Happy Colon

Gut Feelings

Sept 7 Update: Bacteria!

The night after my last post, I woke up 7 times during the night to use the bathroom, and the night after was the same.

The day after my last post, I saw my gastroenterologist at the Brigham. I brought along a stool sample to be tested, and while there I got blood taken. When talking to my doctor, we came to the conclusion that I would go on antibiotics, partially because there could be something bacterial going on, but mostly because they could help with my symptoms even without an infection to fight.

Twice during this flare, I have seen a correlation between my symptoms improving and being on antibiotics…

  1. The first time was when I was in the hospital during my long stay – I had started to improve with the Chinese herbs but then had “c. diff weekend” (which I talked about in this post) in early January, which seemed to be a major setback. But I was put on antibiotics, and once the c. diff was gone, I started improving at a much faster rate than before that weekend.
  2. The second time was after my colonoscopy in late February. I had been stable in February, but the colonoscopy sent me in a tailspin. I was put on antibiotics, but then the tests came back negative for all the infections they tested for. I stayed on the antibiotics until I was better, which happened somewhat quickly, and then I started improving in leaps and bounds; this was when I started to eat vegetables again! Even after tapering off the meds, I kept improving, gained weight, and then went back to school for a summer semester!

Looking back at these cases, I thought that whether or not there’s an infection this time, there’s something bacterial going on, something that antibiotics could help me with. So although antibiotics are typically something I avoid as much as possible, I was excited to go back on them. I started Flagyl and Cipro that day.

In my conversation with my doctor, surgery once again came up, although not in the same way as before; it wasn’t brought up as something I must do immediately, or at all. He said that we would see how the antibiotics and 6MP go.

Yesterday, after having just three doses of Flagyl since starting it, I lost my appetite and started to feel nauseous – two side effects of the drug. Certainly, I cannot afford to lose my appetite or throw up food, so being the experienced patient I am, I asked my doctor if I could switch the Flagyl with Vanco and got the thumbs up.

My blood work came back yesterday, and indeed, my hematocrit was low, justifying a blood transfusion. My doctor said I would get a call today to schedule it, and I got not only that today, but also the notification that my stool sample came back positive for not one, but two bacterial infections: c. diff and Aeromonas. It’s a good thing that I had asked to get my stool tested, because he wasn’t going to check it! I wonder how long I’ve had these for! Were they recent developments, or were they the cause of this flare and I’ve been hopelessly fighting two bacterial infections for months?? It makes me wonder something I’ve wondered before: why isn’t stool tested every time a flare begins?

Well, hopefully those have been what has been preventing me from improving, and the antibiotics will give me my health back – if not completely, then at least to a point where I’m better off.

School started this week. The first day was Wednesday, when I had my doctor’s appointment. After that appointment, I could still have made my second class, but I was too exhausted and depressed to go. Yesterday, my dad drove me in for the one class I had. It was great to go, and to see familiar faces. Today, I woke up with leftover nausea and no appetite for my oatmeal (Flagyl get out of my system!), but I could think of some foods I would eat. It wasn’t legal food for me, but not too far off the wagon: I used veggie-chicken broth to make soup with carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, and dulse flakes (just the carrots and onions are illegal there), and I had my dad get gluten free crackers from the store, which have some ingredients that are iffy, but crackers are what you eat when you’re nauseous! I also had him get red-skinned potatoes (I was craving potato salad, although I won’t use them for that) and chicken sausages. Maybe my appetite will return to normal before I break these open. My mom brought me to Boston today for my class, where there was an awesome cross-section of people I know in it. Once home, I had more of my soup, but with some of my chicken in it too, and now I’ll be heading to bed!

Last night I slept better – only woke up 3-4 times, so hopefully tonight will be the same or better.

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This entry was posted on September 7, 2012 by in Health/Life Update and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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