Posted 3/23/2015 6:17 AM (GMT -7)
Thank you, Lymie Girl, and everyone else. I haven't looked into Cushing's at this point, mainly because I've had a lot of blood work done over the past five years, and all my hormones, etc. have been completely normal--of course, so have almost all of my tests overall. Also, I read about Cushings after a coworker's dog died as a result of it, and of course the stretch marks symptom got my attention...but other Cushing's symptoms include gaining weight in the face and neck, the upper body, etc., and aside from the little bit of fat I've put on since I've become so fatigued, that doesn't match my body type at all. If anything, I am sort of on the borderline of a Marfan's Syndrome body type, as my whole body is a little more elongate than average, and I'm a little more flexible than the average person. But I'm actually going to see a dermatologist today about a mole, and I plan to ask his opinion about all my other skin problems--if he thinks these are stretch marks or could be bartonella rashes. (However, I am aware that an average dermatologist may not be very well versed in bartonella, so I'll be weighing his opinion with that of my Lyme doctor, and plan to continue the antibiotics either way.)
I feel pretty certain I have bartonella, because I've got LOTS of these scars/rashes all over my torso, and a lot of them are fine, small, red squiggles that just simply do not resemble the big stretch marks that people have due to obvious weight gain. Most of mine are white, but all the new ones, and especially the very small ones, are red.
The psychiatric issues discussed in the LymeMD.blogspot article are so complex and confounding to me. I don't know where cause begins and effect ends, or vice versa. Five years ago, the worst of my neurological symptoms hit me light a freight train and sent me to a neurologist for all the typical tests--MRIs, EMGs, everything but a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). In the end, he told me that I am the picture of perfect health and suggested that I see a psychiatrist and take a vacation. I felt insulted--but I was extraordinarily depressed and had begun having panic attacks, and after a few months, I thought that I should be more objective and less sensitive and went to a psychiatrist. I've seen her monthly ever since. She has improve my mental well being tremendously...but she's also been addressing all of my symptoms as potentially psychiatric in nature until recently, when she disclosed that she thinks I should take certain medications at certain times because they've been shown to reduce brain inflammation (a physical problem, not an emotional one), and may well help to prevent the vertigo attacks caused by what was recently diagnosed as Meniere's disease (with attendant 50% loss of hearing in my left ear). That was the thing that finally provoked me to see a Lyme specialist--finding out that, wait a minute, these problems are not "all in your head."
So given my history above, and the fact that I am gay and was severely harassed in my youth and became severely depressed as a result, it is hard for me to know whether the depression, anxiety, anger, etc. is environmental or physiological in nature. Possibly both. Probably both. In a sense, I think I would prefer it to be caused by environmental factors, such as my stressful job, than by an infection in my brain. Just because that is a really alienating, disturbing thought to come to terms with.