Where do you live?
San Francisco, California, USA
What percentage better are you?
What was your diagnosis and what treatments did you try before FMT?
I had terrible diarrhea after a life saving round of clindamycin for an abscess. I do think clindamycin is a horrible antibiotic and should only be used for life saving purposes. I am glad it was available to me and it did save my life but it has horrible and long-lasting side effects which all the doctors will down play. After I was tested repeatedly for C-Diff but I had no energy and was literally gray skinned and looked and felt terribly ill. The C-Diff tests kept coming back negative but I was diagnosed with severe vitamin deficiencies and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I also had no sensation of being hungry or full. It was like my gut was dead. This went on for over a year with painful cramps, so painful it would wake me up and terrible constipation or diarrhea depending on the day. I had no issues before the clindamycin.
When did you have your first and last FMT treatment?
I had two about 1 week apart.
How many FMT treatments did you need to see initial results and the results you have today?
Within 15 seconds I had hunger pangs, within 3 days I was 90% better. The first few days were painful but I really think this was my gut re-populating with good bugs.
Were there other perpetuating factors in your illness or illnesses, or was your only issue a bacterial imbalance?
No doctor will say this and I spent $1000 on colonoscopies, naturopaths, acupuncture, etc. But I am convinced the clindamycin started a chain reaction and no amount of oral probiotics could fix it.
Does your condition still need maintenance eg diet, supplements, medication etc to keep it in remission?
I continue to take probiotics, when I had stopped them around the time of the FT so as to not interfere w/ the naturally occurring probiotics of the FMT.
What factors did you take into account when deciding to do FMT?
No doctors could help me and I was desperate for relief. I have two small children and I am the primary earner in our family. I figured I had very little to lose.
What did your doctor/s say?
One basically said I was crazy and the others ignored me and told me to get used to my symptoms – not helpful.
What criteria did you use to choose a donor?
I read a lot about it and I think there can be some auto-immune problems so I picked my oldest daughter. I think using someone closely related to you is important.
What was your FMT experience like?
Messy, I did it in the tub for easy clean up but slept well after, etc.
What was your darkest moment when you were ill?
Not being able to get out of bed and being told there was nothing wrong with me.
What sustained you throughout?
Trying new things.
What are the top 3 things you most enjoy about your post-FMT life?
My sleep is SO much better.
Not having terrible cramps and pain.
My general anxiety is MUCH improved. I do think there is a gut/brain connection as I had terrible dark thoughts while on the clindamycin.
What advice do you have for others to deal with the fear and (perceived) risk about FMT, in the face of scepticism from treating doctors, friends and family?
I think you have to do your research and decide if it is worth the very small risk to get your life back. I did not discuss it with my husband as I knew he wodul not accept it.
What advice do you have for someone trying to make a decision about FMT?
Don’t ask your doctors unless you have an active C-Diff case. They will not help you and belittle you for even asking. I went to many “progressive” doctors who would not listen to me. I think very little is understood about the microbiome and you have to listen to your body to see if something is wrong. I am very grateful for FMT and I would not hesitate to do it again or give it to my children if they were suffering or even after a long run of antibiotics and a pre-emptive move.