Me looking at my biopsy in the microscope:
One-sentence summary: A less-than-gentle landing from a beach mini-holiday to DEFCON Level 1 medical attention; Mike blood tests return negative — to “probably” a false-negative — to an inviable (read: altogether just wrong and useless) test; admitting into a public hospital waiting in a “first-come, first-push” line to be seen by tropical disease specialists; suddenly immersed in Very Scary Spanish; a series of invasive tests and opinions; a clinic full of people on IV’s, covered in similar lesions, undergoing research testing for an international study; and finally a series of positive-positive results and a semi-prompt flight to the States.
Right Now: It was a rough week. Anything to get out of a regional meeting.
No one panic. I am fine.
I am not contagious, not in pain, no longer possibly dying from Mike, and at some point this week I hope to begin treatment.
And no, I do not know what the treatment is, how long, what it looks like, and every hour it changes. I am not allowed to leave DC, nor visitors, nor to have an independent thought without a government form.
So you’re going to have to be patient and wait too.
Hashtag, Jazz Hands.
Expression of the Week: Departamento de Enfermedades Infeccioasas Tropicales y Dermotolicas – if you can’t translate that on your own you don’t want to add it to your lexicon.
Week Thirty-Five. Each day felt like its very own month.
Last week’s blog I left off speculating if my new pet “Mike” (a chronically unhealed bug bite in my right forearm) was, in fact, a properly self-diagnosed botfly larvae or something from the Dark Ages.
Mike is something much tinier and a lot more serious. Mike is a New World Order of said disease from the Dark Ages and -fun fact- he appears to be 98% Brazilian. Plus, it turns out “Mike” is really a million different microscopic Mikes.
And they are attacking my cells.
And they are winning.
I am still not publishing the diagnosis or pictures because I don’t trust any of you with Google. Just skip that part.
Trust me, I suffered enough for us all this week. Please enjoy the highlight reel.
My rare jungle disease friend comes from a tiny-neighbor version of a mosquito, in a very specific environment that does not exist in the States. If this said insect is 1) female, 2) infected with Mike, 3) pregnant on a Tuesday while Mercury is in Retrograde, and 4) feeds on you after a bridge collapse… well, you get a parting gift.
As you can see, a lot of logistical planning went into getting out of this regional meeting.
Mike takes months-to-years to multiply under your skin and eats you from the inside out and you eventually (after a very very very long time) die.
One RPCV asked me why I didn’t just get a yeast infection. Once again, I may have overdone it.
There are three levels to Mike: 1) That’s Kinda Shitty, 2) Oh That’s Really Shitty, and 3) Oh Girl, You Gonna Die Badly.
It was a long week of some ups and downs but Mike & I are at a very early Level One: That’s Just Maybe Kinda Shitty.
Remember. Nobody panic.
The rarity and severity of this particular critter has resulted in my medical evacuation from Peru to Washington D.C. due to Peace Corps Medical protocol. It can be treated in that one clinic in Peru, but it is a month of daily IV treatments in a clinical research study and the NIH wants me all to themselves.
Finally. It feels so nice to be wanted for my body again.
Vamos a ver.
Leaderboard: Four letters from Lander addresses arrived and wait for me in Oxapampa. Site mate B is working on getting the packages.
Sorry guys. It may be awhile. xo