Category Archives: My Life

C-Diff Awareness Virtual Walk

Got my shirt, and I’m ready to [virtually] walk for awareness tomorrow. I’ll be sharing c-diff facts on my social media to help raise awareness. I’ll also be sharing things people in my support group say they wish people knew. Here’s a start:

🦠 Half a million Americans a year experience CDI (C. diff (clostridioides difficile infection).
🦠 Most cases of C. diff infection occur while you’re taking antibiotics or not long after you’ve finished taking antibiotics.
🦠 My fellow survivors warn you: if they had to do it over, they would NEVER have taken Clindamycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is a high offender for CDI. They’ve literally started a petition to ban Clindamycin. And some of them have had it permanently marked (upon advice of their doctors) as an allergy on their medical records. Spoiler alert: Cipro and Clindamycin are now no-nos on my MyChart!
🦠 C. diff can be life-threatening.
🦠 About 1 in 6 patients who get C. diff will get it again in the subsequent 2-8 weeks. This is often the start of a recurrent cycle of infections that cannot be cured by antibiotics.
🦠 One in 11 people over age 65 diagnosed with a healthcare-associated C. diff infection die within one month.
🦠 C. diff used to be considered an infection that affected only the elderly, those in assisted living, or those in hospitals. But community spread is substantially increasing. Young people are contracting it more and more. So many people in my survivors group are under the age of 40.

Stay tuned…

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Filed under C-Diff, Healing 2021

This Time Last Year

At this point last year I had no idea how bad things were going to get. Run down by stress, overworked and overwhelmed, low on sleep and bad on nutrition, I thought I’d just conquered one viral infection and then one bacterial infection only to be hit with a mild case of food poisoning. I thought I ate something that disagreed with me, and it would pass as these things are wont to do. I had no idea that I’d been inadvertently exposed to a potentially deadly infectious bacterial disease. I had no idea that I would suffer for more than a week before getting a telehealth appointment (thanks, COVID) where my doctor would tell me it’s “probably salmonella. There’s an outbreak in your area. But you’re young and healthy, so it will probably pass in a few more days.” I believed that was true. It wasn’t. I had no idea how bad it would get. I didn’t know anything about c-diff (color me a lay expert now!). It would be weeks more before I’d get the right tests, a diagnosis, and a[n inappropriate and outdated] first treatment. In the meantime, I’d be treated for salmonella, get tested for it and a variety of other infections, parasites, bacteria…and discover an allergy to Cipro. I would lose 40 pounds, quickly, within a month. I would find myself unable to do the most basic tasks. I’d be unable to eat and retain nutrients. I’d be dehydrated. I would finally get that MyChart message and the subsequent phone call: “immediately stop taking all medication. It’s making it worse. You have c-diff.” I had Googled it by that point and knew enough to cry. I could barely walk to the bedroom to tell Trent. He knew enough to call in to work for me and say I couldn’t be there. And so that journey began. But that’s weeks from this date last year when I had no idea how bad it would get.

On this day this year, I struggled. In ways I’d never have imagined a year ago. But I’m going to bed #grateful for progress; a new year; better health (still 🤞🤞🤞). Also, I’m kind of grateful I didn’t know then what I know now… I might not have had the strength to keep pushing on. #ThisIs41 #Healing2021

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Filed under C-Diff, Healing 2021

The Best Friend to Have: One Who Listens

Read this article this morning and the study it references aligns with a lot of what I’ve been learning about neuroscience in my book club:

“The new study found that supportive listening could contribute to cognitive resilience — it seems that having someone who listens to you helps spur neurogenesis, which is the neuroscience term for the growth of new neurons, and boosts synaptic plasticity. Essentially, a friend who pays attention can help your brain continue to work and grow throughout life.”

“Researchers found that people who reported their friends and family listened to them as a source of support had a lower risk of developing age-related cognitive problems, like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. Interestingly, the researchers didn’t observe the same correlation for other types of social support, such as love-affection and emotional support.”

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Filed under My Life, Ripped from the Headlines

Two successes: Tomatoes and Gruyere

Two things: 1) I added some (not too many!) cherry tomatoes when I was cooking my vegetable khichdi for the week. I ate it for lunch 4 times. I also put a tiny tomatoe slice on a sandwich earlier this week. And…nothing bad happened! 🥳 2) I’m so exhausted. Work is crazy. I slept for 9 hours the other night! I am so tired of having to prepare 3 meals a day for every day from scratch in my own kitchen. So I gave takeout another go. Last time did not end well. So we again scoured a menu for something we thought I could try and then I made some custom requests: whole grain bread instead of brioche; no butter for grilling; no sauce with milk. It’s a Ham & Gruyere Melt. I researched gruyere, and apparently it’s lactose free. So I had this sandwich (well, not the whole thing because it’s huge) for lunch today. Fingers crossed it goes well! So far, so good, but tomorrow will be the real tell. It will be such a relief to find at least one takeout thing I can eat! I’m almost 10 months post-treatment. Tuesday will be the anniversary of my first bacterial infection diagnosis and treatment (Flagyl) which started this whole roller coaster. That’s getting in my head obviously. Focusing on my gratitude though! And the tomato success is on the list!

Vegetable Khichdi with a few tomatoes
Ham and gruyere sandwich from First Watch

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Healing 2021, Practicing Gratitude

New food! Peach jam.

I can eat this peach jam! 🍑 Pretty excited since it’s something I don’t have to make from scratch myself. 🙌 Also, it’s delicious (like most everything from Hampton Acres ). 💯 recommend.

I’ve been having it on sourdough toast with a big ole over-easy duck egg (they have the best yolks!) from Bethel Trails Farm). One of the great things about shopping the Simpsonville Farmer’s Market is that when you #buylocal you know exactly what’s in your food. Simple ingredients, nothing extra…which means no hidden dangers to your health (or still recovering GI system, as the case may be).

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Filed under Healing 2021

This article was in my morning reading feed. I have worked really hard on chewing properly! It’s amazing what a difference that makes. It’s helped with acid reflux and with general digestion. I take much more time to eat now than before. Such a small thing but big difference. I’ve also been careful about the times of day I eat, and I’m a big fan of the benefits of fiber (as many of you have heard me say over and over). There’s some good points here about sleep and stress (and general mental health and we’ll being).

The one thing I haven’t heard of or tried is Panta Bhat (fermented rice). Obviously, I know fermented foods are good for digestion and for a healthy gut, but I had never heard of fermented rice. Super simple to make, so I might give it a try.

On a different note, I’m over 9.5 months post-treatment. This time of year is when I first started getting sick. My first antibiotic was prescribed August 31. It was all downhill from there! Stress is real right now with my work life, so I’m trying to remember to manage that because it’s important for my gut. I’ve been using Banatrol as a preventative pretty regularly lately just because I don’t think my mental health can handle any PI-IBS flares right now. Anyway…onward!

https://www.freepressjournal.in/lifestyle/8-best-ways-to-improve-your-digestion

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Healing 2021

Stress, c-diff, PI-IBS

Can stress cause a PI-IBS flare? Absolutely! Could it even make you more susceptible to bad bacteria (like c-diff)? Yup. Can it make active c-diff symptoms worse? Also yes. I’ve know all that to be true based on my own experience and other reading. It’s why I’ve focused so much on not just diet but also lifestyle changes. I know I had high stress when I first contracted c-diff. I know it played a role in my illness. I believe had I not been so stressed, I might never have even gotten sick…or at least it wouldn’t have been so bad.

But it’s always nice to have a little medical expert back-up, right? So…from this article in my morning reading feed:

➡️ “Stress very directly impacts gut health because it impacts the trillions of microbes that live within our digestive tracts, collectively known as the gut microbiome.”

➡️ “…stress changes the way the gut functions, which affects the bacteria balance. Your gut microbiome can also impact your mental health through the gut-brain axis.”

➡️ “…stress can actually enhance bad bacteria — meaning that the bacteria could cause even more harm to the gut than if you weren’t experiencing stress.”

➡️ “Stress can wreak havoc on your stomach, often at the most inconvenient times like before a big meeting or when you’re working overtime. This happens because stress changes the way your digestive tract functions.”

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Healing 2021, Just For The Health of It

PPIs and CDI

I’m just gonna leave this right here. Some points of interest:

👉 “The authors noted that in Europe and the United States, an estimated 20% to 30% of CDIs (clostridioides difficult infections) are now believed to originate in the community, rather than the clinic.”

This is a substantial increase. Previously, most CDI originated in hospitals or assisted living facilities and mainly affected the elderly. That’s simply no longer true. Case in point: me.

👉 “Patients prescribed proton pump inhibitors had roughly double the risk of community-associated Clostridioides difficile infection compared with those not taking the drugs.”

👉 “Patients who use proton pump inhibitors face a moderately increased risk of community-associated Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), and the risk can persist for up to a year following the treatment, according to new research.”

I tossed the PPI I was prescribed once I learned it was a risk factor for recurrence. Not worth it. I had only started it sometime in the last year. I’d had heartburn on and off for years. And took Ranitidine (an H2 blocker) for years. Some people told me that wasn’t how the drug was meant to be used. But my doctor prescribed it, so I thought it was fine. Then Ranitidine got yanked off the market. I dealt with it. I still had Tums, or I’d pop some Famotidine if needed. Then I talked to my doctor about how sometimes when I was working out hard and going down to the floor and back (hello, burpees), it felt like everything was sliding up my throat and about to come out. Like maybe I’d vomit. So she said, “let’s try Omeprazole.” She told me it was a different kind of heartburn medicine, explained basically how it worked, that was all. Ok, cool. I took it. But not religiously honestly. So IDK how much of a contributing factor it was in contracting c-diff…but it could have been a factor. I mean, the antibiotics were the main culprit, and alone they could have done it, but they also might have had a solid assist from the PPI and its impact on my gut.

So anyway: patient beware the PPI script, especially for long-term use. And especially if you need antibiotics regularly for some reason. Ask questions. No offense to my friends in the medical field, but don’t take what they say as gospel truth…or the fact that they offer no warnings imply there’s not a reason to beware. They’re only human too.

Today I manage without medication. Natural aids for indigestion as needed, diet & lifestyle changes (including protecting my lunch time at work…so if we work together, sorry no more sacrificing it for meetings).

Article: https://www.ajmc.com/view/proton-pump-inhibitors-appear-to-heighten-community-associated-c-diff-risk

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Just For The Health of It

Milestone: first meal out

ETA: Update: I SO wanted this to be a success. But at around the 24 hour mark, it became clear it was not. On the upside, unlike with previous attempts, there wasn’t the terrible, painful abdominal pain. So I guess that’s still a win(ish). 🤷🏼‍♀️😭

First meal out in over a year and a half. We walked around downtown and passed on 4-5 restaurants after checking the menus. Settled on Shortfields. I had a turkey burger with feta cheese and sauteed spinach and mushrooms with a plain baked potato. I kept the lettuce and tomato off. It was so good. And so nice not to have to make a meal! Fingers crossed it’s still good tonight and tomorrow, but so far this is a success, and I am grateful for that!

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Filed under C-Diff, Healing 2021, Practicing Gratitude

I’ve said a number of times that the practice of gratitude has been key in my healing and recovery. It especially helped with the post-infection anxiety/PTSD. Even during this latest PI-IBS flare, it helped me. Every night, I list at least three things I’m grateful for. I spend my day looking for those things. It makes a big difference in my emotional and mental well-being.

From this article (courtesy of the gratitude app this AM): “Simply being grateful can give your mood a big boost, among other benefits. For example, a recent two-part study found that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness.”

The gut-brain connection is real. Research and my own experience has taught me one can impact the other: a lot! I really believe this healing journey is mental, emotional, and physical. So if you need a reminder this morning to take care of yourself, here ya go! Mind, body, spirit: you got this! 💜

I’m grateful my zinnias are blooming!

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Filed under C-Diff, Healing 2021, Just For The Health of It, Practicing Gratitude