Our Lyme Disease Story

Drug-Induced Lupus? The Week of Murphy’s Law

The Lupus Foundation of America says, “Drug-induced lupus is a lupus-like disease caused by certain prescription drugs.” 

Before I met with Dr. Brinkley to review my blood test results, our family experienced a week of Murphy’s Law.

The Week of Murphy’s Law: Part One

Five-year-old girl in Minnie Mouse outfit with boots
Angelina in October 2019.

According to Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” One week in October 2019, that law seemed truer than ever.

On Monday, our younger daughter’s left eye was swollen, so I took her to the Minute Clinic. The nurse practitioner said Angelina had seasonal allergies that had led to a sty. She prescribed ointment and suggested we put Angelina on daily allergy medicine.

Two days later, I was combing my older daughter’s hair after her bath when I discovered lice. Yes, lice! I had never had lice or seen lice in my children’s hair before, so, at first, I thought the bugs were gnats.

Drug-Induced Lupus, A Lupus-Like Disease

While I was trying to figure out if my daughter had lice, I received a call from Dr. Brinkley’s office. The lady on the other end of the line told me three things. First, I had tested positive for antihistone antibodies, so I might have drug-induced lupus. Second, my Immunoglobulin A was low. Third, I probably had hypothyroidism. 

She instructed me to stop taking rifampin and clarithromycin, my Bartonella meds. A few months later, I would need to have my antihistone antibodies retested.

The Week of Murphy’s Law: Part Two

Soon afterward, I discovered both daughters had lice. I then began the long and frustrating process of delousing their heads and our home. 

Meanwhile, I left a voicemail for my Lyme specialist asking if I could go off my Bartonella meds early. I had already been on them for four months, but I was supposed to take them for at least five or six. 

When she returned my call, Dr. McIntyre said she didn’t think I had drug-induced lupus, but I could go off my meds. After all, I was near the end of treatment anyway. Still, I should watch for a possible return of Bartonella symptoms.

A to Z List of Bartonella Symptoms

Later that day, my mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital. At her regularly-scheduled doctor’s appointment, they had discovered she had dangerously-high blood pressure. Since she lives in Illinois, we couldn’t visit her in the hospital, so Mark’s brother kept us updated. 

By Saturday, Grandma Angie was discharged, and we had finished the bulk of the lice treatment. The week of Murphy’s Law was finally over.

Blood tests for drug-induced lupus.
Image by Ada K from Pixabay

Or so we thought.

The next night, I got a call from our next-door neighbor. He needed to take his wife to the hospital. Could I babysit their kids?

The week of Murphy’s Law eventually ended. But the week afterward, I discovered more about my lab 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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