What is the human microbiome? Trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes live in our bodies. These microbes, which outnumber the cells in our bodies, work together to regulate processes critical to life including metabolism and the immune system. The genetic material of this microbial community is at least 100 times greater than the genetic material of the entire human body. It is the genetic material of this microbial community that forms the human microbiome. The scientific term for the collection of microbes themselves is microbiota. Because of its complexity, diverse microbial populations, and dense number of cells, the intestinal microbiota has been of special interest to physicians and medical researchers.
A C. diff. Survivor’s story…………
My story goes back to 2012-2013, where I was battling chronic urinary tract infections, the reason is still unknown. In late 2013 I had at least one every month, and every infection I had, antibiotics were prescribed. In November/December of 2013, I just felt on the verge of being sick quite often. I never knew what it was. In late December I consulted with a urologist for the first time. She suspected that the lining of my bladder never had a real chance to heal, thus causing recurrent infections. She prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and she wanted me to take it daily for three months to give my bladder a chance to heal. I had been on it for about a week when I started to feel like I was getting the flu. I kept feeling worse and worse, but I thought that the best remedy for “the flu” was rest and time. I was having a lot of diarrhea and nausea. The nausea was the worst part of it. After almost four days of this, I called my doctor and his nurse assessed me for dehydration. I hadn’t urinated in about 15 hours but all the while I’m having horrible diarrhea and I wasn’t drinking anything because I was too nauseous. She told me to go to the ER immediately and if I couldn’t get a ride, call 911. I was also getting kind of delirious and confused at this point, presumably from severe dehydration. I get to the ER, after about 12 hours of seeing how IV rehydration was going to go, they decided to admit me. I was in renal failure, but I didn’t know that until I was discharged. They suspected C.Diff, but weren’t sure yet. I had never even heard of it. I still wish I never had occasion to hear about it. They took stool samples and sure enough, I tested positive. They started me on a course of Flagyl. I was released five days later. But since I didn’t have a steady course of Zofran flowing through my veins at home, the nausea became unbearable. I probably would have killed myself if I would have had the energy. I didn’t eat for eight days and lost 30 pounds in fifteen days. I have never been that sick in my life. The Flagyl seemed to have cleared the infection, but I still felt like crap for a month.
Two months later, I begin to feel horribly sick again, and I knew I had it again. The telltale diarrhea and nausea was back. Sure enough, I tested positive again. I was started on an even more aggressive course of Flagyl. During these months, giving stool samples and talking about my bodily functions to just about anyone who would listen became the norm. I lost all my dignity for sure. I then started to lose a lot of hair. My doctor said that can happen when the immune system is under an enormous amount of stress. It was five months before I felt normal again. All of this really hurt my mental health as well. I actually have PTSD from these two experiences. I have panic attacks when I need to go on antibiotics for any reason. I take a probiotic daily. I also question doctors everytime antibiotics are suggested. I truly believe they are overprescribed in our society. I still can’t wear the clothes I wore when I was sick.
This illness, if you’ve never had it…think of the worst diarrhea you’ve ever had, and there is still no comparison. You might as well just stay on the toilet holding a trash can. But the weird thing is is that the nausea was the most distressing part of it. I feel anxious right now just talking about this experience.