Reluctantly, after 6 months, I can say there IS an 80%

We spend a lot of time talking about the bad news in this discussion group - here's the spot for the good news. If you've had c-diff and are now well, please tell us about it here.
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Reluctantly, after 6 months, I can say there IS an 80%

Postby Chrisums » Fri May 31, 2013 8:47 pm

I've been having a hard time bringing myself to post thing, feeling like I was somehow jinxing myself by doing so... but at the same time I realized that many of the people who fall into the 80% category just walk away and never post their "success" story.

Back in September of '12 I got C Diff after 1 straight month of Bactrim. I had no history of ANY kind of illness, though I was quite overweight at the time (290 pounds). I was 26 years old (male). The first round of C Diff was pretty light, and I honestly think I shouldn't have taken the initial medicine. I got sick 3 days after stopping the Bactrim, and began having diarrhea after every meal. It was pretty bad news. After 6 days, I was feeling a little better (able to eat while only having a lot of gas and a little diarrhea afterwards), but I still wanted to follow up with the doctor. He gave me lomotil and said it should be cleared up by the next day. That lomotil was a HUGE mistake. The next day it returned with a vengeance. I wasn't even able to drink water without it hitting me like a car. Again I returned to the doctor, and this time was given Flagyl.

I took the flagyl for 2 weeks. Originally it was three 500mg tablets a day (1500mg per day), but at 7 days I began to experience side effects to the flagyl that freaked my doctor out. He reduced my dose to two 500mg tablets per day (1000mg per day). I finished the remaining 7 days and felt a little better (though my stool never truly formed. It was borderline diarrhea).

3 days after the flagyl ended, I relapsed. This time it was BAD. 103 degree fever and stomach distended like you wouldn't believe. I was SICK. During all of this I lost ~30 pounds, dropping me to 260. I switched doctors and the new one gave me vanco (250mg 4x daily for 10 days). The vanco cleared up my symptoms within 3-4 days. By the 7th day I felt GREAT. Formed stool. Tons of energy. Ate tons of food. It was awesome.

Then I stopped the vanco.

Within a few days of stopping, my health went to overall pot. Unformed stool 3 times each morning without fail and my stomach made sounds and movements when I ate that are just unnatural. I ate the most bland food I could find and did my best to make it from day to day. However, over time I began shaping my diet to fit my situation and things gradually changed...

First: I added probiotics, obviously. Not too many, though. PLEASE remember that probiotics primary purpose in people who aren't us is to relieve CONSTIPATION. That's right- they make you poop. And what happens when you take too much of something that makes you poop? Yep, you got it. Nothing hurts me more than seeing someone saying they take 1 trillion count probiotics 3 times per day, and then wonder why their stomach is torn to shreds!

I take 2 florastor each day (one in the morning, one at night), 2 Udos adult probiotics each day (again morning and night), and a probiotic multivitamin (that probably isn't even really probiotic, but it sounds healthy to say that. haha).

Second: I added oatmeal. I won't lie- of all the changes I made to my diet, this made the most significant impact on my overall health. Within 2 days of switching to eating 2 packets of oatmeal in the morning, I started having semi-formed stool again. Oatmeal is full of fiber and is the BEST prebiotic you can have as a solo meal. Everyone eats tons of probiotics... but where are the prebiotics? What do our good bacteria eat?

Third: I added calcium supplements. They do a pretty good job of firming things up! Obviously only take what you need. For me, in take the recommended daily dose of 100% calcium each day. I personally needed this because of change #5

Fourth: I added a little more meat to my diet. This was the final piece to my poor stomach blues puzzle. I was reading online about semi-formed stool and read a nutritionist's response that said "sounds like you need more animal protein!". I thought "Alrighty then!" and added a little more chicken to my diet. After I did that, my stool became completely formed. I mean, like absolutely normal kind of formed. Amusingly enough, on days where I splurge and eat meat for 2 meals instead of just 1 (hey, it's not cheap!), my stool literally becomes textbook perfect. Its almost enough to make me want to eat meat every meal... almost. Still: $$$$$$

Fifth: I gave up dairy. Personal thing because I became lactose intolerant after, but honestly I don't miss it. More than anything, I don't miss how it made my stomach feel after I ate it. Even before I was intolerant of it, eating dairy gave me a different kind of full feeling than eating non-dairy foods. Full, tired, sluggish... as opposed to non-dairy foods that left me energized and ready to go!

Sixth: Most important for me mentally- I got out of the house more. (more on that in a sec)

Seventh: I added fiber tablets. No no, not metamucil. It does funky things to me. Just fiber tablets. You can find em in your grocery store, I'm sure. I take 75% of the daily recommended dose. It helped a bunch, too.

Eighth: I don't eat fast food anymore. I don't eat unhealthy, greasy foods anymore. I eat healthy. Not "Weight watchers" healthy. Not "Oprah" healthy. I'm talking nutritionist/personal trainer/Asian culture kinda healthy. Oatmeal for breakfast. Full serving of vegetables with meats and rice for lunch. Some kind of sandwich for supper, usually (on wheat bread, of course). Most often its a peanut butter and banana sammich. mmm... tasty. I don't mind eating similarly every day. I like routine. Oh, and if I want a snack: mixed nuts! YUM! I don't bother worrying about how much I eat. Breakfast is 2 packets of oatmeal. Supper is usually 2 sandwiches. And lunch is usually huge- eat till I'm full kind of thing. But without all the bad stuff in there, even eating till I want to pop I was able to drop down in weight to a more healthy size!

It was difficult. I finished my last Vanco in late October, and didn't see complete improvement until February. My life is now pretty close to normal. I do have hemorrhoids to deal with thanks to my time with C Diff, but I also lost a LOT of the extra weight I had put on (I'm now 210 pounds! Down from 290! 6'3" btw. For the first time in years, the doctor took my pulse and BP and said they were completely normal! Cholesterol and all that other blood stuff was normal too!). I managed to find a full time job in Florida, 10 minutes from the beach (which is why I haven't posted much lately. I haven't forgotten you guys- I just can't sit down at the PC long enough to type. Being the new guy I kinda have to be working a LOT. And when I'm not working I'm finishing up the move!). All together, C Diff is officially part of my past (for now).

I know that one day it will probably... no, I'm sure I'll get it again. You can never be completely done with this bug. One day I WILL need antibiotics again, and I know it's waiting. But for now, for this fleeting little moment... I'm free.

The job is my sixth change that made a huge difference. When I got better, but had tons of free time... I got neurotic about my health. With nothing to truly take my mind off of it, I thought all day about my stomach and how I felt. I ended up noticing things I never would have otherwise, and maybe even invented a few ailments! The nervousness of this caused me to have some serious IBS issues and lead to random bouts of bad BMs just because I was keeping my stomach in knots, without even realizing it. Once I got the job, and even when I was job hunting, it changed. My mind was so focused on anything BUT C Diff that I quit noticing things being wrong. Quit caring. My stomach was no longer ruling me. I hate free time now, because of this. Whenever I notice my mind wandering to my stomach, I get up and do something... even if that something is just walking a lap around the neighborhood!

That's my "success" story. I hope I didn't jinx myself! I'll still be here, supporting and replying as I get more time to do so... and I might even be here again as someone who needs the support! But for now, let this be proof that the 80% really can exist. And maybe my same tricks will help others out there, as well.

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Re: Reluctantly, after 6 months, I can say there IS an 80%

Postby Bobbie » Fri May 31, 2013 9:21 pm

Lots of good info. here - "mind over matter" to quote an old phrase.

Congrats. to you, Chrisums. You discovered what worked for you.

"Getting out among 'em" is important -takes the emphasis off constant worrying about yourself and lets other factors in - not that C. diff doesn't stay in the back part of your brain.

Congrats. on your success, and you include some great tips. If you are single (no mention of a sig. other) I'd join a gym and show off your new body. Why not? Enjoy what you have done. I would get a personal trainer and tell them you are recovering from a devastating infection.

You haven't jinxed yourself (many do feel that way - just another strange thing about C. diff. ). Thx. for your input and your hints. We count you as one of our successes!!

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Re: Reluctantly, after 6 months, I can say there IS an 80%

Postby beth22 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:11 am

Thanks for posting. There is definitely a lot of good information here. I have my packerts of oatmeal in the cupboard. Will start with them tomorrow. I feel better when I keep busy too. I teach and when I am off in the summer, I start thinking about my body and how I don't feel well more too. Will try and do something more productive this year. Reading what you said, brought it home.

Check back with us from time to time - just add a little to this thread to let us know how you are. Best of luck to you!

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Re: Reluctantly, after 6 months, I can say there IS an 80%

Postby getwellsoon » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:33 am

Chisums, Thank you so much for posting, I for one needed to hear it. I am one who is 14 months post meds and feeling pretty bad right now. I had to go up North for a funeral and had to eat what was put in front of me. Needless to say it was a lot of things that upset everything so am not feeling well. A whole lot of Italian food with cheeses etc. I ate very light yesterday and feel a little better today. I will also start with the oatmeal, I"m glad since I love it anyway. I say good for you and keep up the good work. Please do post back once in a while and let us know how you are doing. I know how you feel about jinxing yourself, I'm in the same boat. Take care. Carol

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