Category Archives: Healing 2021

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.

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Filed under C-Diff, Healing 2021

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 🙂

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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…

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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

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