This was originally posted on another blog site on July 8th, but I brought it over because I think there is some good info on strep. Thankfully, we have now been taking medication for several days and are finally feeling much better.
We are generally a pretty healthy family. My kids have only been on antibiotics twice each, my husband has not been to the doctor in about 15 years (not that he should not be going for a check-up) and I manage to escape most illness as well. Not this time, Strep Throat hit our house in a nasty way.
Strep Throat Comes Knockin’
In May, I started an eating program called The Plan and the first 3 days began with a cleanse. I absolutely love the program and am still following it to date. However, during the initial 20 days, I decided to give my body a break from my regular daily supplements and this included my daily dose of Immunocal. Dumb. This product is my major defender when it comes to warding off illness and staying healthy. I am sure that the 20 days reprieve, had an impact on my Glutathione levels and my bodies ability to fight off infections. I have always been more prone to catching something during high stress times and typically for me as a teacher, that is September and June. I always seem to make it through the stress and as soon as things are settling and I am no longer running on adrenaline, my body relaxes and illness comes crashing down. In the past, I have been smart enough to double-up on my Immunocal and can often sail through without incident, but with no Immuncal intake for almost a month and high stress at work, the inevitable happened. On June 20th, I became very sick with a bad chest cold that never really seemed to go away. In the midst of this, my son Shay was complaining that he wasn’t feeling well and had a sore throat. He had white little spots in the back of his throat and it was quite red. It looked similar to the photo below.
I thought it might be strep, so I took him to a Walk-In Clinic, but the doctor said it was just a sore throat and didn’t swob it. So here we are, about 17 days later with a huge mixture of good and bad days. Shay’s sore throat seemed to go away on its own, but he has had a high fever, no appetite, little energy, cough, runny nose, numerous nosebleeds and he’s needed lots of extra sleep and even extended naps. He just has not been himself for the last few weeks. I can see him dropping weight and just generally not well. My own symptoms have been persistent as well. Although my horrible cough and congestion have mostly cleared, I have continued to feel a heaviness in my chest and low energy level. So, when I could feel the brutally sore throat starting on Saturday, I knew I had had enough and that we would both be heading back to a Walk-In on Sunday.
Strep Throat…Is it Worth The Wait?
Oh Ya! Many people would be worried about a strep diagnosis and hope that it is not what it is, but let me tell you when I woke up on Sunday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck and looked forward to the diagnosis, so I could get me some antibiotics asap. Unfortunately, we arrived at the clinic at 8:57 am (3 minutes before opening), but proceeded to wait in an air conditioned waiting room until 11:30, when our names were finally called. By this time, I was literally ready to lie on the floor. Although I didn’t do anything as drastic, I did have to spend much of the time folded in half with my head between my legs to try to nurse the pounding headache and horrific sore throat I had. I was virtually unable to swallow or speak (a treat for my family). Even breathing seemed to be difficult. The pain was excruciating. Once in, we were assessed and swobbed (there was no way we were leaving with out a swob, but luckily I didn’t have to cause a scene to get my wish). Within 15 minutes, the doctor came back with little indicator sticks and told Shay what to look for. Doctor Shay delivered the diagnosis – we both have Strep Throat. Yay! That means proper medicine, proper treatment and finally getting well. Yes, as awful as the wait was, it was well worth it.
Waiting for Two Strep Throat Prescriptions Can’t Be That Bad, Can It?
Wrong. I dropped off Shay and went straight to the pharmacy. Being a very practical person, I always like to make good use of my time, so I thought I would pick up the 4 items that had already made it onto my next grocery list even though we just shopped (I hate that). The trouble is, Superstore is very big and I was very sick and very weak. By this time, it was almost 1:30 and I felt like I was close to death. As I leaned on the bar of my cart for support, I shivered with fever and was wracked in pain. I was imagining that I looked somewhat like one of the plague victims from some Hollywood blockbuster like Outbreak. I had VERY SICK PERSON written all over me. Of course, to make matters worse, the organic apples I bought had a faulty scan code and they had to do a price check. When the clerk said, “I am sorry, we just have to check the price”, she was so lucky I was unable to speak. Little did she know that the faint smile and nod that I sent her way really meant, “that’s fine if you don’t mind scraping me off the floor when I collapse.” I picked-up the prescriptions and some Strepsils (to help sooth my sore throat until the antibiotics began to work) and hurried to the car. I took my first dose of both before I left the parking lot and collapsed in bed with a temperature 102.2, as soon as I got home. Other than rolling from side to side to try and find a more comfortable position, I didn’t move for 18 hours. Luckily my husband brought me what I needed and I barely had to get up to go to the bathroom either. I guess when you are unable to eat or drink, there really is nothing to eliminate from your system. By bedtime last night I was still in excruciating pain – my throat, neck and head were so sore that I couldn’t even open my eyes to watch a bit of television. It was at this point that I added something else to my arsenal. Thank the good Lord for “Aleve”. I took one before bed last night and was finallly able to get some sleep. At 11:15 p.m. I woke up to soaked sheets, jammies, etc. I was sweating profusely, but the fever had broken and I felt a little better. Although my throat is still very sore and my headache lingers, I am feeling better than yesterday (obviously or there would be no post). Hopefully, all symptoms will be gone within a day or two. Shay is still not eating much, but never did have symptoms as severe as mine.
Strep Throat and I Have Quite a History
As an early years teacher, I am exposed to many viruses and illnesses throughout the course of a year. Early in my career, I would get Strep Throat frequently, at least once a year. It seemed that I was particularly susceptible to it. My battle with regular strep throat infections continued through most of the 90’s and I became quite good at self-diagnosing and always knew when I need to get to the doctor for medication. In the winter of 1998, it was no exception. I woke up early in the morning to a very sore throat (strep I thought), but proceeded to go to work. I thought that if I could make it through the morning, I would be able to write a proper sub plan. By 10 my condition was extreme. I was unable to drive and had to call my husband to come and pick me up from work. We drove straight to my doctor. I stayed in the car while my husband waited in the waiting room. My throat was unbearable and the headache I had was debilitating. I was literally laying down in the car writhing in pain. When my name was called, Tim came out and got me. After the doctor did his assessment, I was directed to go straight downtown to a neurologist that would be waiting for me to arrive. The neurologist saw me right away and worried that the symptoms were more consistent with meningitis than strep. I was sent to the hospital for a spinal tap. If you want to know exactly what a spinal tap or lumbar puncture is, you can follow the above link and check out the youtube video. Personally I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds, as it brought back too much trauma. My personal definition of a spinal tap is “a trip to hell”. When all was said and done, I was diagnosed with a severe strain of strep throat (obviously long before they invented the quick 10 minute test or we would have avoided the whole fiasco). Anyways, between my brutal case of strep throat and the side effects of the spinal tap. I was completely bed ridden for seven days and was not even able to get up to go to the bathroom. Thank goodness we had hardwood floors. My big bathrobe that allowed me to slide on my back from my bed to the bathroom and back when necessary. It took me 2 weeks to fully recover and I missed 10 days of work. The headache following the procedure was indescribable and the whole episode will never be forgotten, but the interesting thing is that I never got strep throat again…until now that is. Strep and I do not mix well and it seems that when I do get it, I get hit hard. The good news is, I am on the mend and was diagnosed quickly. Thank goodness for the invention of the quick test!
The Importance of Treating Strep
Strep throat ,if left untreated, can sometimes cause complications. According to the Mayo Clinic:
It’s important to identify strep throat for a number of reasons. If untreated, strep throat can sometimes cause complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a rash and even damage to heart valves.
Well, I am feeling a bit better as the day goes on and can’t wait for my body to respond fully to the medication. Needless to say I have been back on my Immunocal supplements and have every confidence that I will dodge the next bullet that comes our way. Have a great day and stay well!