Our Lyme Disease Story

Flu Season Robs My Med-Free Victory

Nowadays, we don’t tend to take the flu seriously. We might get a vaccine at the beginning of flu season, but, besides that, we don’t worry about it much. But from 1918 to 1919, the flu killed fifty million people in the influenza pandemic. 

Thankfully, modern medicine helps make our current coronavirus pandemic less severe. Still, we’d all love to be healthy enough to go med-free.

Going Med-Free

At my sixth appointment with Dr. McIntyre, she told me to finish my bottle of Coartem then stop taking all my meds. After six months of antibiotics, I would finally be free. No more side effects, no more bags of medication, no more neon yellow nightmare

But two days before I went med-free, our older daughter Michaela spiked a 103.4-degree fever. She’d also been having some stomach issues. Could she have C. diff, a potentially fatal complication from antibiotics? I called our Lyme specialist who suspected the flu. 


2019: Michaela Brunke receiving an award from GVES
Michaela receiving an award four days before she got sick.

The next morning, Michaela’s temperature hit 104.6. Fevers over 104 degrees can cause brain damage, so I took her to an urgent care center right away. 

There, my normally independent second grader curled up on my lap and let me rub her head and back.

The nurse practitioner gave her a flu test. It was positive for Influenza A.

I breathed a sigh of relief. She probably didn’t have C. diff. Her symptoms could all be explained by the flu.

Still, at the time, I was reading a novel set in World War I. Towards the end, millions of people started dying of influenza. It wasn’t exactly the kind of story that sets a mother’s mind at ease, especially when her child has the flu.

But Michaela started taking Tamiflu, and—by the next day—her fever had dropped. She was laughing and smiling and acting more like her usual self: seven-going-on-CEO. 

That day, I also stopped taking Coartem, atovaquone, and doxycycline.

Life was good and getting better. 

Spreading Love—and Germs—during Flu Season

Then I got the flu. Michaela’s fever spiked again. Our younger daughter, Angelina, caught the virus too.

“Mark is doomed!” my mom said with a laugh.

Flu season strikes as I go med-free
Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

But my husband took precautions—including wearing a mask around us—and evaded getting sick.

On Tamiflu, Angelina and I started getting better, but Michaela still had a fever. Her pediatrician prescribed Amoxicillin and put her back on her asthma medication.

The next morning, Michaela climbed into bed with me, her usual happy and energetic self. Her mood and my hand on her cool forehead brought a smile to my face: her fever had finally broken.

We all recovered from influenza, and I felt fabulous. For a while. 

2019: Angelina Cheng with Michaela and Angelina Brunke
Two days after we recovered, our friends Angelina and Emily came to stay with us.

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