Soooooo...... Let's talk about C. diff, let's talk about your colon, let's talk about fecal-oral transmission. I never imagined that I would volunteer to talk to anyone about ANYTHING related to poop. How the heck did I get here?
I am a (relatively) normal suburban stay-at-home mom who lives in Orange County, California. I moved to Southern California to go to college where I fell in love with my husband and after a couple of years working decided to stay home to raise our 3 beautiful children. There is nothing overwhelmingly special about me, I was raised by a hippie single mom in Northern California (she died of ovarian cancer when I was a teenager), I love the beach, I had a blast in college, I got into law school, and one time I was Miss Laguna Beach in the Miss USA California pageant (I lost).
Growing up I always wished for a big family, a mom, a dad, maybe a brother and a sister. The family I built with my husband was my dream. But in the back of my mind, I always worried about cancer or a car accident showing up at my door and shattering my sweet family.
Instead, something showed up that I had never heard of and didn't even know existed. C. diff.
C. diff came seemingly out of nowhere and blew up my life. It was equal parts merciless and relentless. It took six months of treatment for my 3-year-old daughter to be well enough to leave our house for anything but hospital visits. My six-month-old suffered an active C. diff infection for 6 months going 10+ times per day with diapers filled with mucus and blood. C. diff brought my healthy 6-foot cross-fitting husband to his knees and landed him in the hospital for days. It stole a month of school from my 6- year-old and robbed him of his sense of safety. Then C. diff came for me, it hijacked my body and left me unable to care for myself or my children for months and left me broken.
It was the hardest year that I have faced in my almost 33 years on this planet. During the outbreak my youngest son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy; which we later learned was in fact porencephaly (a hole in his brain) related to his C. diff infection. In the same year I lost my grandmother (who raised me following my mother's death) after a fall and subsequent surgery. Due to my health at the time, and the terribly contagious nature of C. diff I was not able to see her to tell her goodbye.
The darkness surrounded me so completely that every morning even before I opened my eyes I faced the day with dread and terror. In that darkness, I began to pray. Not just a brief perfunctory prayer before dinner or bed. But prayer without cessation. I prayed through all of the pain, suffering, and heartache, I gave thanks for the small victories and brought God into every moment of daily life. It was slow going at first, but as the months wore on God became my constant companion and a peace settled in my heart. I began to trust in God completely and began to have faith in His wisdom and goodness.
From the darkness and the trials, I was given new eyes to see the tiny miracles that I had been missing and a heart filled with gratitude. I don't know what each day will bring but I do know that God is next to me giving me strength and holding my hand every step of the way.
That's how I got here, talking about C. diff, talking about health, sometimes even talking about poop... This blog won't always be about C. diff, but I am passionate about raising awareness of this devastating disease. I want others to know that real people are dying from C. diff, I want medical centers, nursing homes, Urgent Cares and pediatricians to start reporting every C. diff case so that the scale of the epidemic can be known. I want to normalize the conversation about gut health and I want others to know how they can protect themselves and their families.
God bless and welcome to the Gutsy Mother!