|Babesia ring forms|
He now suffers with severe, abdominal pain, unremitting daily headaches and diffuse spinal pain which has spread to his cervical spine. He has hand pain and swelling, numbness and tingling and burning sensations in his hands. He complains of "charlie horses" in his legs, twitching muscles, disrupted sleep, cognitive decline with memory loss, progressive weakness, frequent urination with a recent diagnosis of prostatitis given, loose stools, an lack of energy and of course profound fatigue. The review of systems was significantly positive for shortness of breath and night sweats.
Prior to our meeting he had been treated by another doctor for 18 months with IV Rocephin. The only treatment has been Rocephin. The physician gradually tapered the dose and frequency of the IV medicine. The doctor told him he (the doctor) understood Lyme disease because a family member had suffered with the illness. The patient was never treated with other antibiotics and never treated for co-infections.The Rocephin had provided a modicum of relief. When this was abruptly stopped (because he had enough treatment) -- he knew the plug had been pulled and he found himself circling around the drain. He was referred by one of my patients.
Blood work for coinfections previously was limited.
New testing showed a Babesia duncani or WA1 titer of 512. His Lyme WB testing from Stony Brook yielded interesting results. The IgM was called negative with bands: 18, 25, 28, 31, 66, 72 and 93. The IgG was reported as indeterminate with band 41 and 58 present only. His blood smear is shown above.
My elaborate discussions of West Blots can be found elsewhere.
This patient relayed (incorrect) information given to him by his doctor -- I hear the same mantra every day: " My doctor(s) told that one type of antibody shows new infection (IgM I think_) and other shows old infection - I forget which is which." "The doctors said I most have been bittern again and have a new infection." Newsflash: Lyme does not play by those rules. See my last Blog.
There is difference between a doctor being Lyme aware and a doctor knowing how to treat Lyme disease. The Lyme was not treated adequately with the appropriate "cocktails" and Babesia, in this case -- florid, dangerous infection - easily diagnosable, was entirely missed. Few doctors are able to set up a CLIA approved labs and do Giemsa smears, but a simple antibody test through Labcorp was positive.
When patients ask me if I am a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor my answer is: "Are you a Lyme literate patient? this is what is important." Unfortunately there is no official certification for a specialty which is not officially acknowledged to exist. The term LLMD has no real meaning. Anyone can use it. Patients have to be their own advocates and know as much about the disease as possible. Learning about the disease is daunting under the best of circumstances and impossible for most patients suffering with"Lyme brains." Nonetheless, keep plugging away. Hopefully a friend, family member or spouse can be helpful.