Valley Fever: The Diagnosis


In early March of 2013, I came down with what I thought was a mild cold.  My four children had been sick with varying degrees of upper respiratory viruses so I wasn’t concerned about myself at all.  After a week or so, breathing was becoming more and more difficult, so I went to urgent care where I was prescribed 10 days of Augmentin and a five day course of prednisone.  I wasn’t surprised that my asthma seemed to be flaring…that was normal for me.  I found it odd that I was so fatigued all the time that I couldn’t even really get out of bed.  I just figured, “Wow, being almost 40 really makes a difference!”  When I was still just as sick (and coughing even more constantly) ten days later, my urgent care doc ordered bloodwork, including cocci, and referred me to a pulmonologist, who was able to get me in within the same week.

While waiting for the day of my pulmo. appointment, I saw my PCP because I feared my asthma was becoming worse.  He listened to me and assured me that I was breathing fine and was in no immediate danger (which the pulmo. also confirmed).  My PCP was quite certain my cocci test would be negative and that I just needed to get my asthma under control.  I completely agreed.  I still thought it was odd that even codeine and hydrocodone cough syrups weren’t really touching the constant, dry, tight cough I was experiencing.  I actually would have to take one of those and Delsym or Robitussin to get any reprieve, even a short one.

On “pulmo-day” I totally expected to get a few new asthma meds and be sent on my way.   My cocci result was still outstanding so the pulmo’s office called the lab and found out I was positive and said that titers were being done.  I was told it’d be at least another 3-4 days before final results were in.

The pulmo. prescribed 400mg daily of fluconazole and put me on Advair and a longer course of oral steroids.  He told me to nebulize myself with albuterol and atrovent at at least twice a day and to drink as much water and rest as much as possible.  He said I’d likely be fine within 6-12 months and that we’d know more once we had the titers back.

I’ll be going back for some respiratory function tests and a C/T scan at some point, but we’re still waiting for titers.

The more days pass waiting for titers, the more frightened I become.  The stronger the disease is, the longer it takes for the test to conclue.  The stronger it is, the greater risk for dissemination.

Since I’m a type 2 diabetic with poorly controlled blood glucose levels (I’m on 2000mg of metformin for PCOS and it barely improves my BGL) I’m in a higher risk group for dissimmination.  I’ve asked my PCP to add another oral diabetes med to my regime, so that I can give myself a better fighting chance over here.

Currently still in a holding pattern and I don’t like it!


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