You know, I really am a regular family doctor, although most of the patients I see these days have Lyme and/or related disorders. Lyme follows me around- like a bad penny.
A "regular patient," came into to see me. She is a 53 year old woman followed for diabetes and high cholesterol. The chief complaint recorded on her chart was "foot pain." I noted that she actually had joint pain and tenderness of the 2nd metatarsal-phalangeal joint of the left foot. I quickly noted some loss of vibratory sensation in the feet which was not unusual in a diabetic. Diagnosis: foot/joint pain- etiology (cause) unknown. I prescribed an NSAID.
Not another one I thought. I reluctantly sent off some screening lab tests. She didn't have gout or rheumatoid arthritis, of course not. Her C6 peptide index for Bb was 2.34, a definite positive for Lyme disease. I asked her to return. The NSAID helped a bit. I asked a few questions. I got positives. Fatigue- numbness and tingling- brain fog- night sweats- they were all present. The sweats, fatigue and brain fog were chalked up to menopause. Her last menstrual period had been over one year ago.
Many post menopausal women I see think that menopause causes fatigue and brain fog in addition to sweats and hot flashes which can have a distinct "flu like" flavor.
I explained the diagnosis and started Biaxin, Plaquenil and Mepron. I recommended Artemesia, but she did not take this at first.
One month later everything was better except the sweats which had increased. The foot pain, fatigue, numbness and brain fog were completely gone. No, most patients do not respond so quickly.
Please start the Artemisia/Artemesin. She did.
One month later- today- she saw me. An incident at work led to an ER visit. She had a bout of chest pain with a negative cardiac work-up. The sweating was gone. It went away right after she started the Artemesin.
I explained that the chest pain was common in Lyme patients. Same meds: follow up in 8 weeks.
Menopause versus Babesia. Sometimes it is a tough call. If the hormone replacement therapy is not working as expected- sometimes Mepron/Artemesin works wonders.