Last year, Darien resident Dan Dolcetti developed a red rash on his left arm and started to get out of breath when walking.
At the recommendation of his daughter-in-law Laurie Dolcetti, who was diagnosed with Lyme disease, when he went to his physician for his yearly physical he asked for a Lyme test. He tested positive.
His daughter-in-law suggested he also get tested for Babesiosis, which is a malaria-like parasite that infects red blood cells. While the test for this condition came back negative from the local laboratory, when Dolcetti had additional testing by a Lyme laboratory in California, his results were positive.
“The lab in California magnifies your blood 1,200 percent and that’s how they caught it,” Dolcetti said.
Once he was diagnosed, he did research and discovered that his rash and shortness of breath are symptoms of Babesia. He had thought the rash was from an allergic reaction and the shortness of breath was due to low blood pressure.
“Babesia mimics other conditions,” Dolcetti added.
To treat his conditions, Dolcetti took a course of medication over many months.
“My rash went away and I was cured,” he said.
About four months ago, Dolcetti’s wife, Marilyn Dolcetti, developed bumps under her skin, and tested positive for Bartonella.
Bartonella is a group of infectious diseases that come from ticks, fleas, spiders, and a cat’s scratch. It can cause chronic fatigue problems. She is currently taking medication to treat it.
According to Lymedisease.org, both Babesia and Bartonella are Lyme disease “co-infections” that are caused from ticks.
Self advocate
Dolcetti’s message is that “everyone should take a Lyme test when they go for a physical.” He also said they should get tested for Babesiosis and Bartonella.
While people tend to be familiar with Lyme disease, much fewer know about some of the other tick-borne conditions that they can also get, according to Dolcetti. “It depends on what the tick is carrying,” he said.
“Even if you don’t have any symptoms of any of these conditions, you have to be your own doctor and advocate for yourself,” Dolcetti said.
“I dodged a bullet,” he added.
sfox@darientimes.com