A bloke was told by doctors he had toxic "black mould" growing on his brain after scratching his elbow on holiday four years earlier.
Tyson Bottenus scraped his elbow on a trip to Costa Rica back in 2018, and since then has been plagued by splitting headaches, facial paralysis and a variety of other debilitating symptoms after a rare tropical fungus spread through his body.
The fungus, while not actually mould, was given the nickname because melanin gives it a dark coloration.
The toxic black mould is known as Cladophialophora and roughly 120 cases have been confirmed since its discovery in 1911, and after months of painful and puzzling symptoms, Tyler is one of them.
In a Buzzfeed feature, he wrote: "That was great to figure that out, but it's not great that I have a fungus in my head."
A neurosurgeon found the growth on Tyson's third biopsy in eight months, with the agonising effects starting just weeks after he and fiancé Liza had returned from their trip.
Doctors had been scrambling for a diagnosis, running unsuccessful tests for brain cancer, Lyme disease, cysticercosis, HIV, tuberculosis and more.
Tyson said: "She called Liza from the OR and said she could literally see a dark fungus with her naked eye. A far cry from cancer she had been determined to find."
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Both Tyson and the doctors are confident the fungus is from a mixture of dust inhalation and the bike accident injury in Costa Rica, and neither are sure on a clear treatment plan.
Cutting out the abscess is not an option since the lesion was too close to the brain, with doctors set on treating the infection with oral antifungal medication to attack the mould.
Doctors have also prescribed dexamethasone, a steroid that should control the swelling and buildup of fluid that cause intense headaches and pressure.
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