C. diff after spinal fusion surgery - 42 yr old female

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C. diff after spinal fusion surgery - 42 yr old female

Postby ljstagg1 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:45 pm


After years of off and on back pain and a year of debilitating pain from a collapsed lumbar disc, I finally opted to have spinal fusion surgery on 11/17/14 since I could barely walk and was getting around with a cane. The surgery was performed in a surgery center by the "best" spine surgeron around and went well. He even joked with me that if I got an infection, it wouldn't be one of these antibiotic resistant ones like MRSA! (I don't think they've seen it often in their practice.)
Despite having some low hemoglobin/low blood pressure and blacking out a few times (while my hubby was holding me, thank goodness,) I came home after a couple of days and was recovering very well. I even had a couple of "good" days with my back. I was up, eating some meals with my family, and had great hope for my ability to return to an active life. The day after Thanksgiving, however, I experienced loose stools and terrible chills; the next day I had a fever and felt sick - couldn't eat. By Sunday I thought I was doing better and was able to eat. However, that night the "smell" started - the worst smell I've encountered in my life. (Later I would learn that is the "c-diff" smell!) Monday I had a 2 week follow-up at the surgeon's but I found I was too dizzy to stand and my stomach hurt tremendously. I ended up rescheduling to Wed. and texted my hubby that I couldn't move from the couch except to go to the restroom. I was unable to move or eat for 2 days while I had these smelly episdoes of diarrhea with B & M, but I did force myself to keep drinking. My hubby stayed home on Wed. and although I was too ill, he dressed me, made me eat a little and held me up at my follow-up appointment. I was a little familiar with c. diff since my mom had it in 2012 after hip surgery, so I prayed that if it was c. diff, the docs would clue in right away - which they did. They sent me immediately to the lab for bloodwork and my hubby took a stool sample to the hospital that same afternoon where they rushed it. By the next evening, the surgeon's office called with the news - yes, it's c. diff and you'd better get treated right away. Thank God my GP was in the office, took my word for it, and called in Flagyl right then, so I was able to start on it that night. It took about 5 or 6 days of feeling terrible, but the c. diff started to respond positively to the Flagyl. The side effects were horrible, but I soldiered on. I finished that 2 week treatment on Dec. 18th, and my sister and her family arrived late the night of the 21st to help and spend Christmas with us.

The next morning, I was awakened at 6 a.m. by an urgent need to "go" and as I got up, I realized I was sweaty, clammy, and dizzy. I could think of nothing else but getting to the toilet in time. I went immediately and then everything started to spin. Apparently, I blacked out and hit my head on the wall and then my body another 2-3 times on the toilet on the way to the floor. My husband heard the "clunk, clunk, clunk," and found me wedged between the toilet and the wall. He then tried to pick me back up, but I blacked out again. When I finally came to, I didn't understand what I was doing there. He got me back to bed to rest and a couple of hours later we went to urgent care so I could be checked. It was a 2 hour wait, but thankfully they sent me back right away due to the blacking-out. The doc there sent me immediately to the ER primarily because my heart rate was so high. I was able to get on fluids right away at the ER but waited awhile for a room. I was eventually given more fluids, morphine for the pain (my back and leg were killing me,) and after consulting with several GI's, the ER doct decided to start me on vanco. The diarrhea had also returned and I was having to unhook everything and go across the hall to the restroom. I would tell the nurse each time to "bleach that bathroom" but I think she only took me half seriously. Later that evening, the ER doc finally agreed to let me go home "if I would stay in bed and come back tomorrow if I wasn't responding to the vanco." I was too weak to get out of bed but I did respond to the vanco, and by Christmas Eve at least, was able to sit in the recliner and watch Christmas movies with my sister.

I have seen my GP two times since then and she extended the vanco from 10 to 14 days. She assured me that "most people" do recover from this. She was also treating me for thyroid problems and adrenal fatigue and told me to expect things to take months after this surgery. Unfortunately, I started feeling nauseous about 10 days ago and by last Wed, the diarrhea and loose stools started again. I had been researching online for weeks and started immediately treating myself with grapefruit seed oil and oregano oil and later added betaine HCL to increase the acidity. I also added a bentonite clay to help absorb the toxins. These things have greatly helped and I'm happy to say that my stools have firmed up greatly; however, I know the beast still lurks and I still feel weak and sick. During this whole treatment time, I've also been on s. boulardii and a strong probiotic; this time I'm also drinking kefir (which I hate.) I have resisted doing a vanco taper since I have horrible yeast infections after one round of antibiotics and I really wonder if what I have left is resistant to it.

Today I was notified that my insurance has approved Dificid so I will hopefully start on that within the next day or two. My stomach hurts and roils, I have a chronic heade-ache and usually feel that pressure to go - but as I said, it is mostly formed now thanks to the natrual stuff. I also have this buzzing in my intestines. I know if I were to stop the natural meds, my diarrhea would come back full force. This week I've also added a 200 billion packet of probiotics to my plan. I really hope the Dificid clears this up, as I'm ready to get back to a somewhat "normal" life. My docs and my acupuncturist all agree that even thought I took probiotics before surgery, my body was in a weakened immune state due to the months of severe back pain. I really had no choice but to do the surgery (and my back is doing well now) but wish I had taken mega doses of probiotics before instead of my usual maintenance dose. My 'plan" should the Dificid fail is to try some chinese herbs for a month that my acupuncturist's colleague has used effectively for c. diff. If that doesn't work, I guess an FMT is in store for me!

I have a wonderfully supportive husband and kids, but this has taken it's toll on everyone, and we've only been dealing with it for 7 weeks. I can't imagine some of you dealing with it for many more months and years. Praying for wisdom, guidance, and healing for the days ahead!
Thx for reading - sorry for the book. It feels good to write down my story!

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Re: C. diff after spinal fusion surgery - 42 yr old female

Postby roy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:37 pm

Copied into general discussion so you can get replies

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