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I was diagnosed with C. diff in March 2014 after taking ciprofloxacin for an infection, and then given Augmentin when the infection returned. After two pills, I became ill very quickly. I had nausea, vomiting and diarrhea between four and six times in the morning. At first, I was put on Flagyl, which made me much worse, so my gastrointestinal specialist (GI) switched me to Vancomycin. I was on Vancomycin for ten days, and the C. diff returned fourteen days after I completed that course. I was then given a three-month pulse/taper schedule for Vancomycin. During this time, I had nearly weekly visits to the emergency room, my potassium was constantly low, and I was unable to stop the vomiting. I was very weak and unable to eat hardly anything. After I completed the three months, I was beginning to feel better, but two weeks later, I had another relapse and C. diff returned. My GI put me on Dificid for ten days. I did well on the Dificid, but two weeks later, C. diff returned. I took every precaution: cleaning the entire house with bleach, taking probiotics, following each treatment carefully, but I could not get rid of this.

At this point, I questioned whether I would survive this illness. My GI did not do fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) and had no one he could refer me to. I was desperate and very sick. My husband and I did a great deal of research and found a published poster paper on a Dificid taper. I went and reviewed this with my GI who agreed to put me on this taper. I also found a GI who was doing the FMTs, but it was a four-month wait. I went on the Dificid taper but felt ill the entire time; it was a very harsh medication to take. Thankfully, the Dificid taper worked, and I have been C. diff free for one year.

Recently, I had an infection that did require antibiotics. I have a “New Team” of doctors I am working with; they work with me and take notice of the ordeal C. diff has put me though. I live with a great deal of fear that if I become ill, I may require antibiotics, and that puts me at risk for relapse. Although I’ve been C. diff-free for over a year, I am still recovering from the devastating side effects of both the C. diff and the antibiotics used to treat it.

This was a devastating time in my life; the healthcare providers did not understand how unrelenting this illness can be, and I was so very sick I had trouble helping myself. Sadly, C. diff is often referred to an illness of the “elderly” in nursing homes. This is not the case, there are more and more people coming down with this illness and some are contracting it without taking antibiotics. Many are not able to beat it with one or two rounds of treatment, and anyone at any age can acquire it. Some become severely ill quickly and do not survive.

I was very happy when my daughter told me she had found the Peggy Lillis Foundation. Education will help eradicate this illness. Healthcare providers, as well as employers, need to understand what a devastating illness C. diff can be. As a healthcare provider for more than 25 years, I know that education is the key.







Hospital Acquired

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