I have avoided the topic. But this story must be told.My patient described in this post is a fifty something year old woman who has suffered with intractable neuroborreliosis for years. She failed numerous courses of IV Rocephin. Several years ago she presented with diffuse, small circular, open skin lesions particularly on her forearms. She told me fibers were coming out of the lesions. The patient had never heard of Morgellon's disease; still, I was a bit skeptical. When I witnessed fibers extruding through her skin while she was in my office I knew something unusual was afoot. Treating Lyme disease pursuant to ILADS methods is troublesome enough in my state. Thankfully, she was able to see another physician in California who has had success treating this strangest of maladies.
In addition to her strange dermatological disorder she experienced chronic weakness, pain and confusion. Psychiatric symptoms included auditory hallucinations and racing manic-like thoughts. Her brain MRI showed diffuse white matter lesions. Her neuro-motor and cognitive disabilities left her disabled and feeling hopeless. She failed numerous courses of intensive treatment for both Lyme and co-infections. Her last fairly-recent course of Rocephin for 6 consecutive months had proved unhelpful. My colleague 3000 miles away treated her aggressively with a unorthodox regimen of Stromectal, Ivermectin and Albendazole in various combinations along with Diflucan and antibiotics.
After a year of these therapies her skin was clearing but the other symptoms remained.
She was seropositive for Babesia and had been treated with Mepron and Zithromax for nearly a year. Still, she continutined to have Babesia-like episodes associated with severe sweating. I decided to head in a new direction.
I started with IV Zithromax and Plaquenil. She had some good days: promising. I added Tindamax--a different anti-parasitic drug. It appeared to offer some further benefits. Then I added Malarone, one three times a day with Artemesin; she was definitely improving but my end point, cessation of sweating, had not occurred. Then I added Cleocin, only 300mg twice daily. The sweats were finally gone. And magically--she was back.
Of course she wasn't 100% better but she was stronger and able to attend to household activities. Her mind was fairly clear. She even helped one her kids with math homework.
None of this would have been conceivable 5 years ago.
So what is Morgellon's disease? Is a parasite? Is it a strange manifestation of a Lyme co-infection? It has been reported that 95% of Morgellon's patients also test positive for Lyme.