Category Archives: Guiding Words

It’s Negative!

🥳🎉 It’s negative! Negative! Negative! NEGATIVE! And even better it’s negative on the PCR/NAAT. 🎉🥳


TL;DR skip to bottom.

So c-diff testing, especially for relapse, is a little complicated. No one test is considered accurate enough to treat a relapse. So if this test were positive, I would actually need at least one more test before they pump me full of antibiotics again (antibiotics that, you know, destroy your microbiome and leave you susceptible to bacterial infections). There are 4 possible c-diff tests. The cytotoxicity test is the most accurate all around. It’s the gold standard. Positive or negative on that is pretty definitive. But almost no one will do that test anymore because it’s labor, time, and resource intensive. The ELISA tests (which would have been my next step if positive on the PCR) actually test to see if c-diff spores are releasing toxins at the moment. If positive, you have an active infection for sure. However, it’s less stable and therefore less accurate. The GDH/antigen test is accurate but only tests for the DNA of any strain of c-diff. That means it picks up even non-toxigenic strains, and there are lots of those that aren’t harmful at all. Most doctors do the PCR test for initial infection and first for suspected relapse (followed by an ELISA and/or GDH/antigen). The PCR tests for the DNA markers of toxigenic strains. It’s highly accurate and highly sensitive. Read that again: it tests for the gene that identifies a toxigenic strain. That, my friends, means that as long as they did this test right (and let’s assume they did), they found no DNA markers for toxigenic cdiff. The gene is not there. In a highly accurate test. That means not just am I negative BUT ALSO: I managed to eradicate all traces of that deadly bacteria. That means it’s not early signs of a relapse AND I’m not at risk of relapse anymore!

NO RISK OF RELAPSE!

So maybe I had a virus and maybe it’s a blessing in disguise because I got this test result, which was unexpected. In order to get cdiff again, I would need to actually come back into contact with spores and be reinfected. No relapse. Hallelujah.

Thank you for all your support through prayer, good vibes, positive & healing energy. If you sent it, thank you. This is the best possible result.

Leave a comment

Filed under C-Diff, Healing 2021

Fennel, Cumin, Turmeric

Sharing this article (with recipe) from my morning reading.

➡️ Fennel: supports digestive enzyme production
➡️ Cumin: same + bile secretion, helps with digestion of fatty foods
➡️ Turmeric: anti-inflammatory + supports gut lining
➡️ Cloves: powerful anti-inflammatory

I used the first three pretty frequently when I was healing (and this recipe in the article is similar to one I made…without the veggies until I could tolerate them). I still use them regularly, and I drink a CCF (cumin, coriander, fennel) tea daily, particularly after meals. Coriander also aids digestion.

FoodandRecipes

Leave a comment

Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Maintain 2022

Routine

Today I’m #grateful to be back home and back to my routines! Even before CDI, I always felt best when I was on routine. After CDI, routine became even more important to healing. Even small shifts in routine could cause a PI-IBS flare. That’s gotten so much better now that I’m over a year out. But it’s still good to get back on routine. I’m doing a bit of a kitchari “cleanse,” since I did so much new and different eating over the last week. I’m back to my tea and turkey tail extract and tongue scraping and morning face mask and hour-long dog walks and yoga (although I did do some yoga every morning and evening on a towel in my hotel room 🙂 ). These are all things that helped me while healing, and now they’re a great way to make sure I stay healthy, especially after a change in routine. Just because I healed my gut doesn’t mean I can start taking it for granted again! Do you have a get-healthy or stay-healthy routine that’s helped/helping you?

Leave a comment

Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Maintain 2022, Practicing Gratitude

2022 Guiding Word

I’ve been considering what my guiding word for 2022 should be. I’ve settled on “maintain.”

That might not sound particularly inspirational or aspirational–that’s what I thought. But the word stuck to me like glue. I tried to come up with something better, but it just kept coming back to me: maintain. And there are some obvious reasons for this, I think. After a year of healing, of fighting for my health and wellbeing, a year focused on maintaining it makes sense. I want to maintain my health–physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I want to maintain balance (especially work-life balance). I want to maintain focus, energy, gratitude. I want to maintain all of the good practices I adopted last year and years prior. I want to maintain the lessons learned.

And yet maintain… maintenance…seems like a really low bar. But let’s face it: after the last two years, it’s really not. And also, there’s something to be said for maintenance (ask anyone whose car/AC/appliance/tooth breaks down because they ignored their scheduled maintenance/checkups. And anyway, the world just kept floating to the top: maintain. And I pulled out my Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary and flipped through to find “maintain.” And now it seems even more apt. Maintain. Uphold, defend, carry on, keep up, assert, justify, sustain against opposition, persevere. Maintain. No wonder it kept rising to the top. So here we are: #Maintain2022.

In related news, this dictionary came home with me from Winthrop. It was probably a Writing Center reject. But at one point it apparently belonged to Dot Thompson (which will be relevant to Winthrop peeps like Jo Koster ). And that was another sign for me to stick with “maintain.” And also, I tucked between its pages random newspaper articles about language. There are also index cards with definitions of certain words and notes, including someone’s phone number on this page, which I’ve marked through because who knows whose number that was or is (I clearly didn’t think to note that 😂).

Background:
Several years ago, I started choosing a word or words to guide me through the year, an idea I stole
from Mary How.

2015: “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
2016: empathy
2017: grateful
2018: Patience.
2019: Release.
2020: {I don’t remember…but can you blame me?}
2021: Healing
2022: Maintain

Leave a comment

Filed under Guiding Words, Maintain 2022

Doctor doesn’t always know best

Remember when Ranitidine (aka Zantac) was banned from the market because it was linked to cancer? I do. Because I took Ranitidine daily. For years. And I commented to that effect on Facebook.

👨‍⚕️ And my friend Elliot commented that there is no way I should be taking that daily anyway. He said something about it being bad for you, not solving the root problem, diet & lifestyle changes…yada yada yada. And my response was something like “But my doctor prescribes it for me. It says right here on the bottle take one to two pills a day.” I may or may not have also mentioned loving tomatoes and jalapenos. And all food and not wanting to give it up. Let me live my best life!

📰 So…then a while later I end up on Omeprazole instead (in part because of burpees, but that’s a tangent). Again, my doctor again said it was fine. Totally normal. NBD. And you should listen to your doctor, right? Well, I’m nothing if not #alwayslearning. I was wrong. Elliot was right. My doctor was wrong. Because one, two, skip a few…c-diff, could’ve died, had no choice.

💊 And once I started really researching CDI, the microbiome, etc., one of the things I discovered about PPIs (proton pump inhibitors, like Omeprazole), H2 blockers (like Ranitidine), and really any ASM (acid suppression medication) is they have very serious effects on the microbiome. Elliott was right: they’re never meant for long-term use because that long-term use can be very detrimental to your health. In fact, a number of studies link PPIs especially to CDI, but H2 blockers and other ASMs have also been linked to it (and other problems to boot!).

🗣️ Listen, the ASMs certainly didn’t cause my CDI. But they certainly didn’t help when I needed to fight it off. And continued use would leave me open to relapse. So I said goodbye to PPIs and H2 blockers and have sought diet and lifestyle changes or natural remedies to help with GERD/heartburn. And, luckily, I’ve been pretty successful.

👩‍⚕️But lesson learned: you shouldn’t always just listen to the doctor. Do your own research. Ask a bazillion questions and don’t feel bad about it. Whip out a peer-reviewed study or two (not just Google stuff). Doctor doesn’t always know best. And don’t ignore your friends in the health & wellness field just because you like tomatoes.

💁🏻‍♀️Thanks for coming to my JennTalk™️.

If you’re interested in more ⬇️

📝 How I manage GERD post-CDI: http://bit.ly/32La9Lg

💊 On PPIs and CDI: http://bit.ly/3Jrsei2

💊 On ASMs and CDI: http://bit.ly/34fD62v

(SN: Cleaning stuff out, meds like these going to appropriate disposal)

ETA: I got some DMs, so for reference Elliot and his lovely wife are the doctors at New Life Medical Center Greenville 🙂

Leave a comment

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

Sourdough Pancakes

So these sourdough pancakes I made on Christmas morning are now my official staycation obsession.

Last year, as I was recovering from c-diff, someone gifted me some sourdough starter because it’s considered to be good for the microbiome. After all, it’s home like a bazillion bacteria (that’s why it bubbles!) . And it’s supposed to easier to digest because it’s fermented. And fermentation is one step in the digestion process, so basically, it already made it easier by cutting out a big step, right? But really, here is a WebMD article about sourdough. Notably, it explains, “Sourdough bread may be easier to digest than white bread for some people. According to some studies, sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, which means that the fiber in the bread helps feed the “good” bacteria in your intestines. These bacteria are important for maintaining a stable, healthy digestive system.”

Last year I made some great muffins and these, but failed at making bread. I made poser pizza with sourdough crust. We had great homemade sourdough tortillas, and I ate plenty of homemade sourdough dark chocolate chip cookies. But the pancakes are new. And I love them. I serve them with a little ghee (still avoiding lactose!) and a little real maple syrup. Delicious! And pretty easy too…at least for staycation!

Leave a comment

Filed under Gut health, Healing 2021, In My Kitchen

4th Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas, I am #grateful for another thoughtful gift. This is a “tree of healing” ornament gifted by a friend. When she saw it, she thought of me and my guiding word for 2021: healing.

It’s a gorgeous ornament, and it’s special because it has a story. We are the kind of people who have a tree whose ornaments all have stories. We’re not the kind of people who have one of those fancy themed trees or one with matching ornaments.

This one’s story is about a year of healing. It’s also a reminder that we don’t do it alone. Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor wrote in her book A Stroke of Insight, which I read early in my recovery: “Recovery, however you define it, is not something you do alone, and my recovery was influenced by everyone around me.” Same girl, same. As the ornament’s explanation says, “Like a tree, you are constantly rooted to those urging you to keep strong.”

What a perfect gift for this year! 💜 #Healing2021

Leave a comment

Filed under C-Diff, Guiding Words, Healing 2021, My Life, Practicing Gratitude

Eat Your Colors (Finally!)

Remember when I used to be all about “eat your colors?” But then I wasn’t because I couldn’t (and couldn’t really eat food at all?). Well, tonight I am going to bed #grateful that I ate my colors! We had maple carrot power bowls for dinner. Usually, on Christmas vacation, we’d have lasagna or spaghetti with “to die for” sauce or steak…special occasion stuff. But it’s a different kind of Christmas…a staycation…with home cooked colors. But how wonderful it is to eat the colors! #Healing2021 #domesticgoddess

Leave a comment

Filed under C-Diff, Guiding Words, Healing 2021, In My Kitchen, Practicing Gratitude

Christmas Breakfast

Santa brought me a new cast iron skillet! So I made sourdough pancakes for breakfast. Plus sweet potatoes and a baked omelette (with mushrooms, a little greens, and gruyere cheese). I can eat! Some variety! Still modifying (that’s probably permanent), but what a difference a year makes! They said it could take 1-3 years for a full recovery, and that was hard to believe until I was living it. And at the year mark, I ended up sick. I thought I was back to square one. But another few months is a whole new world. So Merry Christmas to me…and you too! Have a wonderful day. #domesticgoddess #Healing2021

Leave a comment

Filed under C-Diff, Guiding Words, Healing 2021, In My Kitchen, 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…

Leave a comment

Filed under C-Diff, Healing 2021