Saturday, May 25, 2013

Babesia: 'Malaria at its Worst'

I have just begun the next phase of my treatment: the fight against Babesia. My father has conquered this co-infection and my sister Julia is ahead of me in treatment for it, so I rely heavily on them while going through this protocol which includes several very aggressive antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs (and yes, it is possible the people at the pharmacy think my family is insane given all the weird medication we are all on). Not to mention I frequently call in my refills, forget, and then call them in later that day. But back to Babesia.

Babesiosis is a co-infection of Lyme which is unfortunately fairly common and can be fatal. Its symptoms mimic Malaria and even look like Malaria under a microscope, making it difficult to distinguish between the two (remember, Lyme is known as "The Great Imitator). This protocol can be one of the worst times of a Lymie's treatment.

This first week of treatment has been pretty rough--the side effects of the medicine plus the herxheimer reactions are a lot to deal with. So I have been doing a lot of research on it...I feel as if the more I understand the disease the better I will be able to cope. For example, did you know that Babesiosis was supposedly one of the Plagues of Ten that were brought to the evil Pharaoh of Egypt? 

The following is from ABC New's article:

  • Babesiosis, a co-infection of Lyme, is a potentially deadly tick-borne illness that mimics malaria and can be fatal for those who are immune-compromised (like Lyme patients)
  • Babesia is not a new infectious disease: According to Dr. Gary Wormser, chief of infectious diseases at New York Medical College, "One of the earliest reports of this condition is in the Bible and the Plagues of Ten that were imposed on the evil pharaoh of Egypt." 
  • Of those who are hospitalized for babesiosis, 1 in 20 dies, according to Wormser. "It's a lot like malaria at its worst."
  • Symptoms include a high fever, as well as a powerful headache

This is a video clip from the "Monsters Inside Me" series on Babesiosis and how it moves throughout your body. There are several more YouTube clips on Babesia from Monsters Inside Me (I suggest you look them up!) but they are from home recordings (people holding up a camera to the tv) since sharing these episodes seems to be rather difficult and above my simple knowledge of all things tech.

According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, "The clinical features of babesiosis are similar to those of malaria and range in severity from asymptomatic to rapidly fatal. Most patients experience a viral infection–like illness with fever, chills, sweats, myalgia, arthralgia, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue. On physical examination, fever, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, or jaundice may be observed. Laboratory findings may include hemolytic anemia with an elevated reticulocyte count, thrombocytopenia, proteinuria, and elevated levels of liver enzymes, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine. Complications of babesiosis include acute respiratory failure, disseminated intravascular coagulation, congestive heart failure, coma, and renal failure."

I will post more information as I learn it. You can find the scientific explanation anywhere--but that does not help me much, as I did not deem paying attention in any of my science classes as worthy of my time or energy. I do know that side effects of treatment can be extreme--some so much that people have to take months off of treatment. I have eight months ahead of me and am going to try my best to detox like crazy so that I will not have to pause my treatment and delay my healing. 

I ask for your prayers for my entire family as we fight this battle together. I will provide more anecdotal information on my personal Babesia battle as I move on from week one. 

UPDATE: This Babesia treatment has been a lot harder than I was prepared for. I started last Monday and have been in bed since then (10 days so far). My Herx symptoms have been: extreme nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, migraines, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, irritability, mood swings, brain fog, and exhaustion--I cannot even stand up to brush my teeth! I have been really working on detoxing as much as possible to decrease the symptoms. I have another week and a half off before I start the next round so for now the worst is over :)

Check out my Babesia Update and see how far I have come in my Babesia treatment by clicking here