Bottom line is that she doesn't think he has bartonella, but - as always - she took our concerns very seriously and spent a full hour with us, thoroughly examining Jamie and questioning him about his symptoms. She's also going to order the bartonella tests, plus some other bloodwork, but first wants to consult with some experts on which tests are most accurate (understanding that none of them are very good and all are prone to false negatives).
Her take on Jamie's symptoms which could possibly be associated with bartonella:
- She doesn't think the lines on his back are a bartonella rash. She says those lines are very common on teens and are normal growth striations and that they differ from bartonella striations in their coloring and their texture. She did a thorough check of other parts of his body where bartonella rashes are common - on the side of the torso under the arms, lower on his back and thighs, stomach, higher on his back - and didn't see anything. Still, she agrees it's worth checking out. She said she knows how common bartonella is in our area and has no doubt there are many people walking around with it who don't know they have it.
- She questioned him about the pain in the soles of his feet and did a thorough exam. She thinks this may be more of a vascular problem, due to OI, especially since the pain only occurs when Jamie first starts to exercise and then goes away completely after he rests for a few minutes. It does happen every time he plays soccer or plays outside, but once the pain subsides 10 minutes later, he's able to go on and play a 90-minute soccer game without any pain at all. So, she wants him to check for color changes the next time the pain hits and also try some lying-down legs exercises before starting to run to see if improving circulation before exercise helps.
- She also questioned him about his headaches, GI problems, and light sensitivity (all of which are often "normal" CFS symptoms).
- Finally, there's the fact that Jamie's CFS symptoms are not particularly flared up - he's been pretty steady for the past year. When I got Lyme two summers ago, I knew immediately something new was going on because all of my "normal" CFS symptoms were much worse.
So, I'm feeling relieved and cautiously optimistic now. We'll see what happens, but I know he's in good hands. I've said it here many times before, but we are so very fortunate to have this pediatrician. She is always thorough and attentive, always willing to learn new things and consult with other experts, and always takes our concerns seriously.
Interestingly, a friend of Jamie's at school probably DOES have bartonella. When they took swimming in gym this winter, Jamie noticed similar marks on his friend's back. I sent some information on bartonella into school with Jamie to give to his friend. Jamie asked him how he's been feeling lately, and he said, "Awful. I'm really tired all the time and have no appetite." (fatigue and loss of appetite are two bartonella symptoms). When Jamie gave him the information, he looked at the Symptom section and said, "Oh my gosh, I have every one of these symptoms!" And this is a kid who is normally healthy, without any chronic conditions. So, regardless of what happens with Jamie, maybe we've helped someone else get diagnosed.
It's time to go pick up Craig, but I'll post symptoms of all the Lyme co-infections tomorrow. It's still something to be vigilant about!
if you think you or your child might have bartonella, check out these photos of various types of bartonella rash.