Around this time four years ago I became ill with c. diff. Four years ago. It’s almost crazy to believe that four years has passed since that nasty bug got inside my stomach and tried to kill me. It’s crazy to think how long it took them to diagnose me, how much weight I lost, and how deathly ill and broken I truly became. Honestly, parts of it were so bad, that it still doesn’t seem real.

But here I am, four years later, and finally, I’m better than ever. Did I ever get back to ‘normal’? No. You guys know this. I definitely did not. But I have a new normal now. Do I feel amazing all the time? No. My life is… and I am… incredibly sensitive now. (Well, I’ve always been sensitive, but I bottled it well… mostly.) But I do feel human. Like a functioning human.

I feel like each year that has passed has had some sort of big jump forward in the progress of my health. About a year and a half ago, I did have a fall back with the miscarriage, but outside of that— I’ve taken a good amount of steps forward in my health recently, especially in the last few months.

Honestly, the biggest improvement in my health has just come from finally (oh gosh FINALLY) figuring out my allergens and triggers. I knew that a lactose intolerance was possible after c. diff, but I in no way realized that I could become full blown celiac after c. diff. And sadly, I probably could have healed a hell of a lot faster had I been properly diagnosed with this years ago. Looking back, I now know that most (but not all) of my crashing and truly awful flare ups were due to gluten-ing. So hey, if you’re reading this because you’ve found yourself with c. diff and are looking for advice– consider this!

I lived in denial for the first three years. I avoided overt gluten– like breads and pasta, but I lived in denial about being severely allergic to gluten. I ate oats, corn, and foods with possible cross contamination all the time. So much of my stomach bloating, back and forth between extreme constipation and diarrhea, my absolute crashing and lack of energy, my shingles outbreaks, and much more could have all been avoided if had I known. You’d think that spending (losing) thousands upon thousands on different testing would somehow have revealed this to me sooner. But no.

Would have, could have, should have.

But now I know better. So now I do better.

If I avoid all my allergens (gluten, nuts, mold, corn, etc etc) then I am okay. I’M ACTUALLY OKAY! Like, yes, eating out is a complete worry-fest and nightmare, but outside of that, I don’t worry on the day to day anymore. I eat well, hydrate well, supplement where I see fit, I rest when I can and need to, I do all the healthy and mindful things that I’d recommend to anyone… and more. And I’m not dying anymore. Well, we all are, but I don’t think about it and more importantly I don’t feel like it on my day to day now.

Yes, due to c. diff, I have to be more careful than most people. C. diff is not a week long stomach bug. C. diff is damaging life long change. But now I can say, at least it’s possible to live an okay life afterwards. Maybe not perfect, but finally, four years later, it’s not bad anymore.

One doctor (who told me I had lyme) told me that I could heal. He gave me a time frame. He said in four years I would see a difference. For years felt like a life time of pain. And in some ways, it was. But lyme or no lyme, he was right. Four years later, I’m alive.

To you guys reading this with c. diff… I feel you. When the doctors tell you that you need antidepressants, or that your symptoms don’t make sense or don’t exist, or when you find no answers to why you’re so dizzy, hungry all the time, with kidney problems, blood sugar problems, to why you smell bad, and just cant function or feel better— I feel you. I really feel you. The doctors don’t have answers. But I’ll say, it can get better. Be proactive and give it time.

Probiotics helped. Changing my diet from a high fat to low fat diet helped. Cutting out extra unnecessary protein helped. Resting helped. Supplementing helped. Detoxing really helped. Finally figuring out my allergens and triggers helped. But mostly, time helped.

You know, four years later there are still things I’m working on. Little things. Nothing major… but I’m a perfectionist. I still feel more de-hydrated than I think I should. My blood sugar isn’t the most stable. I once snuggled with high blood sugar, but this year it’s often low. I have to be extra cautious the week of ovulation, because if I’m not careful my hormones (natural and adrenaline hormones) push me into a shingles attack (but honestly, it thankfully it hasn’t been a problem for months now– just gotta be careful!). And my digestion, well, I’ve mostly figured it out– I have to be a bit more careful with eating too many greens and trying new foods (and of course my allergens), but otherwise, it’s not so bad. It’s really not so bad.

I’ve worried about death for as long as I could remember, but especially after c. diff. And even though I don’t feel like I’m dying anymore, I’m pretty sure c. diff shortened my lifespan. Alex tells me I’m wrong– he says I’m going to turn it all around and outlive everyone because of the path I’m on. It really doesn’t matter— because I’m finally living now. But we’ll see, only time will tell.

But for now, I’m alive and mostly well. And grateful for it.

Ps. I still receive daily emails of people looking for advice because their doctors don’t have answers for them… if this is you, I’ve put together and entire FAQ section about C. diff. on my blog with all the answers I have. You can also see all posts (emotional and educational) related to see c. diff HERE.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for your post. 1 1/2Yrs. after c-diff I am finding more and more info on this awful disease. Something that the doctors don’t tell you could happen, they just keep writing a prescription for more antibiotics. My case was so bad bad I was told I had a 1 in 10000 chance of surviving. Well I did but little did I know the long term effects of this. I have never ending changes in my health. I now have started to put on alot of weight but with that I now have allover joint aches and chronic fatigue. I want to thank you for your post and it gives me an understanding I am not alone in this issue.

  2. omg! I have been journaling and every time I tell a doctor that my symptoms are worse between ovulation and period they think I’m nuts. I’m journaling right now about this and something inside told me to” check out ‘ohdeardrea’ blog and see how she’s doing”. I was hoping to see you doing awesome and so satisfied that you are <3. I'm still struggling with the low fodmap diet, which has helped me in the post-infectious IBS. But the challenges around my cycle are still really tough. I feel I must eat all day or my head spins as if my sugar is low and my back aches as if my kidneys pain me during ovulation but they all have said since last summer that my kidneys look fine (gastro-internist and primary). I will see a nephrologist soon though. I agree with Alex about the path you're on! I want to ask, are you still vegan, and did you ever do the low fodmap. It took me so long to figure it out. I had to master the dairy-free first, then the gluten, And as a single mother it took me a year and a half and one relapse because of an antibiotic to finally be ready to tackle low fodmap. And I'm not even sure now how to do low fodmap AND vegan, which I really want to go at LEAST vegetarian. It's just so hard. Especially raising a very picky child. I'm so happy for you! God BLESS! <3