Sunday, June 27, 2010

Diagnosis - Q Fever

I see Dr. B. again and my Mom is with me. I'm here for the results of the last round of tests he's done for lyme, co-infections etc. I sit down with him and he says, "so, as expected, your lyme tests are negative. But you did test positive for Q fever." My Mom and I look at each other...what? I've never heard of Q fever. Q Fever is, according to Wikipedia "a disease caused by infection with Coxiella burnetii,[1] a bacterium that affects humans and other animals. This organism is uncommon but may be found in cattle, sheep, goats and other domestic mammals, including cats and dogs. The infection results from inhalation of contaminated particles in the air, and from contact with the milk, urine, feces, vaginal mucus, or semen of infected animals. Rarely, the disease is tick borne. [2] The incubation period is 9–40 days. It can be considered the most infectious disease in the world, as a human being can be infected by a single bacterium.[3] The bacterium is an obligate intracellular pathogen." More information can be found at the Center for Disease Control website at

Doing the math, I have potentially had it for 3 or 4 years. No wonder I felt like total crap all of this time! I either got it in Ireland, where I was often walking in the fields where there was sheep and cattle manure, OR, I was bitten by a tick in California. I shot 2 films in California that were done in the mountains, places where ticks were a plenty.

Dr. B takes more blood to re-test for the Q fever, lyme disease, co-infections etc. I am to come back in 6 weeks to discuss further treatment plans. Because I am stabilized and not getting worse, there is no reason as of now to panic and go back on the doxycycline. It turns out, too, that the first line of defense against Q fever is doxycycline. My previous doctor, Dr. Saviour, had put me on that right away (thinking I had lyme), and it turns out it was a game changer and life saver. I am still eternally grateful to him for being the first doctor who didn't make me feel like I was crazy, but believed that my illness was real and something that needed to be dealt with. I am writing a letter to some of the doctors from last year who were so dismissive of me, just to let them know that I do, indeed, have a serious bacterial infection. I think they should know for future reference not to judge someone on her age, gender, or "feminine issues." As if I made up 104 degree fevers. Stress ASS!

Lyme disease still hasn't been counted out entirely, but I am so happy to have seen a positive result for something. Interestingly, my sleep pattern has completely regulated in the week since that diagnosis. Whether I am really starting to be well, or that lifting the psychological burden of not knowing has done that I don't know. I feel like I have lost pounds of worry, that's for sure, and sleeping through the night is having an enormous healing effect on me.

I go to the hospital to get an echocardiogram because with the positive Q Fever test Dr. B wants to make sure my heart is okay. There can be heart complications (inflamed lining of the heart) with Q Fever.

I see an allergist to see if he can help resolve why I am still getting these stiff necks and headaches during ovulation/menstruation, and also sometimes when I eat certain foods. He is another "Dr. B", (now referred to as Dr. B #2), and he is GREAT! I wish he could be my all around doctor because he has such a great attitude. He sends me for MORE blood tests, and he also sticks a camera in my nose and down my throat. I do not recommend doing this for fun, ech! I am to see his colleague after I get the results back, because she is an allergist and immunologist. Somewhere in here between Dr. B #1, and Dr. B #2 I am going to get all of my questions answered and be on the road to health. I also have one more doctor to meet with, recommended by a friend's godmother. This doctor is a gynecologist/holistic healer, and I think she will be the perfect person to add to the team to get a resolution.

I have learned from this process it is a CHOICE to get well. You can be passive in your life and in your healing, and take whatever the doctors say as the definitive answer, lie down and be in pain for the rest of your life. OR, you can choose to FIGHT with everything you've got left in you and be an active participant in your own healing. I have wanted to give up so many times and have shed an ocean's worth of tears in frustration and fear. If not for my family, friends and boyfriend I would have chosen the first option possibly. Somehow because of their support and whatever fire was left in my soul, I continue to push forward, seeking answers, pushing my doctors and demanding I be heard. If I hadn't, I would still be in the dark, wondering if I have lyme disease, wondering if I have lupus, etc. Now, because I insisted that Dr. Saviour wasn't being aggressive enough, I have an answer! You must do this for yourself and listen to your intuition when it comes to your health. The choice could be a matter of life and death!

No comments:

Post a Comment