Yesterday was my doctor appointment.
This new doctor is an internist, but he does general practice medicine. I chose him particularly hoping he would be thorough since he isn’t just a regular old general practitioner.
My mother in law was going to watch the kids for me during the appointment, but she was sick. That meant I had to take the kids with me. So fun, that was. The girls were ok, but Henry was…not. He just wanted to run everywhere and lick everything. I’m really hoping we didn’t get the flu or something else nasty just in time for Christmas. I hate doctor’s offices.
When we finally got into the exam room the nurse came in and explained that the blood pressure had to be done on bare skin or the doctor wouldn’t accept it. I took that as a good sign–attention to detail! After so many years of seeing doctors who brush my symptoms off and give vague answers attention to detail might finally be happening?!
Once the doctor came in I could tell right away he was very dry and brisk, but he asked quite a few questions. I explained about my microscope experience and he wanted to see the pictures.
He was quite impressed and even laughed a little. He looked through the pictures and said he was certain that this was giardia. He couldn’t believe I’ve suffered so long and no other doctor had even suggested it as being the problem.
Yeah, me either.
Here’s the best part. All I needed to do to rid of giardia is to take one dose of medication.
Are you kidding? I’ve crapped my brains out and suffered with horrible cramps, felt weak and sickly, and been generally miserable for twelve years when all I had to do was take one dose of medication?
I will try to stifle the burning rage.
There’s a chance that the medication may not work fully since I’ve had giardia for so long. The cysts are well hidden inside of me at this point.
But you know what? I am just so relieved to know this is the problem. Even if it’s a battle to get rid of the giardia and cysts, I know that’s what it is. I don’t have cancer, I don’t have some random food allergy or intolerance that I can nail down. It’s a parasite. That’s it. There is hope of getting rid of it and healing, going on to eat normally and live a normal life that doesn’t revolve around my intestines.
That knowledge made yesterday the best day of my life, hands down. Better than getting married, better than new babies even. Knowing that there is an end in sight, a possibility of a cure! There are no words to describe the relief.
This has ruled my life for so long! I’ve never been married or had kids without giardia on board.
I had terrible cramps and yellow diarrhea on the day of my high school graduation, and I spent the whole time thinking about how not to have emergency poop while going through the ceremony.
I had it on the day of my wedding and I spent the entire time willing it not to happen while saying my vows.
I’ve had it during every vacation we’ve ever taken as a family. In airports, gas stations, on road trips. The pain. THE PAIN!
I’ve missed holidays, many of them, because I’m curled up in a ball crying from the burning pain and running to the bathroom.
I’ve been to the ER multiple times because I’ve been pooping straight water every time I eat or drink even one mouthful, only to be told it’s another virus and given fluids then sent home.
Every time I go out somewhere I have to constantly analyze the burning and bubbling in my gut to know when it may erupt or cause me to double over in sweat-inducing cramps.
I’ve missed baby showers, parties, dates with friends, Rosie’s dance recital, and many other things because I was randomly too sick to go at the last minute and I had no idea why.
I’ve laid awake night after night while horrible, indescribable gas rips through my intestines with this specific nasty smell unlike anything you’ve ever known before.
I’ve struggled to take care of my kids because I can barely move, because I have no energy at all and feel like I’m in a fog. I’ve felt suicidal because I just couldn’t face life feeling so miserable and disappointing everyone by having to lay down so much or being afraid to go anywhere because of my poop.
I’ve sat and listened to my parents, therapists, and doctors excuse it away as hormones, anxiety, or IBS, or something I’ve eaten. I’ve felt totally powerless because nothing I desperately tried helped at all. Even immodium did nothing against it.
All of these years it was just giardia and no one told me.
I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t struggled with this misery for years and years. Who knows what I could have done instead of spending so much time planning life around my unpredictable and painful intestines.
I guess that’s water under the bridge now, so to speak. I can’t change the past, hindsight is 20/20 and all that jazz. We can only go forward from here.
But do you see why finding out I have giardia is the best thing that ever happened to me?
I’m terrified that the battle to healing will be long and hard. I’m terrified that the tinidazole won’t work.
The doctor did blood draws to check on vitamin levels and some other things that giardia could mess up. He also ordered stool tests to be sure I don’t have any other parasites or anything else creepy lurking within my body.
I managed to collect a turd in the sample container yesterday afternoon without it being too disturbing, but then I realized they only gave me a clear plastic jar. How was I supposed to take this to the lab?? Marching through the hospital with a jar of poop in plain sight was not going to happen.
I considered putting it in a gift bag. You know…for shits and giggles. ;)
I ended up putting it in a paper wine bottle bag from Whole Foods.
It turned out the debate over the bag was useless. When the kids and I got to the lab the lady at the desk took it out and held it up.
She shook it around and looked at it. Then she called over another worker to look at it.
At the desk. In front of the whole world.
As it turns out, the lady announced loudly that it wasn’t enough poop. She then told me I needed to stuff the container full.
My very thorough doctor ordered two stool tests. I had only given enough…material…for one.
For f*cks sake.
The lady gave me another jar, and this time a lovely red biohazard bag to carry it in.
I’m hoping to get that over with at some point today. Ugh.
Last night I bravely took the four pill, 2000mg dose of tinidazole to kill the giardia protozoa. I was scared that there would be some nasty side effects.
About an hour after I took it this disgustingly strong bitter taste spread through my whole mouth and throat, and the taste just…sat there. No food or drink could clear it.
Then Henry woke up and tried to nurse, but he couldn’t stop popping off and gagging. My milk tastes bitter too. Ada tried it and almost threw up because the taste is so offensive.
The tinidazole has a three day half life. I guess it takes a long time to get out of milk. I hope I can find my pump in the basement because I am so engorged right now.
Henry is very upset. Poor baby. He keeps trying to nurse and gagging. He’s persistant. He’s so funny–when he realized the right side (his favorite, preferred side) tasted bad he immediately leaned over to test out the left side instead.
He was awake from 2:30 until 6:30 this morning because he couldn’t nurse back to sleep. Finally he passed out around 6:45, then Ada got up for the day.
Now he’s super tired and screaming because he keeps attempting to nurse and he just can’t do it. The medication has debatable safety for nursing anyway, so it’s probably best he isn’t.
I’ve nursed for 8.5 years straight without ever pumping and dumping. There’s a first time for everything I guess.
I’m scared Henry will not want to nurse anymore after my milk tastes so offensive for three days. He loves comfort nursing though. I’m hoping he’ll be happy it’s back to normal. He’s only 16 months old. Nursing to at least two years is really important to me.
So that’s where I am currently in the giardia battle. Waiting on the tinidazole to do its work. Then I’ll start the natural parasite killing pills. Following that, the gut healing stuff.
I feel like there should be some kind of giardia awareness campaign. How many other poor souls have these monsters inside of them and are suffering without need?!