I am almost scared to celebrate this because I don’t want to jinx myself. And I don’t think I’ll really ever feel “safe” from this thing. But: 12 weeks post-treatment with no recurrence, which means I’m considered “clinically cured.” I’m still recovering, and I’m working to rebuild my microbiome. It’s been a slow process to get where I am, but I am better. I can’t eat whatever I want. I have to be careful. And I am being very careful not to get sick again because the last thing I want is another antibiotic. I had just turned 40 when I got sick. I have been very healthy my entire life. I never imagined I could be this sick, and I hope I never have to experience anything like it again. I am grateful for the C-diff Foundation, which has so many great resources.
My story if you’re interested:
At the end of August, I was diagnosed with and treated for the worst yeast infection of my life. I took two rounds of Diflucan. Things were better for a while. And then it came raging back—except this time, it was both yeast and bacterial. So I got another round of Diflucan and a round of Flagyl.
Mid-September, late one night, I got really sick to my stomach. Lots of gurgling and plenty of diarrhea. Figured I ate something that didn’t agree with me, went about my life. Except, I kept having diarrhea—maybe 4-5 times a day. After a week of this, I saw my doctor. Diagnosis: Suspected salmonella. Apparently, there was a small outbreak in our area. It was related to onions. What did I eat right before getting sick? Take out veggie pizza—with onions. Blood tests indicate infection. Doctor treats with antibiotic, says to call if it doesn’t clear up in a few days.
It does clear up. Yay! For two whole days. Boo. And then it comes raging back—well, the symptoms anyway. Only now it’s like 100 times worse. I can hardly even leave the bathroom. Call doctor…who is on vacation. Get appointment with a different doctor, who does blood work and an exam and orders a stool test. In the meantime, another broad-spectrum antibiotic: Cipro. Because of all the bacterial infections we’re testing for, all the likely culprits, Cipro should destroy them.
Turns out, I am allergic to Cipro. But the allergic reaction wasn’t worse than the other symptoms, so I stayed on it. Until the doctor called with the news: stool test came back for clostridium difficile, aka c-diff. Doctor says to immediately stop Cipro because that’s probably been making it all worse. Apologizes, says c-diff was the most unlikely possibility. Explains I got it from…taking antibiotics. And also the treatment for it is…antibiotics. Calls in script for Flagyl. Sends info about c-diff to MyChart (this all the info I got). Everything else I learned, I did through my own research. I’m fortunate to work in higher education and have quick and easy access to all sorts of research and medical journals.
I did ten days of Flagyl. Things got better but not great. Call doctor who is back from vacation who says, “She shouldn’t have put you on Flagyl. That antibiotic is no longer the first line treatment for c-diff because it’s not nearly as effective as others.” So…she calls in a script for Vancomycin. Another 10 days. I couldn’t eat anything. I was very dehydrated. I managed to stay out of the hospital but barely. I lost 26 pounds—fast. I was so sick.
Vancomycin cleared up the diarrhea, but right after finishing it was some of the worst pain I experienced through this whole ordeal. I had lower left-hand abdominal pain. Pain in my lower back. Pain on my right side. Pain everywhere. Doc sent me for a CT scan to ensure there was no damage. CT scan came back showing expected inflammation and nothing more. So I set about recovery. I walked through the pain. I did yoga stretches for pain relief. I practiced meditation for pain relief. I adopted Ayurveda principles for health. I began recovery and then rebuilding. And here I am: 12 weeks post-treatment, no recurrence.