Michael's Case History


My name is Michael and I am a 37 year old Hispanic male.  Prior to this illness, I have been in excellent health.  I had been working out 5 times a week and had no other illnesses.  I have not been on any antibiotics for over two years, but did take my first ever flu shot in October of 1998. 

I was diagnosed with c-dif toxin on Monday, February 15, 1999.  I first became ill on December 30, 1998 after four days of feeling run down and slightly dizzy.  Over these four days, I still made it a point to go into the gym for my workouts each day. During this period, I also remember hearing my stomach making a lot of gurgling sounds.  On the day I became ill, I was sitting in a restaurant having dinner when I was suddenly overcome with chills, nausea, and shaking all over my body.  I rushed home and vomited once.  The next day, I woke up feeling fine, but after an hour of being up I felt extremely fatigued and had a little diarrhea.  Two days later I developed symptoms similar to a cold (runny nose, congestion, no fever).  Several people at work had similar symptoms, so I assume that is where the cold came from.  Three days later I was walking to a restaurant with friends when I had a similar attack to the previous Wednesday.  This time I had diarrhea once and was left feeling weak and shaking all over.  Again, I woke the next morning feeling fine, but soon became fatigued.  I slept on and off the entire day.

A week after this all started, I finally called my doctor.   My doctor diagnosed my condition as gastroenteritis that was accompanied with a cold.  He told me to rest, eliminate diary products from my diet and call him in a week. 

In a weeks time, my cold was gone, but my stomach was still bothering me (soreness, cramping, diarrhea every other day with no bowel movements in between, extreme fatigue, dizziness).  My doctor then conducted a series of tests including blood work for hepatitis, HIV, etc.  All tests came back negative.  He said I just picked up some sort of viral syndrome and that it would take time to work it's way through my body.

A week later, after eating lunch, I was hit with a sudden bout of extreme dizziness and fatigue. I could barely hold my head up.  I was in an off site meeting, excused myself, and headed directly to my doctor's office.  I didn't have an appointment, but my doctor could see how miserable I was.  Again, I was told that I just needed to rest and I would be fine.  I was told to come back yet another week later. 

I went back the next week, still experiencing fatigue, dizziness, and diarrhea every other day.  The diarrhea was very foul smelling and of a light color (almost orange).  My doctor said he believed that I had something called Giardia.  Described as a parasite that is often passed sexually, I was confused as to how I might have contracted it.  My partner had no similar symptoms.  He prescribed metronidazole 250 mg three times a day and began a three day stool collection.  The next day I woke up feeling better thinking everything was going to be back to normal.  This was over 6 weeks after all of this began. 

The first two days of stool collection, things started to look more normal.  By the third day, the diarrhea was back.  The only thing I was grateful for was that this would be part of my stool collection and that something would be found and I would be better soon.  The stool collection period ended on Saturday.  I got another cold at this point (sore throat, runny nose, no fever).  That came and went in about a week.  The diarrhea was now occurring once a day and always at the end of the day.  The following Wednesday morning, I headed to the airport to attend a sporting event out of town.  I arrived at the airport and had to run to the bathroom.  This was unusual, because the diarrhea was only occurring in the evening.  When I was finished, I went to sit down at the gate where my flight was boarding.  After a couple of minutes, I realized that I was extremely dizzy and fatigued and could barely move.  I actually came close to asking someone to call for help (first aid or something).  I waited until everyone else boarded the plane and then pulled up the strength to get on the plane. I fell asleep immediately after sitting in my seat and woke up about an hour later feeling better. 

The bouts of dizziness and fatigue continued for another three days and the diarrhea increased from two times a day to three times in one morning by that Saturday. By the way, on Thursday I received a call that my stool sample results were in and everything looked fine.  I was even feeling better on Friday and decided to head to a gym to workout. I got through my workout and was feeling pretty good.  On Saturday, after napping all morning (in between bouts of diarrhea), I decided to try to go the sporting event that I had tickets for.  Midway through I felt like I was going to faint. I got up thinking that moving around a bit would help, but it only made things worse. I headed over to the First Aid counter and was told by the person at the desk that I was looking very pale. By this point I was having trouble breathing, my stomach was cramping, and I could barely stand from the dizziness and fatigue.  I was immediately put on oxygen and an ambulance was called.  I was rushed to the hospital where many tests were conducted (blood, heart, x-rays, etc).  Everything came back fine, except my potassium levels were pretty much depleted.  The doctor believed this was from the diarrhea.  I was put on a IV and given two bags of glucose and given potassium orally.  After about three hours I felt completely fine and was released. 

The next day, on my way back to the airport, I stopped by the hospital to give them a stool sample that they wanted.  The next day a message was left on my machine that c-dif toxin was found in my sample.  I must say I was relieved to learn that something was found. 

Back at home, I called my doctor who was also relieved.  He said it turns out that the medication he had prescribed for Giardia was also effective in treating c-dif.  I actually felt pretty good and had only a mild case of diarrhea the previous day and none that day.  The next two days I felt fine and even headed back to the gym after almost 7 weeks off. Unfortunately, last night I started feeling fatigued again.  Today, I still feel tired and a little dizzy.  I have not had diarrhea, but the bowel movement I just had is of the same color and odor as the diarrhea I have been having.  By the way, last night, after I started feeling tired, I began drinking a yogurt drink with live cultures called Altadina Yogurt Drinkables.  I doctor friend suggested it would help by stomach get "back in balance". 

I'm not sure what is going on now.  If this continues through the weekend, I will call my doctor to follow up.  Next week will make it a full two months that I have had to deal with this.

I look back at all of this and still wonder how I contracted c-dif.  I remember a week and a half before I became ill, I ate at a restaurant in New Orleans and noticed the cold roast beef I had been eating was dark green and glossy. Two days before I become ill, I ordered take out pizza that arrived cold and I ate it anyway. Also, we just moved into a new house and the previous owners had a cat that was very sick that was kept in the closet we now use on a daily basis to change.  Also, the shower we now use gives off a foul sewage smell.  Plumbers cannot find the problem. 

I forgot to mention in my earlier case history that the day before I started feeling fatigued (almost two months ago) I took a double dose of allergy medication (Nasonex: mometasone furoate monahydrate) because my allergies had been bothering me (sneezing, itchy eyes).  The next day, I woke up and the allergies were gone, but I felt fatigued.  I assumed it was because I took too much of the nasal spray.

I hope I haven't gone on too much.  Thanks for the opportunity to vent.  I will keep you informed of my progress. 


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