Zero Days
Project info

In November 2009 I spent a few days hiking in central Virginia, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was deer hunting season and the backroads were crowded with pickup trucks. When I arrived at Pedlar Creek I decided to hike at night to avoid gunshot, and slept late into the next day. I mention this to explain why I did not discover several deer ticks embedded in my abdomen until later that afternoon. I promptly removed the ticks and continued with my hiking plans.

Several days later I noticed large areas of redness surrounding the tick bites, but I didn’t see the distinctive “bull’s eye” pattern in the center that I know to be consistent with Lyme disease, so I remained unconcerned.

I have come to regret that I didn’t visit my doctor right away.

On the day in January 2010 when I did finally visit the doctor for treatment, another skin issue concerned me—two tiny places, the size of pinpricks, about ½ inch apart on my right thigh— but it seemed so minor that I didn’t show it to the doctor. I was prescribed an antibiotic for the tick bites and the irritation surrounding them subsided.

Even as I took the antibiotics, the small lesions on my thigh lingered. Though they weren’t red or swollen, they itched like crazy.

I now look back and recognize this as the beginning of a long, distressing, painful ordeal that continues to this day.

It is interesting to note that the housekeeper at the facility where I work was experiencing a skin problem almost identical to mine in February of the same year. We both had sores on our arms that itched and left scars after healing. At first only my left arm was affected, but eventually the sores spread to both my legs and arms, as well as to my face, around my nose. I thought I had scabies, a common fungal infection, but the sores were larger than a scabies rash. I joked about it being “scabies on steroids.” Some of the sores would heal, but many persisted.

I took several treatments for scabies. Each time the rash improved, but did not clear up completely and would return shortly thereafter.

My sister Cheryl spent time on the internet trying to diagnose the problem, and told me about Morgellons disease. Almost everything I read about it fit with what was happening to me.

Since the scabies treatments seemed to help, I began to periodically apply a 10% sulphur paste across my entire body which provided some relief from the itching, but no cure. Following a recommendation I found online, I tried taking silver internally. For a while I stopped getting new sores, but once I was informed by a physician that silver would not cure the disease and that it can be toxic in high dosages, I discontinued the treatment.

I am now taking Neem capsules daily and reconsidering colloidal silver.

I don’t want to write this down, but I believe some living and dead insects have emerged from my sores.

Lesions have occurred on almost every part of my body, but they do not always look the same. A few have had strange shapes, sometimes curved. Some have been raised and will not flatten, even when healed. Long and short hairs have come out of the sores. The long ones are usually twisted or looped in a strange way. Some are tightly coiled together. The lesions are often next to a bone and go deep beneath the skin. The worst have been near a joint, such as my ankle. They have been located along my upper spine, causing restriction of movement due to the swelling and pain. This condition is ruining my life. There are days when the sensations are so intense and excruciating that I fail to leave my house. I do no chores or yard work and essentially accomplish nothing at all. I call these zero days.