After 34 days of stomach aches and diarrhea, and heartburn that ate away at my esophagus like an alien ready to rip from my chest and scamper across the room, I can say that C diff no longer holds the upper hand. It causes me great fear to write this because C diff is devious and has in the past come back within a few weeks. That was before I knew about probiotics and the dangers of acid-reducing drugs. So, I continue to avoid Nexium while I suck down billions of probiotics.
The past month has been an interesting story in how doctors approach treatments differently. My regular superhero CF doc saw me first and came up with the C diff diagnosis (with my help) and prescribed the vanco. I consulted with my stomach doctor during the ordeal. At 14 days, it was clear the vanco hadn’t wiped out the C diff. My CF doctor ordered another six days of vanco. My stomach doctor suggested another 14 and told me he’d call in an Rx for it, if needed. This is always the danger of having two doctors involved. It’s pretty much guaranteed the two will follow different playbooks.
With cystic fibrosis, I’m no stranger to this dilemma of different paths. I’ve put myself in the situation may times. Years, ago one pulmonary doctor wanted to treat me with inhaled TOBI and one IV drug. My CF doctor wanted to treat me with two IV antibiotics. I had to choose between the two. And it caused me much anxiety making the decision. This is one of the most painful challenges there is – the fear of making the wrong medical choice. It’s same as the final segment of Let’s Make a Deal when you have to pick between doors 1, 2 or 3. One door hides a big win, while the wrong door sends you home with a goat. (The third door hides about the same value of prize you risked, leaving you neither rich nor poor with your new washer and dryer.) Little did I know when I was a child watching the show at my grandmother’s house that it was really a metaphor for life. Or at the very least, the hard medical choices we have to make.
Luckily, or with educated luck, I chose the correct door in this C diff situation and trusted my CF doctor. He was correct. Had I gone with my stomach doctor’s choice of another 14 days, he would have been correct, too. But hopefully, by not doing an extra 8 days of antibiotics, vanco will still be effective for future C diff bouts.
My last thought on this adventure was that during the weeks of eating soup and drinking Gatorade and avoiding anything spicy or cutting that might upset my digestive balance more than it already was, there was one solid food I could eat which didn’t bother me at all. Yep, one food I could count on. And though I had to go without it for a short period of time while the C diff was hot, it was the only solid food I could count on not to rock the boat.
Long live the McGriddle.