By Ella Balasa, Guest Writer: For More Info, Go Here…
The bouts of night sweats and the fatigue from the coughing fits that left me breathless over the prior few weeks were nothing compared to the sympathetic nervous system response I was experiencing that day.
I anxiously waited while cameras were set up for my interview. I had already hauled my exhausted body and my portable oxygen concentrator down several long corridors to get to the clinic. Then, sitting on an examination table and appearing stoic to any casual observer but actually utterly terrified as thoughts of horrible side effects swam in my mind, I inhaled my first dose of phage therapy.
I’m the woman that’s been at the center of some recent headline news involving the resurgence of phage therapy, which is the use of a specialized virus to kill very specific antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. Thanks to my highly publicized experience, I now receive social media messages from strangers asking, “Well, how do you feel?” I don’t have a simple answer for them.
I’ve had a bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa festering in my lungs for as long as I can remember. I was born with cystic fibrosis, which is a genetic disease that causes a buildup of thick, sticky mucus primarily in the lungs, but it also affects my digestive tract and sinuses. This sticky mucus gets trapped and breeds infections from bacteria I inhale. Over time, a cycle of infections and the concurrent inflammation from the immune system’s response causes permanent lung damage and can shorten the life span of a person with my disease.
Over the past few years, these infections have become more frequent, so much so that it’s gotten to a point where I require oral antibiotics almost constantly, as well as higher doses of antibiotics delivered intravenously three or more times a year. Yet, the antibiotics’ ability to kill off the bacteria is waning.