Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another diagnosis

I have not written anything about this previously, because a person's medical information is a private matter. But now that the facts are a little more established, Nick has given me permission to discuss his medical situation in more detail.

For a few years, Nick has not felt 100% well. He'll have days where he's totally fine, then a few days where he's not quite right, like he's coming down with a cold. Or is just foggy and distracted and tired and unfocused. And then he'll be OK, and then he won't.

He's seen several doctors for this, beginning back in 2005. Finally in 2007, someone suggested that his problem might be sinus-related. While he doesn't have sinus pain, sometimes he's a little snuffly. And he has shown signs of an active sinus infection in the past.

In 2007, he had sinus surgery, which didn't really do much. His current ENT says that the first surgeon didn't take out enough sinus bits, and so he needs another surgery.

The latest round of trouble began back in October 2008 or thereabouts. Nick has been on antibiotics for sinus infection and, recently, anti-fungals in case the infection was fungal in origin. It hasn't really helped.

So we are still looking at whether or not surgery is going to be necessary.

Meanwhile, I've been dealing with a very clear case of Lyme disease. I think you see where this is going.

While we know that Lyme can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, it is debated as to whether or not the Lyme spirochete can be sexually transmitted. (The most famous spirochetal infection--syphilis--is obviously an STI.) But even if it's not, Nick and I have been married for eight and a half years, and spent the three years before that in the same place (college), so we've been together in the same locations, exposed to the same probability of infection via tick, for a really long time. So we've been wondering if Nick might just also have borrelia dancing around inside him.

Nick's Western Blot test came back IgG positive, and his CD-57 count was very low (30). Add in his albeit mild symptoms and history of living in Lyme endemic areas, and there's a decent chance of infection.

I should take a break here and say that not everyone who is walking around with Bb (Lyme spirochete) bacteria in his body has active and/or chronic Lyme disease. You might have this bacteria kicking around, and be totally asymptomatic and healthy because your immune system is doing its job.

But if your immune system runs into trouble, the infection can become active and cause symptoms.

So does Nick have a sinus infection? Does he need surgery? Does he have Lyme borreliosis? All three? Because a weakened immune system (either weakened by Lyme or sinus infection) could allow the other problem (either Lyme or sinus) to emerge. And anatomical issues (sinus structure) could make him more vulnerable to sinus infection, leading to immune weakness...and so on.

In any case, Nick has now joined the Official Kool Kids Lyme Club. We've got a secret handshake and everything.

He's starting off on Ceftin and Biaxin, because they are good choices to fight both Lyme infection and sinus infections. Dr. R (our LLMD) hopes that because his symptoms are so mild that a short course of treatment (six months, maybe more) will be all it takes for my dear husband to regain his footing.

We're still evaluating the sinus surgery option. Surgery might help (clear up the sinus trouble and the immune system can focus on fighting the Lyme), but it could also make things worse as the body is stressed by the surgery itself. At this point, we're going to see how things go over the next month and evaluate our options as we go along.

As for my life, I'm doing none too well this week. I'm exhausted, and yet insomnia occupies the night hours. And I hurt and can't think clearly and am worried about the Levaquin/tendon issue. So now I'm wearing a wrist brace--which is totally sexxxy, so at least I look good.


  1. I'm curious, what is the "Levaquin/tendon" issue?

  2. See previous post "Good and Bad"-- describes Levaquin tendon issue.

  3. So, because you are one of the most informed people I know, I'm sure you know this but do take a good amount of Magnesium at least 2 hours away from the Levaquin. It's supposed to really help with the tendonitis issue. I think I got that out of Singletons book.
    Also, when I switched from taking the Levaquin in the eve. to taking it late morning my sleep improved in a quantum way. The stuff really messed with me - I just layed awake all night.

  4. Anon--

    OMG, I can't believe I didn't think to do that. I do take my Levaquin at night, which means that I can't take my magnesium at the same time (pre-bed). And I know that magnesium helps with sleep...I can't believe I didn't put this together. What a great idea! You are awesome. Thank you!!!

  5. I don't know if your husband's already tried this, but it might help him to use a sinus rinse. I have pretty bad allergic rhinitis, which in itself isn't unmaneageable but the sinus rinse helps. My doctor recommends it to people with sinus issues, and I personally know people who've been able to avoid sinus surgery. And people who have been helped more by the rinse than surgery.
    Anyway, its worth a try because its completely harmless. Look it up, its by Neilmed, and its called sinus rinse.