My journey to dealing with Valley Fever

Dry soil of Arizona where Valley Fever Fungus reside
This is the place where I went walking several times with my dog. This was behind an RV resort we were in. Some days it was windy and dusty and I believed this is where I got infected with Valley Fever.

Beautiful Bullhead City at night in Arizona

I've seen on the NBC nightly news last night, a person who was dealing with Valley Fever. It brings back memories of my own battle against Valley Fever and I'm so grateful I overcome it, not easy journey but I did. 

My family and I travelled (RVing in and out of Arizona) but unfortunately on one of our trip there, I explored a place where Valley Fever reside. It is a fungus called Coccidioides that lives in soil. I was just walking my dog on a windy day and little did I know, I inhaled this fungus and I got infected. 

I started feeling sick about 2 weeks after we left. Here's the Timeline of when I got sick and trying to figure out what sickness do I have. Here's my struggle and the effect of Valley Fever to my body. And here are some of the procedures I went through, I even went in for colonoscopy. After a long three months of being sick, worrying and wondering, and trying to figure out what sickness to I have, I finally got a diagnosis. 

The challenges 

It was long, challenging, and difficult to get a diagnosis for Valley Fever because it is not common up where I was. It takes a special test for it, a specific blood test that'll show if I'm being infected with Coccidioides fungus. If I went to a clinic in Arizona, I might have gotten tested and diagnosed sooner. 

Having no health insurance was another challenge. I've seen several health care providers, taking several tests. Those tests were not cheap, Biopsy, colonoscopy, CT scans, etc. 

The symptoms that I had was ridiculously alarming. From a mild sinus infections, to covid-19, to even cancer. My blood tests was off the chart. Everything was not normal. It really was so difficult to diagnose. 

I remember, I got a few conversations from my provider, an options for cancer treatment and such. It was scary.

How I got diagnose with Valley Fever?

Anyway, I am very grateful that my doctor didn't stop trying to help me. Even though I didn't have health insurance, he kept helping me, he kept finding ways to diagnosed me until a CDC (Center for Disease Control) doctor came in to the picture. My doctor called me up and told me to check myself in to ER and from there the CDC doctor will come see me. And so that's when Antifungal treatment started. 

How long was I under Antifungal Medication?

I took those pills religiously everyday for a year! Buying those pills was not easy when traveling (RVing). I had to buy a month or two worth depending on the pharmacy availability. But on July 18, 2022, I took the last 2 Fluconazole pills and I'm glad it was done!

What happened to my medical bills?

Having no health insurance, it was difficult. However, with the help of my medical providers, I signed up for a grant and got approved. Hospitals and doctors bills got paid off. The only thing I had to pay was the out of network bills like lab tests which a ton of them, CT scans,  etc. which I just paid one off a week ago. Even though I didn't have to pay for the big bills, the ones I had to pay was still in to thousands of dollars. But I am so grateful, thankful, and blessed, that I was one of the luckiest recipient of  a grant with PeaceHealth.

So what now?

I am feeling much better now but after taking those antibiotic for a whole year, I need to flush out whatever was the side effect to my body. Staying healthy, eating healthy, taking vitamins and probiotic. 

Blue Mesa of Petrified Forest NP in Arizona

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