Ricky's Story (C. Diff)

In January 2008, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital for kidney failure. Watching my grandmother wither away to almost nothing was a huge strain on my heart, especially after learning about what she was struggling with. We were always visiting my grandmother, at least twice a week, and never took any sanitary precautions when we came to see her. As far as we were concerned, we never had to. My grandmother unfortunately died about 9 months after she entered the hospital. She was an amazing woman and we still miss her to this day.

In April 2011, I took an antibiotic for a stye that had developed on my eye. The antibiotic came in the form of eye drops and luckily did the trick with my stye. Unfortunately, about a week or 2 later, other symptoms began. I was unable to sit through my classes at university due to the constant diarrhea I was experiencing, and I had extreme pain in my stomach. After a couple of days, it would subside slightly, yet it always came back. Upon visiting my general practitioner, I was told to simply take fiber at bedtime. Not only did this not help my symptoms, it seemed to make them worse. I scheduled yet another appointment with my general practitioner, and submitted a stool sample to be tested. My results came back positive for the parasite Blastocystis hominis, which my doctor described as something “that normally does not cause too much trouble.” Regardless, I felt it necessary to be treated. I was placed on another antibiotic for 10 days, and felt like a million bucks afterwards. About 2 weeks later though, a few days before my 24th birthday, the diarrhea returned. I submitted yet another stool sample, and this one came up positive for C. diff.

When my mother heard that I had been diagnosed with C. diff, she immediately went searching through my grandmother’s medical records. Sure enough, my grandmother had been suffering from C. diff during her entire stay at the hospital.

My battle did not end after I was diagnosed. I was put on different antibiotics and ate yogurt, but nothing alleviated my symptoms. By this time I was seeing a gastroenterologist who recommended that I look into having a fecal transplant via colonoscopy.

Today, I consider myself free from C. diff but my battle is not over. The C. diff has left my gut damaged and sensitive to almost anything I eat. I now live with irritable bowel syndrome, caused by a horrible illness that nearly cost me both my health and my sanity. I am now more aware of sanitation both in hospitals and at home. No one should ever have to suffer from this horrible condition. I still cannot imagine how my poor grandmother held on for so long.

I will continue to share my story with others for the rest of my life. I was sick for over a year, spent thousands of dollars on treatment, and cried myself to sleep many nights, but I am now a stronger person because of it.

Acquired from the Peggy Lillis Foundation

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