Many of you know Marzilla of Zilla of the Resistance. She has a great conservative blog, and because of her warm, and generous spirit, she’s made many friends in the right-wing blogosphere.
For as long as I’ve known her, she has struggled with health and financial problems. For months, now she’s been fighting an infection that started in her tooth, and spread to her ears and sinuses. She also recently found out what it is that has been ailing her for years:
Beginning in the first week of January and going throughout February, I had been given six rounds of four different antibiotic medications to no avail, the infection that started in my tooth which had spread into my ear and my sinuses would improve after a couple of days of treatment and then revert back to horrible within a day or two of the course of completion of each course of antibiotics. I have dangerous reactions to many of the most widely used antibiotic medications so doctors are limited in what they can prescribe to me. There was one very strong antibiotic medication that i am known to be able to tolerate that my dentist said we could try as a last resort if the 6th round of antibiotics failed, which it did, so I was given a ten day treatment with Levaquin that finally got the raging infection in my head under control. I finished that course about a week and a half ago and tomorrow I go back to the dentist to get something permanent put over that tooth, most likely we will try a simple filling because I can’t afford any of the other options right now (I don’t even know how I am going to pay for tomorrow’s appointment) and it is still possible that I’ll lose the tooth and the bridge it holds up some time in the future – but right now I don’t care, I just want the temporary filling replaced with something stronger before I get infected again. But a funny thing happened during all of this…
As I have explained before, I suffer from chronic pain due to nerve damage from injuries, ruptured discs and something else that has been misdiagnosed as a bunch of different things and that has plagued me for years. I have lived with most of these things for well over a decade, especially the problems with my hands, but the past few years and increasing especially in the past year, there have been new, painful, and frightening symptoms which have seriously messed up my life. I spend the first few hours of every day so crippled up from back pain that it is difficult to stand up straight, hard to walk, and just exhausting – sometimes these problems clear up after I’ve been up for a while, sometimes they don’t and I lose entire days of my life to pain and misery and am unable to do much of anything. Since last fall I have also been running low grade fevers and getting chills, on and off, throughout the day, every damned day. It has been hell.
I noticed that while I was on the various antibiotics I had to take this year for the infection in my head that within a few days of starting each treatment, my fevers and chills would stop and, for the first time in years, I would get some relief from the debilitating pain in my back and my bones, but within a few days of completing each course of antibiotics, I would be back to my usual misery, and sometimes even worse than before.
During the last round of antibiotics, with the ‘last resort’ medication Levaquin, for the first time in nearly 2 years, I actually felt much better; I still had the pain in my hands and feet that I will probably alsways have, but I had several glorious days when I woke up NOT feeling as if I had been hit by a train, I could stand up straight and walk with ease, and I wasn’t so freaking tired – I was actually able to get some things done around here and play more with my kids, I felt ALIVE! Sadly (and I daresay, predictably), a few days after completing that course of treatment, while my dental/sinus/ear infection were finally better, my body pain and exhaustion returned with a vengeance and has worsened with every passing day. So here I am now, with pain so bad that it has had me in tears on and off for two solid days (no, my pain does not normally make me cry but this time it is indescribably bad, scary and so damned frustrating), and depression from it all is really kicking my ass. But the temporary reprieve from the agony seemed to me an important clue to the mystery that torments me, so I brought it up the other day when I went to the pain management doctor.
To make a long story short — it turns out the poor thing has late stage lyme disease -
So the other day I told the new doctor about the strange thing which had happened to me while on the antibiotics for an unrelated issue. I also made sure to mention that I had been repeatedly infected with Lyme Disease. To my surprise, he did not look surprised, and he explained to me that there are different variants of Late Stage Lyme Disease, some of which respond to oral or IV antibiotics and some which don’t. He told me that the testing for it is very expensive and not covered by insurance but even then tests aren’t 100% accurate anyway so doctors like him go with the “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck…” method for diagnosing such things and that my accidental temporary reprieve from the pain with antibiotics was a huge and useful clue. I explained how badly I was feeling since stopping the antibiotics and asked if he could provide more but he said that it is dangerous to keep taking them after I have already been on so many in such a short time and also that because I have such weird reactions to so many medications (and dangerous food allergies as well) that he needed time to do some research to try to find an treatment that might be helpful to me. He will see me again for a consultation in one month and until then, all I have is my regular pain meds which are not particularly helpful right now.
I am sure that my current flare up will ease at some point, and I am happy that I finally found a doctor who seems to understand (he had previously worked for 20 years on Long Island’s East End where Lyme Disease is also prevalent so he has experience with it) but it sucks that I cannot be given any treatment for it right now and it is very depressing to have had a taste of what “better” feels like and knowing that it’s not something I will be able to get hold of again in the immediate future. So that’s what’s going on with me, I am hurting badly, very tired, and more than a little bit depressed and frustrated. Hopefully the dentist appointment goes well tomorrow and is not too expensive, I wonder if I can convince the dentist to give me antibiotics again so I can get a few more days of feeling like a real person just one more time? I doubt it, but it would sure be nice as I hate feeling like this and my husband and children deserve so much better than the miserable, sad, me that they are stuck with right now (although I try my best to smile through it all when I think they are looking, it gets harder every day to do and there is so much that they are all missing out of because I just can’t do much) and I feel like I am failing them.
If I haven’t bored you away yet, thank you for reading, any prayers you could offer up for me and my family would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully the current flare up will ease a little soon so I can at least get you all some new blog posts you might enjoy reading, but be sure to check my Twitter feed and the A-C page for news info as I do try to post a little bit to those places daily no matter how badly I feel, you can also find lots of great stuff in the blogroll in the left-hand margin of this blog.
Update March 10, 2012 6:30 am: Thank you to everyone who has been sending prayers and offering kind words of encouragement, they mean the world to me!
Thank you to those of you who kindly hit my tip jar, I truly appreciate it and feel better knowing that I will be able to give the dentist something towards my bill when I go there this morning to (hopefully) have them finish up the work on that one bad tooth!
As much as I hated going through the dental/sinus hell, it turns out that the whole nightmare was a blessing in disguise as the accidental improvement of my body pain while taking antibiotics for the infection in my head led to having a doctor finally understand what has been wrong with me for all of this time.
A host of conservative bloggers have united in an effort to raise money for Zilla, who is facing a mountain of medical fees. I have no doubt that she would do the same thing for a fellow blogger in need.
A smaller version of the blog badge you see at the top of this post can be seen on my right sidebar. Feel free to donate if you are inclined. Every little bit helps.