In the past six years I’ve learned a lot about bugs. Microbes comprise 70% of all living organisms in the world. And we have ten times more bacteria than human cells. So why ponder these peculiar facts? In short, how we understand the myriad interactions between humans and microbes decides how we treat – or fail to treat – a range of human diseases.
My first unexpected foray into the pathology of bacterial disease started in 2005, as I became increasingly ill with an odd constellation of symptoms that eluded doctors. Looking back, it seems possible I visited every medical specialty in western medicine! My shortness of breath, fatigue, cardiovascular troubles and neck pains puzzled my PCP, ENTs, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, a physiatrist and an interventional radiologist. And that’s not the complete list. I knew I wasn’t crazy as my health spiraled downward into an indescribable hell.