Jim Weaver Jim Weaver’s Valley Fever

First post: May 26, 2021 Latest post: Sep 14, 2021
This journey started before his May, 2020, hospitalization where they first diagnosed Valley Fever in Jim’s lungs.  What took us to the hospital was a declining strength, coughing, loss of weight and day of admission “hypoxia” or low oxygen.  CAT scan showed superfine nodules throughout both lungs...something not seen in Billings before by these multiple doctors.  Lots of tests (including a broncoscopy )which ruled out cancer, TB, Covid.  Without confirmation (from fungus grown in a culture which takes about 3 weeks) they started him on an anti-fungal med  fluconazole presuming it was Valley Fever.   He took the medication through August and was beginning to feel normal again. So we stopped the medication. In hindsight, he probably should’ve stayed on fluconozol for life.

January 16 Jim got his first Moderna Covid vaccination. On January 21 he developed really bad chills and became progressively worse.  On the 27th at a doctors appointment he was given a Covid test which was negative, later was giving another Covid test because the symptoms seem to be that but it was again negative. By know he was vomiting up just about everything he ate. So consequently not much appetite and he was losing a lot of weight, very tired and weak. And headaches. February 3  blood tests and got him an IV for fluids. February 4 his chest x-ray showed clear, took another Covid test- negative.  Doctors don’t think it’s a reaction to the Covid vaccination, but I wonder. On February 6 we took him to the ER where they gave him a spinal tap and discovered an infection in his brain lining or meninges… Meningitis.  Nothing unusual on the MRI. CAT chest x-ray was clear.   Admitted to the hospital that day February 6.  Treated for reoccurring VF.  And discharged the 12th.    Remained ill...went in on Feb. 16 for blood test which showed his sodium level was very low and we were directed back to the ER for a hospital readmission. Lots of confusion because tests did not show cocci although it seemed to be a fungal infection or the valley fever again.  Additional tests because of the low sodium levels brought a new diagnosis of “adrenal gland insufficiency”. They took Jim off his anti-fungals.  And added hormone replacement for the adrenal glands.   A biopsy of the adrenal glands was suggested, but there was disagreement with Endrocrinologist wanting to wait a month.  Now they are saying “aseptic meningitis” because additional spinal tap tap fluids did not show a fungus.  Lots of fatigue, poor balance and poor appetite.    The doctors were “mystified”, “grasping”not knowing, “fishing expedition”.  “Based on tests, he doesn’t need to continue the anti-fungal.”   So once his sodium levels were back up he was discharged Feb 22nd.  

On March 11th Jim flew to AZ to join me for the funeral of a dear friend, Del, who passed unexpectedly.  During the time in Scottsdale we tried to get Jim in to Mayo clinic to no success. They said they reviewed his records and called us and said “I’m sorry Mr. Weaver but we don’t think we can do anything for you.“ Probably because we are on Medicare. Meanwhile Jim was not feeling much better often with extreme fatigue.  We were fortunate to learn that the husband of one of my golfing friends was a retired Endrocrinologist from Rochester Minnesota Mayo.  He graciously reviewed all of Jim‘s records and met with us and strongly encouraged us to get home and get the biopsy because he thought that Jim still had  a cocci infection.   So we called back to Billings and set up an appointment for the biopsy.  We flew home to Montana on. April 19th and Jim had his biopsy the 21st. The results were back and we had an appointment with infectious disease doctor on the 28th and he confirmed cocci was found.  Back on a new anti-fungal med.     May 19th at a follow up internal medicine visit we complained about him still feeling rotten and a blood test was ordered that showed Jim’s potassium was very low. So we got medication to bring that back up.  Then four days later the strokes.  It’s been a long bumpy road to say the least.  

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