Thursday, March 10, 2016

Triple Whammy - Fighting Infections

I posted on Tuesday about suddenly getting sick, but this is turning out to be way more than my usual ho-hum bronchitis again.

By noon on Tuesday, I was shivering with fever (a rarity for me) and had such severe aches & joint pain I could hardly move. I live with mild aches much of the time, but this was different. I woke up Wednesday morning feeling like concrete had set up in my chest overnight - instead of the loose, wet cough from the day before, I could hardly breathe in and had searing pain in my chest when I did manage to cough. This was definitely NOT my usual bronchitis.

After my nap (spent shivering under blankets even though it was almost 80 here yesterday!), my temperature hit 102, so I took 3 ibuprofen. I had been holding off because I didn't want to mask my symptoms when I went into the doctor, but as my son said, there wasn't much chance of that!

It was finally time for my doctor's appointment at 3 pm, and I barely dragged myself over there. I was explaining to the doctor how fast it came on and how severe my symptoms were, when she glanced at the row of numbers the nurse had written down for my vital signs and said, "I see your OI is bad today, too - your heart rate is 100." I said, "That's not my heart rate - that's my temperature" and watched her eyes bug out!

Like most people with ME/CFS, my "normal" temperature runs low, usually about 97.5 and even when I get a "fever," like with bronchitis, it rarely rises above 99. I think this is only the second time my temperature has risen above 100 in my 14 years with ME/CFS!

She agreed with my assessment that this was almost certainly the flu, given how fast it came on and the high fever. The lab in their office was closed yesterday, so she couldn't swab me for flu but felt it was prudent to get me on Tamiflu right away. She also decided to treat the bronchitis with antibiotics, given my history with it and how prone people with ME/CFS are to bacterial infections.

Before I left, she asked how my chronic yeast overgrowth was doing. I reported that it was still fairly bad; I was still taking Diflucan, alternating days with 1 pill and 2. She told me to go back up to 2 pills a day while I'm on antibiotics...I know this drill by now!

So, it seems I have the flu, bronchitis, and my usual yeast overgrowth. I am now taking antivirals (Tamiflu), antibiotics, and doubling up on my usual antifungals. I should have all bases covered now! Within a few hours of taking the first Tamiflu, my fever began to drop, so I am hopeful this will help and will also prevent my immune system from going crazy and causing a long-term relapse. My son got the flu two Novembers ago, and he was badly crashed for over two months (we didn't realize it was the flu until later).

What makes this even more remarkable is that, because of the immune dysfunction in ME/CFS, my immune system over-responds to viruses, so while I may crash from the immune symptoms when exposed to a virus, I almost never actually "catch" a virus. In my 14 years with ME/CFS, I have never had the flu before and rarely, if ever, catch colds. Oddly, I also just caught my first stomach virus in 14 years at Christmastime. I wonder if this means that my immune system is becoming more "normal"?

Have you had the flu since getting ME/CFS? What has been your experience with infections?


  1. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I get the flu every ten years or so, twice while I've had ME/CFS. Last fall I got three different colds/viruses/flu which like you is unusual and I thought the same thing, perhaps my immune system is normalizing some. Also I no longer get the horrible sinus and chest congestion, which I attribute to being gluten and dairy free for over a decade among other things. In any case I hope you feel better soon!

  2. Interesting. I have had ME/CFS since 2007 and have had the flu only once in that time. I don't recall ever having a cold since I've had ME/CFS. Hope you're feeling better soon!

  3. Like you no illness 'caught' since 2008.
    My symptoms increase and I need more rest when those around me are unwell but I never have the runny nose, temperature, cough, sickness etc etc.
    Really hope you are better soon without deterioration and that your immune system is working more appropriately.

  4. Anonymous4:41 AM

    I still get colds. When I recover from them my ME symptoms feel better too. I've heard others mention this. Odd eh? I hope you feel a lot better soon.

    Jason Hockridge