I have Lyme. I’d like to not have it anymore. I also just want cake.
Just finished my fourth round of Coartem. What is Coartem? Well, if we want to get technical and if you feel like reading some fancy (but really not that fancy) descriptive jargon, Wikipedia describes Coartem as the following:
“The combination artemether/lumefantrine (trade names Coartem and Riamet, Falcynate-LF) is a fixed-dose combination artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) indicated for the treatment of acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The individual drugs were both initially developed in China. Artemether is one of the semi-synthetic derivatives of artemisinin, and lumefantrine (also known as benflumetol and CGP 56695 during development) is purely synthetic. The combination is an effective and well-tolerated malaria treatment, providing high cure rates even in areas of multi-drug resistance.”
Personally, I just describe Coartem as $124 out-of-pocket for 24 yellow pills that cause a food aversion like whoah.
But the purpose… I don’t have Malaria. I have Babesia. This wonderful little protozoa is just another infection I likely acquired with my Lyme Disease. Perhaps at the same time, perhaps from a separate bite. It doesn’t matter, I have the stupid thing. It is stubborn. It doesn’t want to die. The standard treatment for chronic forms of babesiosis are anti-malarials paired with an antibiotic to prevent resistance, usually Zithromax, Clindamycin, or Septra. I’ve been on all three. I’ve been on Atovaquone for my anti-malarial since May.
I’ve also been on Arteminisin since May. This is a herb that has been found to nab the little suckers as well.
Around July we introduced this Coartem stuff as a “test of cure” for Babesia. If I got sick on Coartem, I still had it. My symptoms on Coartem were always too vague to really distinguish if I was still sick with Babesia or if it was just my good ‘ole Lyme doin it’s thing.
But, THIS time, these past three days, were awful. I was sick. My heart pounded the entire three-day course. I felt tippy and dizzy. My body literally forgot how to regulate its own temperature and I went up and down from cold to hot to shivering to sweating for three straight days. I was fatigued. Like, I really want that glass of water on the table two feet from me but I will collapse if I try to grab it fatigued. My kidneys ached. My eyes hurt. My left ear kept doing funny things with my hearing. I twitched a lot. Random parts of my body would have flares of pain and then disappear. Is this the Lyme? Or was Babesia just like, chilling out in some biofilm somewhere all this time and now that we’re blasting up some biofilm it’s all like naked and out in the open, ready for Coartem to zap it?
Months ago, nay, a year ago, I started telling everyone I’m totally done with trying to explain or predict this disease. Why I’m still postulating things today seems frivolous as I still can’t ever figure it out. I write it all down on a piece of paper, convinced I am going to be so prepared at my next doctor appointment and we’ll finally get to the bottom of all of this weirdness. Then, classic Tara, can’t pull my brain together to even mention half of the stuff that is plainly written on a piece of paper in front of me during my appointment.
I give up. I am just going to take whatever drugs he tells me to and stop trying to explain every ensuing result.
That is a lie.