Carolyn's Case History


Hi! My name is Carolyn. I am 47 yrs. old and I live in Washington State. Until about 4 years ago, I was moderately healthy. My only problems then were allergies (accompanied by sinus infections), migraine headaches, mitral valve prolapse and a blood disorder --thrombocytosis (too many platelets). Despite these medical challenges, I led an active lifestyle without difficulty.

Antibiotics taken for dental visits ( required by dentists due to MVP), or for sinus infections didn't seem to bother me. I recovered quickly and rarely got diarrhea. Since 1982 I have also been hospitalized many times for surgeries that needed to be taken care of, but were not life threatening.

About 4 years. ago I had trouble with a recurring throat infection and was treated with several different antibiotics. (Amoxicillin, and Ceclor are the 2 I remember.) This time I developed intermittent diarrhea along with excessive gas and mucous. My hematologist immediately tested me for C. diff and the result was positive. He put me on Vancomycin for 14 days( Metronidazole makes me extremely sick). It immediately helped all my symptoms and I felt great for a while.

A month or two later I developed diarrhea again. This time with rectal bleeding along with all the other symptoms. I was out of town at the time so had to go to an ER to be checked. The Dr. there tested me for C. diff and put me back on a stronger dose ( I don't remember now the exact amt) until the test results came back. After about 3 or 4 days the results came back and this time they were negative. The local GI Dr. I had started seeing had me discontinue the Vancomycin and proceeded with a colonoscopy and gastroscopy procedure. Both those tests failed to show up anything so I was put a a dairy free diet. That actually worked and I started feeling much better. I did pretty well as long as I stayed totally away from dairy in any way shape or form. I dismissed any diarrhea I experienced to straying from my diet.

About a year later I began having some other medical problems. My diarrhea suddenly became extremely bad and I lost about 30 lbs. My immune system was deficient and I was diagnosed with IGG subclass deficiency. My Internist decided to test me for c. difficile again and this time it was positive. She gave me more vancomycin and the diarrhea improved again. I was also given three IV doses of Gamma Globulin for the immune deficiency and started feeling better. I saw several other Drs. after this but they each disagreed with the IGG subclass deficiency.

Several months later I began having trouble again. This time along with the diarrhea, I had a gallbladder attack. Further testing determined that not only did I need my gallbladder removed, but I was malnourished and dehydrated. I was tested again for c. difficile and the result was negative this time. (This was in about 1997.) I continued to have trouble with diarrhea, bloating, and intermittent abdominal pain so I decided to make the 4 hour trek to Seattle to see what a different GI Dr. thought. He repeated the Colonoscopy and gastroscopy and found that I was recovering from colitis. This was probably because I had a sinus infection about a month before the procedure that was treated with biotin and prednisone.

Several months ago I was given Trimox for another sinus infection. I took acidophilus with the antibiotic and did fine while I was taking it. About 3 or 4 weeks later I began experiencing a lot of bloating and gas every time I ate something. I called my GI Dr. in Seattle and he referred me to my internist here since my case is somewhat complex due to all my other medical problems now.

Since then I just suffer every time I eat. Along with the bloating and gas I have been having abdominal pain. I went to a new Dr. on Friday and she is presently awaiting the results of many lab results. My spleen is enlarged and from her review of my past lab work I learned that I have chronic epstein bar virus, low AGG, and several other problems. In the meantime she has recommended that in addition to restricting my diet from dairy, that I eliminate wheat, gluten, corn, and yeast to rule out any food allergies. She also suggested taking 400mg of riboflavin and prescribed periactin 4mg T. It's a good thing I like rice!

When I saw the Dr. on Friday, I didn't remember to inquire about the c. difficile problem. Now I think I will have to give her a call and ask her to test me again for that. During my recent search on the internet, I came across an article about a new medication called nisin which is being used with good success to treat c. difficile toxin. Unfortunately I didn't bookmark it. It was easy to find though. I just typed in c. difficile for the search.



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