Our Lyme Disease Story

Did Michaela Have Babesiosis, a Malaria-Like Disease?

When traveling outside the country, do you ever worry you’ll contract malaria? In the U.S., malaria was eliminated as a public health concern in 1949. Yet you can still get a malaria-like illness here called babesiosis.  

Like malaria, babesiosis can cause chills, headaches, sweating, nausea, high fevers, and abdominal pain. If you’re elderly or have a weak immune system, it can even be fatal.

Babesiosis: To Treat or Not to Treat

Because of Michaela’s high fevers, Dr. McIntyre suspected she might have babesiosis. But—though she tested positive for early Lyme—she tested negative for co-infections, including babesiosis. Of course, as with Lyme, false negatives occur.

Since she no longer had symptoms, Dr. McIntyre didn’t want to treat her unless she knew she had it. Plus, let’s be honest. Michaela would have battled taking that bitter-tasting, fruity-smelling, neon-yellow nightmare

Babesia Treatment: Neon Yellow and Nauseating

But, if Michaela did have babesiosis, Dr. McIntyre didn’t want it to get worse.

Enter IGeneX

Among the Lyme community, IGeneX is recognized as the best lab for tick-borne diseases. But our insurance didn’t cover testing there, so Dr. McIntyre ran most of our labs through LabCorp

Though she said it was optional, Dr. McIntyre suggested we test Michaela through IGeneX. That way, we would know for sure, one way or the other, whether to treat her for babesiosis.

Michaela Brunke's Lifetouch School Picture Fall 2018
Michaela’s school picture: fall 2018.

“If it was your daughter, would you test her through IGeneX?” 

Dr. McIntyre thought a moment and then said, “I would.”

My mom, who had already been paying for me and Michaela to see Dr. McIntyre, offered to pay for the tests. 

The next day, I took Michaela to get her blood drawn and then FedExed the tubes to IGeneX in California. 

Want to know the results? Stay tuned for the next part of our story! Want to know when I post it? You can subscribe to my blog here.

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