Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bartonella Infection

I've been doing some research on bartonella infection and it's symptoms to learn more about it and better understand what is going on inside my body. I was surprised to read that it is fairly common and often causes more symptoms the Lyme. It can be passed to humans from cats, fleas, ticks, and maybe even dust mites. It can cause many psychological symptoms and neurological problems not to mention many other symptoms. I'm guessing that more of my symptoms are coming from this infection then from the Lyme.

Some people have noticed that I am not quite myself and that I seem to be more emotional and my personality has changed. I think this could be the cause and I am really looking forward to killing the little buggers and feeling like myself again. I miss me.

Here is an excerpt I cut and pasted from the Internet.

Bartonella bacteria enter all organs and cause the following sample illnesses:

•All Psychiatric disorders
•Numbness or Loss of Sensation
•Oxygen Deprivation
•Panic Attacks
•Muscle Spasms and/or Weakness
•Joint Pain
•Upper and Lower G.I. Tract Disorders
•Kidney, Bladder, and Urogenital Disorders
•Sleep Disorders
•Memory Problems
•Lumps in the Skin
•Dozens of Types of Rashes
•Polyps in or on Major Organs
•Eye Disorders, e.g., Blurred Vision, Depth Perception, and Retinal Damage
•But Some Patients Have No Clear Symptoms

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dorcctor's Visit

I went to see Dr. T today in Watsonville. She said that I am doing well so far. My tests from last visit came back negative expcept that I have some adrenal fatigue and a co-infection. The adrenal fatigue is likely what is causing me to have memory problems, mood swings, muscle aches, etc. I'm going to be taking a suppement from my naturopath to help support my adrenal functioning. The co-infection is called Bartonella. It's the bacteria that causes cat-scratch fever among other things. We don't know if I have the exact strain that causes that, but she did say I have been infected for a while. She put me on an new antibiotic called Levaquin. This is in addition to the Doxycycline that I am already on. I'll keep doing things to detox and hopefully my body will handly this new drug well. I'll keep you all updated as things progress.

Thanks to Jim who drove me and acted as my patient advocate. Big thnaks to everyone who helped me raise the funds to pay for this round of appointments and meds. I am blessed with great friends.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Herxing Sucks

I started feeling worse last weekend and have't improved. I'm begining to experience many of the very same unplesant symptoms I had earlier this year when I was taking 3 course of antibiotics for pnuemonia. This is an excerpt from the internet explaining what I'm going through right now. Let me just say that it hurts, bad. If this is going to be anything like last time I have a feeling the worst is yet to come.

Within a few days (usually one to three) after beginning antibiotic therapy, it is common for many patients with Lyme to suddenly begin experiencing a worsening of their symptoms. In some cases, this experience can be extremely uncomfortable. Additionally, it can also be mistaken as an allergic reaction to the antibiotic drugs that have been prescribed. In actuality, this reaction is a positive sign that the antibiotics are working and is known as the Jarish-Herxheimer reaction. Commonly this name is abbreviated to Herxheimer, or simply “Herx.”

A Herxheimer occurs because the Bb bacteria, under attack from the antibiotics, start to break up and die, releasing toxins and other harmful debris as they do so. This, in turn, causes the body’s immune system to temporarily go into overdrive in order to cope with the abrupt deluge of toxins and debris.

A Herxheimer can last from a few days to two weeks or more, depending on how disseminated the Bb bacteria is in the body. The greater the dissemination, generally the longer a Herxheimer will last. During this time, in addition to the temporary worsening of previous Lyme symptoms, one may also experience chills, fevers, headache, nausea, and even a drop in blood pressure levels. Don’t be alarmed by this, and don’t stop taking the antibiotics that have been prescribed. Do, however, contact your physician to let him know what you are experiencing, so that he can determine if your symptoms are due to Herxheimer and rule out a true allergic response to the drugs. Two “natural” ways to reduce the symptoms of Herxheimers are hydration (2 to 3 quarts of quality water a day) and the bioflavonoid quercitin (500–1500 mg per day).

Another important consideration to be aware of is that major Herxes generally occur during the Bb bacteria’s growth phase (which phase is also known as a “Lyme cycle”). This is also the time during the Bb bacteria’s life cycle that antibiotics are most effective in eradicating them, since they are most vulnerable during this phase. Lyme’s growth phase occurs approximately every three to four weeks (up to six weeks maximum), and therefore, intermittent symptom flare-ups or Herxes usually also will occur at those same intervals. These cyclerelated Herxes continue to occur over time until a sufficient quantity of Bb has been killed off. In most cases, symptoms of subsequent Herxheimer reactions are shorter and less severe than the initial one, indicating that treatment is progressing successfully. If your reactions continue to be of the same severity and duration, this may be a sign that there is dysregulation of your immune system that needs to be addressed or that the antibiotic regimen may need adjustment. Also, there are times when untreated co-infections need immediate attention, after which time Lyme can be successfully addressed. Whatever the cause, it is important to alert your physician if your Herxheimer symptoms continue unabated.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dos Mariposas

I was looking out the window this afternoon gazing at my tomato plants and I noticed a butterfly on a leaf. I couldn't tell what kind of butterfly it was and the more I looked the more I was sure there was something else on the leaf as well. So, I decided to sneek out to take a peek and I found two butterflies. They were doing it! I was able to run back inside, grab the camera and snap a few photos. After a few minutes they flew away in an embrace. It was pretty awesome. My guess right now is that this could be a Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus, 1758). Note the large size of it's head and only four legs. They have six like all other insects, but the front ones are so small that they are rendered useless. Weird. For more info on this interesting butterfly check out
I sure like these butterflies better then the gophers in my garden.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You look good

WARNING: rambling and venting both occur in this post

People keep telling me that I look good. I'm glad because I feel like crap and at least I know I still look good. Also I can control the way I look, unlike how I feel. So I try to at least look good. On the other hand, because I'm not ovbiously broken or sick looking and not bed ridden I think people don't understand that I am sick and I don't feel good.

Lyme is not like the flu, you can walk around all day and do things and no one would even know if you didn't tell them. However, I feel like I've had the flu for a year or more. I'm tired all the time and I sleep a lot. Sleeping doesn't even seem to help. And, if I'm really tired then I get insomnia and don't fall asleep until 1am or later. I have woken up with a headache every day for 3 days in a row. My teeth ach for no reason. I feel like there is coton or spider webs in my brain. Everything is foggy and unclear. I can't process new information very quickly. Sometimes reading is hard because when my brain is coudy my vision often also gets blury. I can't remember things. I mean I really cant remember. I often ask several times a day what day it is. Sometimes the only reason I know is because I have 3 dialy pill reminders that are labeled with the days of the week. I sometimes can't remember what I did the previous day or why I walked into a room. I walk around the house in circles trying to get one thing done but everytime I go into a new room I forget why it was I went in there in the first place. I'm sorry if I have forgotten your birthday, anniversary, party, child's birthday, special event, what we talked about last, why I called, or what I was trying to say. It was not on purpose or out of neglect, just that I simply can't remeber.

One of the things I have a hard time remembering is how to get places. I can imagine in my mind where I am and where I want to go, but the path in between is fuzzy. It's hard to give directions to my house and when I stop to think about it for I while I can feel the other person thinking, don't you know how to get to your own house? I get the same thing when I can't remember my phone number or....... (forgot already).

This is part of the reason I don't drive anymore. I end up somewhere other then where I wanted to go. I can't decide when I come to an intersection which way I need to go and next thing I know I'm not where I thought I was going. I'm also having a hard time judging the speed and distance of other cars. I'm now that old lady that waits until the road is completly clear in both directions before I creep into the road. I get vey anxious about even the thought of driving and my heart starts beating faster. Driving also hurts my arms. It used to be just my left arm after longer trips, but now it's both arms and sometimes my hands cramp up or go numb. My knees and hips also get achy and crampy when I sit in the car for a while. It has even bcome uncomfortable for me to go on longer rides with Emiliano driving. I'm always asking to pull over so I can get out and stretch or go to the bathroom or get something else to eat. Please understand that if I can't attend your event it is probably because I either don't feel good or can't get there. If you haven't seen me in a while those are likely the two reasons why. Please understand that I still want to be friends with everyone, I still want to hang out and do things and go places. I just can't do all the things I used to, I usually need a ride, and I have to go slower then normal. But I'm still interested so please don't stop asking or inviting me. I really appreciate it.

My arms hurt so much and are so weak it hurts me to hold babies, or groceries (can't go grocery shopping alone), or a few books, or hangers with clothing, or a pan of water. So please forgive me if it seems like I'm not helping out or chipping in, or if I don't want to hold your kid. I would love to be doing all those things and more, but it simply is not comfortable for me.

I'm sorry to vent like this, but I have been feling like crap for a few days now and I feel like very few people understand me and what I'm going through. Oh yeah, I'm not depressed. I am actually really happy inside, but it's hard to express it the way I used to because that takes a lot of energy. But, please believe me when I tell you I'm happy and not depressed. Bummed out sometimes for sure, but it always passes and the giggles return. I am a bit chemically unballanced because the Lyme bacteria release a toxins into your body when they die and that has efects on my mood and processing and such. But I think anyone who has been sick for 3 years would have a few imballances every now and then.

Thank you to everyone who has called, asked how am am, offered to help, actually helped, donated time, items, money, bought jewelry, given love and support. I can't believe all the wonderful things people are doing for me. I really appreciate it a lot. I feel like this disease has brogught me closer to some people and that part about it I really like. Please continue to call, email, stop by, help out, check in, etc. I'm going to need it even more when Emiliano goes back to school. Please also ask him how he is doing as well. He spends so much of his free time taking care of me and I know it isn't easy for him all the time. I'm so lucky to have him and wonderful friends around to support me.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A visit with Ambrosia and Gwen

Last Wednesday Ambrosia drove over the hill for a visit. She brought Gwen with her and I got to play with her all by myself while Ambrosia took a shower. Gwen had fun playing with all my little stuffed animals and chasing the soccer ball around the house. She also liked the pieces from connect four and seemed to know the difference between the red and black ones. I would ask her to show me a certain color and she got it right every time. Maybe it was just luck, but I was impressed. She is just so cute and I can tell she really likes visiting with me.

Ambrosia is such a great friend and while she was here she took me grocery shopping at whole paycheck as my friend Michael calls it. Emiliano and I were both so thankful for the ride and the help. Gwen chewed through a baggie of bulk food and made a mess, but she was still super cute.

Ambrosia also brought a bunch of stuff for my yard sale. The baby items she brought were a big hit and our yard sale was super successful. My goal was to make $300 and we have made $316! Thanks everyone who donated to the cause. The money is going pay for my next doctor visit at the end of the month.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Inch by inch, row by row.....

This year's garden has been a fun adventure. Emiliano has been doing most of the work this year because I've been tired. He's done an awesome job.

Right now we've got bunches of basil, leafy lettuces, tons of tomatoes, super big squash, and so much more. It's so great to go outside and pick something to eat. There have even been times that every veggie on our dinner plates came from our back yard.

As with any garden there have also been surprises. We had soooo many volunteer plants this year it was crazy. We've got volunteer flowers blooming here and there. We have a forest of tomatoes from last year's seeds. We have so many tomato plants we probably could have gone with out planting any seedlings. The great part is that now, we've got about 7 or more varieties of tomatoes growing back there. The other day when Ambrosia was here I discovered we have a yellow variety of tomato growing. Whoo hoo! We also have volunteer summer squash, ron de nice squash, and zucchini.

There have also been a few challenges. The first was removing the hundreds of tomato seedlings so that we would have space for other things to grow. Then our peas died and the squash plants began wilting along with the sugar snap peas. That was when we realized we have a gopher. Emiliano smashed down the holes and drenched the area with water to discourage the critter and encourage the plants to send out new roots. Now our cucumbers are giving out and I think it's because of aphids. Guess we need some ladybugs.

Even so, it had been so wonderful to sit back there and enjoy the flowers and strawberries. I love our garden!


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