Ulcerative Colitis, C. Diff., and Salmonella


My name is Tiffany. I am a 25-year-old middle-school math teacher. I am Mormon (LDS), and recently married (December 2011). I like reading, hiking/camping, and spending time with my family.

Colitis Symptoms:

Bloody bowel movements (during flare, at least 20 times a day), body cramps, headaches, stomach noises, stomach cramping.

The UC Combo Meal: Colitis, C. Diff and Salmonella

Hi guys, I was so glad to find this website, and especially this post! I have a similar story, and it’s so nice to feel like I’m not alone. I would appreciate any advice, feedback, thoughts, anything!

Three years ago (December 2009) I was in my senior year of college and home for Christmas. The day I was supposed to fly back to school I passed out. The doctor ran some blood tests. My white blood count was at 24, and they had no idea why. No fever, all blood tests were negative (mono, leukemia, you name it!). They pumped me full of a ton of antibiotics, and sent me back to college. Within a month I got put on more antibiotics for walking pneumonia. All of these antibiotics helped gave me c. diff., which was rough for a month.

I graduated, moved to a new city, and got my first job as a teacher (7th grade math). The c. diff. had been clear for a few months, but then I started having bloody stools.

Being the “mind over matter, suck it up” person that I am,

I spent a month just ignoring it.

l got up to over 20 bloody bowel movements a day that I broke down and saw a doctor. They assumed it was c. diff. again, so gave me more antibiotics – it took two months of negative c. diff tests, lots of bleeding, some ER trips, and finally a colonoscopy to diagnose me with moderate/severe UC (November 2010). I was given prednisone, along with imuran and mesalamine.

I spent several months on prednisone. In the middle of it, I was hospitalized with salmonella (May 2011, so 6 months of UC and prednisone). I finally weaned off the prednisone in June 2011, but have stayed on the mesalamine and imuran. About once a month my stools get loose, so my doctor has prescribed me a mesalamine enema to use and that usually clears it up within a few days.

I got married a in December 2011. A month later I started bleeding again, but it took me back up to 20 bloody BMs a day I went to the ER and was hospitalized for a few days. The c. diff was positive, so my husband had to wear a gown, gloves, and mask to visit me (great way to start a marriage, huh?). They let me go home, but that lasted two days, and I had to go back to the ER and was hospitalized for a few more days, this time for the colitis. They said it was rare the c. diff. would affect colitis, but apparently for me it did.

I’ve been home for only two weeks. I tried going back to work one day and was completely wiped out.

Plus I’ve had the worst headaches and vertigo ever!

Does this happen to anyone?

I’m getting the normal leg/arm cramping, insomnia, mood swings, and food cravings. I saw my PCP and he said the headaches/vertigo are actually migraines and has scheduled an MRI just in case, but has given me migraine medication. Does anyone else have these effects? I feel like I’m going crazy. I want to get up, teach, do things, but I can’t and I’m now worried that I’ll pass out in front of my kids or something. How long is a normal recovery time? Before all of this, I’d never been sick a day in my life! (Seriously, I even got an award in high school for perfect attendance all four years.) I don’t want to push myself too hard like I usually do, but I’m terrified I’ll swing in the other direction and become lazy.

Any thoughts, advice?

Colitis Medications:

Imuran and mesalamine to control most of the time, mesalamine enema to control beginning of a flare, prednisone if flare gets out of control.

written by Tiffany

submitted in the Colitis Venting Area



8 thoughts on “Ulcerative Colitis, C. Diff., and Salmonella”

  1. Tiffany,

    Minus the salmonella your story and mine are very similar. Back in March of 2010 I was sick with pneumonia and went to the ER. They prescribed me some harsh antibiotics. They didn’t suggest that I also take a probiotic or anything. Just sent me on my way. Well, in two weeks I was feeling better but then the CDIFF reared its ugly head. I was in the hospital for five days. Cdiff is miserable and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Anyway, over a year the cdiff came back once. The second time I thought I had cdiff again but the same meds that cured it before weren’t working. I waited a month of torture before I went to the ER again. While I was there they did a colonoscopy and this is where I was diagnosed with UC. That was in October of 2011. Since then I have been placed on Apriso and prednisone. I really watch what I eat and I have learned what to stay away from. The apriso seems to be working and I just seemed off of the prednisone this past Friday. I was told to avoid stress at all cost so I have cut out various things that I know would trigger stress. I have been out of my flare since December 26th. I think that staying on the meds, cutting back on those foods that irritate your tummy and staying calm have helped me. Its amazing what stress can do to your body. You said that you had gotten married around the time of diagnosis. We know that is a VERY stressful time in a woman’s life. I was going through a divorce before I was diagnosed. So the combo of the meds administered by the ER for the pneumonia and the stress if what I feel caused this. Please know you aren’t alone and it will get better :) Loom at Adam…..He isn’t even on meds any longer and is flare free. I was told that it takes 30 days for your intestines to heal. So be patient and stay positive! Its the only way to get through this :)

  2. Hi Tffay, I too hdCDIFf many yrs ago it really Was bad. The good tht came from it was that I lerned to watch my diet. What have you been doing with your diet? Presently, I am follong the SCD because I a having issues with heaartburn and not my UC but it is really helping me. Let us know how you are doing. Congrat on your recet marriage.

  3. Thanks guys! I’ve been following what my doctor and nutritionist have said: stick with a low fiber diet. So I made switches like from wheat bread to white bread, very minimal fruits and vegetables (except for bananas, etc. that are a lower in fiber). I’ve noticed that chocolate and other sugars can upset my stomach, so I try to keep those to a minimum. I try to each things that are low in fats or oils as well, and I never eat anything spicy (I also have GERD). In looking at the SCD, I think I’ve already been following it fairly closely.

    As for the stress, it’s hard to not stress! Lol, I actually really don’t ever feel stressed: I have a lot of faith, and I don’t worry about the little things. That having been said, I’m sure I’m subconsciously stressed about my job (I really care about my students) and then yes, getting married. We’re going to be moving to Utah in June so my husband can finish his senior year of college. Again, I don’t actively feel stressed but I think I have a lot of subconscious pressure.

  4. Hi Tiffany. Sorry to hear about your UC. It saddens me that this happens to so many young people. I’m 55 and it started with me back in Decemeber of 2010 and I finally was diagnosed in April of2011. I took Balsalazide Disodium and prednisone till I was weaned off the steroids in October and then the symptoms slowly started to return. I went to the doc right before Christmas and he wanted to put on immuran but I wanted to wait before I changed my immune system so he put me on asacol and said to give a try for 3months. Since Jan 1 of 2012 to, about a week ago I was in a full blown flare now I think I’m coming out of it slowly. Thank God for Adam who started this web site because I didn’t have hardly anyone to talk to because it is very important to have an outlet. I’ve learned on this site for example about symptoms are different on a lot of different people. Me for example 20 to 25 bm’s a day but hardly any blood and only a small amount of poop in 6 or less bm’s and the rest what I call dry heaves. I read on this site that person was taking meds for spastic colon , well my doc told me I had this also but did’t prescribe anything so I fell like I’ve been fighting both. About three weeks ago I went down to about 10to14bm’s a day then last I week I went a kinesiologist and he helped me a lot and has given me a different outlook or another way to approach this. Now down to 4 to 6 bm’s aday and I hope this continues. I highly recommend you get the book Breaking the Viscious Cycle it will give you an idea what your up against and what your diet has to do with this. I now know that doctors don’ t tell us everything and most don’t believe a diet effects anything but I disagree. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or to try new things . Well that is my story and opinion and my advice and I hope this gives you some comfort or help because there a lot of us out there who care and hope you have great success with your UC and one more thing Don’t give up.

  5. Hey about your dizzyness and migraines. Make sure your doc checks your blood iron levels. Anemia is a wonderful gift that comes along with UC. If you’re lucky you might get away without joint pain. Be strong.

  6. Thanks Princess PP – that was one thing I forgot to mention; two weeks before the c. diff. kicked in the second time, a routine blood test showed I was anemic, so I think that’s been a part of it. My white blood count is high, but that’s probably because of the prednisone. My thyroid numbers were a bit off, though, as were my platelets, and my vitamin D is low (and that’s with already taking vitamin D supplements). Had a GI appointment today, and it looks like we’re going to start weaning off the prednisone! I am so excited! Then we’ll do some more blood tests in about three weeks to make sure, and I have an MRI scheduled for this Friday afternoon just to make sure the migraines and dizziness aren’t something else.

    The joint pain really kicked in last night, and the insomnia with it is the worst. It’s mostly my knees and hip sockets, and I end up pacing the apartment until about 1a, when I finally drift off for a little bit. But it’s ok, it’s temporary, and I can handle it! :)

  7. Hi Tiffany,
    You mentioned that you get insomnia, mood swings and food cravings. I get all 3 of these from prednisone. My mood swings and food cravings are at their worst when I am taking 40 mg per day. When I get down to 15 mg or less per day the mood swings and food cravings lessen quite a bit but my insomnia doesn’t go away until i’ve been off the prednisone for a week or so. I have been off prednisone for about 2 weeks and I am determined never to take it again. I have found that the SCD diet does help me some. I take apriso (mesalamime). I’m not sure how much it helps me but maybe it keeps my UC from getting worse.
    Keep track of what foods make you feel worse and stay away from them. When you find out what works for you, you will start noticing an improvement.

    George in Napa

  8. Math Teacher Tiffany

    Thanks, George. I’m now down to 20 mg/day and feeling all right! Just hope it keeps going.

    In other news, my primary care had me do an MRI because of the vertigo and migraines. The results came back that my nasal cavities are really swollen/narrowed. He said the normal treatment is a long course of antibiotics, but because of my c. diff. history we can’t do that. So he’s sent a message to an ear, nose, and throat specialist to figure out where we go from here.

    I’m moving to a new state in June, and I was talking to my GI about my concerns of finding a new doctor (new insurance, too). He told me that he wouldn’t abandon me, and that if I had any questions at all even after I’ve moved, I can always call or email him. I am so grateful for good doctors!

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