Up until 2014 I had a perfect record at the dentist. I was always a member of the “No Decay Club,” my dentist’s club for patients without cavities, and flossed and brushed like they told me to.
Okay, maybe I missed brushing and flossing on a really busy night. I mean, I was 21 years old. When I went to my beginning-of-the-year checkup, I had 12 cavities and one decaying wisdom tooth.Yet all four of them had grown in perfectly and previously had no reason to remove them.
So after getting all 12 cavities filled in, while I was lying on the oral surgeon's table to get my decaying tooth removed he said, “Hey, your tonsils are really swollen. You should probably get that checked out.”
While replacing my gauze that night I checked and he was right. I had two flesh pink golf balls in my mouth with white speckles all over them.
Immediately, I made an appointment with my general physician. She and I agreed that this was probably strep throat. She did a rapid step test to be sure before she planned to start me on an antibiotic.
No biggie, right? Wrong.
The test for strep throat came back negative. So maybe it was a fungal infection. My doctor prescribed magic mouthwash which contains an antihistamine and antifungal medication in hopes that this would help with my problem.
It didn’t. So then I went to see my family’s ear, nose and throat specialist. She did a general culture swab and it came back that I had strep.
Wait, what? At first I didn’t have strep and then I did.
The other thing about group B strep is that you may not have those sick symptoms that you get with group A strep. That is why I didn’t realize that I was sick. I had no fever, no cough, no achy feeling or sweats.
We still are not quite sure how I contracted group B strep. It is generally a disease that affects pregnant women, newborns and adults with chronic diseases.
I don’t fit into any of those categories, and this is the only time I have had it and my mother hasn't had it,so it's hard to believe that I was born with it.
The risk factors for non-pregnant adults include having one of several medical conditions — cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease — or being older in age.
We may never know how I got it but at least we were able to find out what it was and it was treatable. This is why I call it a mini-horror story.
Sure, I did not know what I had, and it took two months to diagnose. But I am fine now, and I know what to look for if something similar happens again.
When it did get scary was when my tonsils stayed inflamed for three months after the infection was cured.
My ENT specialist suggested that I consider getting them biopsied to make sure I didn’t have lymphatic cancer. It would have explained contracting Strep B because of the chronic illness element.
The biopsy came back clear, thank goodness. I don’t have cancer. That makes working through an unexplained illness a much more attractive prospect.
Reviewed November 1, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Group B Strep Infection in Adults, Center of Disease Control and Pervention, Oct. 26, 2016.
Group B Strep Infection. MedicineNet.com. Retrieved November 1, 2016.