Locality: Abita Springs, Louisiana
Medical Diagnosis of Blastomycosis?: Yes
Where Caught: Taos,New Mexico. I was told it was mold that comes from wood and old soil. I was cleaning the patio of our RV Resort,(working as the Mgr) and it was Summer, 2007. There were stacks of old clay pots in the corner of the yard, filled with dead mum plants, all dried up soil. It gets cold in Taos winters, so all plants had died that winter, and dozens of pots were piled up . I decided to replant for the patio, and made a compost box for my pile of potting soil from these pots of dead plants. I banged those dead bushes roots against the wood fence to dislodge the dried out potting soil, then I wet it down, stirred it, wet some more,added fertilixer, & after refreshing the soil, I planted new hanging plants all over office, patio, bathrooms, etc...I had NO IDEA this fungus/disease existed.
Symptoms: Around Oct.07, I had a deep cough, simultaniously felt like I was stabbed in my shoulder blade(in my back)We left Taos for Pahrump,Nevada(Snowbirds they call us) where we were escaping the brutal winter of Taos,planned to return Taos in April 08.While in Nev. I noticed no appetite, weight loss of over 46# over 6mo.period. No appetite. tired a lot, weakness, night sweats.
In Feb.08, felt so weak, sought out medical treatment in a clinic. I thought I had GERD, with complications. Had one localized sharp pain under left breast in ribcage, described to Doctor like (feels like a gunshot wound) soreness all the time. In my head, I'm thinking it's stomach acid reflux eating away my insides.
Treatment: Nevada, catscans diagnosed pneumonia, looked REALLY bad. Exray looked like a huge white coocoon had encased my left lung and lower right lung. Heading down to LA., stopped at emergency room in Albuquerque, again pneumonia diagnosis, kept me 3 nights, but treated me with antibiotics.
Got to Louisiana(rushing home b/c my Mom was dying of cancer. Went to Emergency Room in Covington,LA. Saw Pulmonologist PRONTO. Next day, he had done a bronchoscopy,biopsy, and told me things look bad, perhaps LC or RARE fungal disease. Next day, he came in with Disease Specialist, who told me I have Blasto, hearing my story,said I was lucky to be alive,and began treatment with Sporonox.
Cost of Treatment: Hospital bill for 4 nights was $8. after Medicare paid for it. Docs went easy on me also. However, Sporonox cost a killer, 30 pills cost $$243. Found Itraconazole from Can. Pharm. (90 for $304.) They were legit meds.
Additional Comments: Deepest grattitude to Drs. Richard Casey & Michael Hill,with their support, iterest, dedication, sympathy, and compassion beyond any I've ever found in medical staff , without whom I would not have survived this nightmare of Blastomycosis, and the loss of my Dear Mother on May 10, 2008.