A month later, I traveled to Africa. But when my plane landed back in New York, my body wasn't safe. Unknowingly I had been infected with what Bill Gates calls the worst thing on the planet.
Upon my return to the States I felt miserable. I was relieved when I received the call that the Colorado youth trip I had volunteered to help lead had been canceled due to forest fires. My energy levels were low and I didn't trust my body to take on the wilderness with a bunch of high school students.
As days turned to weeks, the vomiting and flu-like symptoms ceased, but the debilitating fatigue and headaches didn't. I blamed it on transitioning out of my job and packing up my NYC apartment.
Certainly, I thought, I'll feel better after spending some time at our family lake house in Michigan. But my zombie-like existence persisted, so when I returned to New York that fall (Sept. 2012), I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, and expressed concern that I may have picked up something in Africa.
And so that began my journey to find answers to what might be plaguing me. After 28 months, I received the news I had tested positive for malaria, plasmodium vivax. I was thrilled that something had been identified. But red tape (and a doctor at U of M) prevented me from properly treating the parasite in me.
Seven doctors later, including three tropical disease specialists, this past week I finally received the prescription I've desperately needed to eradicate this parasite from my body.
THIS is victory.
|Celebrating my Malaria Prescription over a Shake Shack Burger|
Yesterday I started Part 1 of my treatment. (The Michigan tropical disease specialist was only willing to prescribe Part 2, while the prescription print out & CDC guidelines insist not to take until you've been treated with Part 1.) Although it is yet to be determined if the medication will help with the chronic fatigue that the parasite triggered, I'll keep hoping (I have to!) that someday I'll return to full health.
In the meantime, I'll keep pressing into my book writing dreams and the hope of meeting a man who will stick with me for the long haul.