So.... I’ve been MIA. I know I know I know, I’m sorry!! I hope we can still be friends!
Things have been busy; very busy. I got a job working in C. diff Advocacy and Awareness which is exciting and challenging (in a good way). The position is helping me grow and reach all sorts of people in the C. diff community. And, now that it’s summer, all three of my sweet babies are home, which is wonderful and "extra" all at the same time. Life is currently all about carving time out of spots I didn't even know were there, some of that time has come out of writing, running and weekending, but it is exciting and I feel blessed with this awesome opportunity.
Anyways, here I am. And here YOU are. I have been receiving a steady increase in questions from young women suffering from C. diff infections, many of whom are pregnant or postpartum. The questions are about anxiety, breastfeeding with C. diff, probiotics, pediatric C. diff infections, avoiding re-infection, how to keep friends and family safe and C. diff treatment (I am not a doctor, but I am happy to point anyone in the direction of the updated C. diff treatment guidelines; print these out and take them with you to doctors visits: http://www.contagionlive.com/news/idsa-and-shea-release-updated-clinical-practice-guidelines-for-clostridium-difficile-infection).
Among the women who have reached out, quite a few are nurses, and one is even a pharmacist. The women who are contacting me are smart and often very well-educated, and they didn't see C. diff coming. There are thousands of young women suffering refractory cases of C. diff; while also trying to care for young families, build careers and meet the many physical, financial and emotional demands of early adulthood. Many of these young women, including myself, find it difficult learning to cope and adjust to life with a C. diff diagnosis.
I want you to know that you are not alone. Having C. diff can be extremely isolating, and it can often feel as though you are the only one in the world wrestling an invisible 800lb gorilla. Even though it seems that hardly anyone outside of the healthcare sector knows what C. diff is, there are unfortunately at least half a million other Americans battling this disease every year. You are NOT alone.
I also want you to know that you will recover, there may be a "new normal", but you WILL recover. My new normal involves post-infectious IBS which has led me to make some dietary tweaks (I've gone dairy free, and I avoid processed foods). Someday in the future, you might have to take an antibiotic again, and the C. diff could come back, but there is also a good chance that it won't. That is one of many horrible, maddening, scary parts of this disease, the lingering question: is it really gone?
I have learned to accept (mostly) that we aren't promised anything in life. We are not promised a tomorrow; so there is little point in worrying about a C. diff infection that I may or may not suffer in the future. Yes, it is true I am more likely to experience a future CDI. But with how many people there are working in healthcare, and how much of America's food supply contains C. diff spores, who's to say EVERYONE isn't at risk for C. diff infection?
The truth is that America (like Britain) also needs to accept a "new normal," where C. diff is no longer a rare nuisance disease. The people who look at me like I have three heads when I tell them about C. diff cannot be the status quo. Everyone needs to be aware of C. diff and practice preventative measures, especially by participating in antibiotic stewardship.
And on that note, I am making a commitment to show up for you. I will be here every week! Even if it's short and sweet.