a year I had noticed increasingly achy joints. Started in my toes, then hands, wrists, then one day I couldn’t squat anymore. I had yelped out in pain at work because my knee hurt so much. I tried joint supplements MSM and glucosamine and Omega-3 when required which helped a little. I had sunstroke around Feb 01, after getting carried away fishing and forgetting my fair skin. I had such fever/chills for a few days.

I developed a multiple little rashes on my torso, most on my left side of my chest. 10 or more red spreading squished rings that looked a little pointy. A few 3-5cms diameter others smaller versions of varying sizes. They looked like the photo seen here. Suspecting ringworm I had scrapings sent away for testing but nothing was cultured. I was sent of with a cryptic diagnosis which meant something like red round rash, and put essentially some ointment used in acne treatment as a chemical peel. It resolved after a while. Under stress my voice got pitchy like I had a cold and I had what was described as connective tissue issues. I went to a naturopath for iridology test. I was given a deep tissue and therapeutic massage to detoxify at the time.

In March 01, I became violently ill. High fevers & chills, did not want to eat, felt like dying at the time. I couldn’t keep much down; I had some herbal supplements given to me at the time, and raw garlic etc. I had never been so sick before. I lost 10 kg in a week. A week went past and I was not recovering so I managed to get myself out of bed and saw a doctor, and was told ‘I don’t know what you had, but now you have pneumonia’, and I was put on some antibiotics which resolved it at the time. For months after that, I was pale and couldn’t walk up stairs without almost passing out.

I managed to put 5/10kg back on and I got well enough to get back into life in general again, though I would get sore hands from cleaning and sore feet from standing for hours working at the time. I was having difficult concentrating on my study – it just wouldn’t sink in and I got tired easily. Sept/October 01 was a stressful time for me and during this time I also received another massage, and I was quite exhausted again.

In November 01 I became very ill again. It was much like the first time, although I was already quite slim since last time. I lost over 5kg this time within a week, and I became extremely weak. My fever was very high and I was experiencing musical hallucinations and vivid dreams. Because I couldn’t work or study, I had no income support and drove to the shop to pawn a possession to buy some vitamins, over the counter meds and basic food. I recall compelled to lie down for a while in the back of my car in the tropical sun out of necessity. I could have passed out from heat exhaustion and no one would have even known. I was so out of it I didn’t really comprehend how sick I was at the time. I went to see my boss to show her I was truly sick, and she made me go see a doctor there and then. As I had over an hour before the Dr appointment I went to see my family while in the area and let them know I was sick, and how I was a bit shock up as I almost got hit by a truck driving through a red light earlier that day. I went and saw that dodgy doc who examined me all of 10 minutes said (listening to my chest) ‘hmmm…you should really see a doctor about that’, and sent me off and told me I didn’t need anything more than I had from over the counter. I crawled back into my bed in despair.

First thing the next morning my Dad and family were on my doorstep telling me I needed to ‘come home’ to get better. After a little um and ahhing, but to buggered to fight I got into the car. I was fed grated apple, and other nutritious food that I could keep down, chicken soup etc. Because of my fever I was told not to shower or get my hair wet or I may get sicker at the time. A doctor my Step-mum housekept for, came by and took one look at me and said she was getting me admitted to hospital. At the time she told my Dad I had about 6 days left on me, though he only told me this year.

I was checked into hospital, and initial tests run and IV fluids etc. I had abnormal heart rate observed. Various basic pain meds were administered at times, and suspicious of rheumatic fever I was given a dose of IV penicillin V with oral version following. This helped a lot and my digestion system started to return to some kind of normal, and I was eating ok again and sent home with a heart ultrasound and rheumatology (RH factor 210) appointment booked for 6 weeks later. When I got home the next morning I had a severe migraine. I thought maybe I was allergic to penicillin, though I had not been as a child. I kept on the orals as it went away (I now believe that may have been a herx from the IV antibiotic given a couple of days earlier). I couldn’t string a sentence together I had to gasp for air. It was like I couldn’t get enough air.

My sister a nurse in Sydney told me to come down and she would get me checked out at the hospitals there. I saw a good doctor there who arranged a heart ultrasound the next day as it was highly concerning that had not been conducted yet, and swag of blood tests etc. My B12 level was near the floor. Injections ordered. My iron was low, FeFol to take. Rheumatoid factor (179) was very high, and my inflammation markers were high. My ANA was >2560 which is +++very high. I was kept on oral penicillin V.

Saw infectious disease clinic who were very intrigued by my seemingly unrelated symptoms. Sinovitis in hands, and arthitis, heart issues, breathing, rash. Checked for Ross river and its cousins, Sindbis IgG 0.8 (<0.9) so borderline and Sindbis IgM was POSITIVE. This was never followed up though and at the time I did not understand the blood test reports. My heart rate was 140 at rest and 160+ if I walked up a staircase. Autoimmune Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) was suggested as a diagnosis at the time, however I was due to see my initial Rheumatologist appointment.

Lyme Disseminated Rash Image(right) from

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