C Diff on while on chemo questions

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Fighter
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C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby Fighter » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:15 pm

Hello! I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my early 30s (female) a few months ago that was enough of a shock, and now I have C Diff thrown into the mix and I just started chemo. I was on antibiotics for almost 7 weeks post-op for my breast cancer due to healing issues. Five days after chemo I ended up in the ER incredibly sick (I assumed the symptoms were from chemo) and with febrile neutropenia (dangerously low neutrophil count and a fever). I spent a few days in the hospital to get my blood counts up and just got out yesterday (I feel like I'm on parole, haha). They started me on a 14 day course of Vanco. My symptoms started to go away almost immediately, but I'm not fully there yet. I need this cleared up before my next chemo in a few weeks....and I pray that does't encourage a relapse. I have three more chemos to go. This luck is getting ridiculous.

Although I'm MUCH better than I was in the hospital, I still have about 3 BMs a day and still soft but way more normal. I have been on Vanco for 5 days. Also, I never had blood while in the hospital (sorry if TMI), but of course as soon as I get released from the hospital I have blood on the toilet paper (not much). Has anyone else experienced this as part of the healing process? Just wondering if any share a similar healing process or if I should worry. I was put on blood thinners in the hospital to prevent blood clots, so I'm sure that doesn't help my cause. Also, anyone else diagnosed while going through chemo and have a relapse during subsequent chemo?

Although I'm sorry we all have to be here, I really appreciate the info from those who have been through it and are more knowledgable than me. I am arming myself with knowledge, but am inundated with it for the cancer too. I really need this resolved before my next chemo. Also, I'm terrified since I have two more surgeries this year for the cancer that will require preventative post-op antibiotics and three more rounds of chemo....This isn't what I thought my early 30s would look like.
Last edited by Fighter on Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Fighter
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Re: C Diff during chemo in my 30s - questions

Postby Fighter » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:43 pm

Sorry, I edited this post once reading the posting rules again. :)

AllisS
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby AllisS » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:13 am

Hi, Fighter. Your original post was fine; we ask all new posters to read the posting guidelines. Like you, I had breast cancer at a young age (late 20s) though I didn't have chemo. Therefore, my own experience diverges from yours. In any case, this not being a medical site but rather a support site, we can't offer advice as to what may be normal or not under anyone's specific circumstances; you'd best report the instance of blood to your doctor. My suggestion is that you ask your oncologist to coordinate your chemo treatment with an infectious disease doctor so that the risk of antibiotics in conjunction with your treatment can be minimized to the extent possible.

Best wishes for a recovery that will hopefully start going more smoothly soon.
If your illness was preceded by use of a medication, e.g., an antibiotic, please fill out an FDA Adverse Event Report at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm

Fighter
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby Fighter » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:58 am

Thank you so much for the reply, and that is a great idea. I am meeting both doctors next week. My symptoms started getting worse today after six days on Vanco so I’m getting myself back to the hospital. I’m sorry you had to endure C Diff in addition to breast cancer too, and so young!

AllisS
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby AllisS » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:46 am

I was lucky in that my cancer episode and my C. diff infection were decades apart. You have the unfortunate burden of having to cope with them within the same timeframe. Keep posting; let us know what happens and what you find out from the doctors.
If your illness was preceded by use of a medication, e.g., an antibiotic, please fill out an FDA Adverse Event Report at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm

OCmama
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby OCmama » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:35 pm

I am so sorry that you are suffering not only cancer but C. diff as well!!

I recently read that one in three people in the us will have cancer in their lifetime and one in five of the people who have cancer will experience a C. diff infection. I will look up the source in a minute.

It just isn’t fair that you have to deal with this on top of fighting cancer. I am sending tons of prayers your way.

roy
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby roy » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:56 pm

It's recognised that chemo can contribute to c.diff so be prepared.
Your main aim is to prevent a brand new infection so hand washing is YOUR best friend!
Not to the extent that it makes your skin sore though.
While your in hospital be your own advocate, if your not happy with the infection control SAY SO! NO hospital staff should be offended if you check that they have washed their hands and they won't object if you take in your own disposable cups and cutlery and personally I would be inclined to have family bring in my meals.
I would also smuggle in Clorox wipes and make sure "my" area was clean!
C.diff is a problem in hospitals, they are places that should be clean because it's where sick people who are susceptible to infection go to get better.
But to put it into perspective I read a recent study about the worst places to pick up c.diff.
Top of the list was Children's play parks with over 25% of swab samples being positive.
Second was the home! The samples were taken from a church congregations own homes and no one had c.diff or had visited hospital for at least 12 months but 17% were positive.
Hospitals came in at 16% and supermarkets came in at around 8%.
It proves how common c.diff is and how important it is that you now know how to avoid it.
Check with your Dr if S Boulardi is safe for you to take, it might help.

Fighter
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby Fighter » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:13 pm

I’m sorry you had to battle both as well AlissS. Thanks for the response! I was back in the hospital yesterday and they did X-rays to check for toxic megacolon, thankfully it was negative but they say I’m still at risk, especially with my immune system being shot from the chemo and needing three more cycles. They didn’t seem concerned if my symptoms weren’t getting worse however I meet with another specialist on Wednesday.

OCmama - Thank you! That is a very high stat. I’m that hypochondriac that Purells my purse when I come home from an appointment. Now I use hydrogen peroxide on it to kill every spore. :)

Roy - Thanks for the message. I don’t think I can take S Boulardi until after chemo is done. I can take other probiotics but it is recommended chemo patients avoid that one specifically. I’m going to order some Culturelle. Those stats are interesting! Any idea of the source? I would love to send it to my father.

roy
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby roy » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:16 am

This is the source.
Interestingly the study found that c.diff is three times more likely to be found on your doorstep than in a restroom!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5414050/

Fighter
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby Fighter » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:47 am

Thank you Roy! I really appreciate that. It is time to bleach my doorstep! Haha. I spent a few days at my dad’s house after chemo and he was also helping care for a neighbors elderly parents (who also have a sick dog). I wonder if maybe something was tracked in to the house as a result of that and that contracted this from. I hadn’t even left the house for five days after chemo and then I got sick.

roy
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby roy » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:00 am

It's impossible to say where you picked it up but it's important to know HOW you picked it up because you can do your best to avoid it again.
5 days after chemo or antibiotic use is the typical period for c.diff to show up.
It can be longer but 5 days is not unusual.
Regardless of all that with a little luck it will be no more than a temporary inconvenience.
What you read online are the worst cases (or story's from the type of people who freak out if they fart too often).
Most people do recover quickly and don't need to research c.diff so you don't hear much about normal, easy and fast recovery.
Do check with your Dr about any probiotic before trying them.
Just because they have a "friendly" name and are a "natural" product does not mean they are harmless in every situation.
Consider them the same as any other medication and get the best advice you can.

Bobbie
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Re: C Diff on while on chemo questions

Postby Bobbie » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:40 pm

Fighter,
Hi and welcome to the site. You have double whammy.i've had c diff with other health issues - but not cancer so I know how overwhelmed you must feel.

We have had a number of posters with both diseases. One girl goes by the name Dobies #1. PM her.

Best of luck.


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