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I Did Not Die From Dysentery

I hate to brag, but I was kind of a pro when it came to playing Oregon Trail back in the day. I forded rivers with the best of them, was pretty amazing at the mini-hunting game and went at a nice and easy pace so no one in my wagon died along the way. In my mind dysentery is something associated with pioneers who go at a grueling pace and forget to caulk their boats when fording rivers. So I was in for a little surprise today when I found out that I, uh...kind of have dysentery.

Source

No, really. I think I have mentioned on this blog roughly 94 gazillion times that I have stomach drama. I tend to get a little crazy on Web MD and self diagnose myself, but eventually I let someone with an actual MD do the diagnosing. A couple of weeks ago I found out that I had occult fecal blood as well as low iron - the blood I was losing was causing the low iron. Well, gee. That's fun, right?

I had no idea what was causing all of it until today, when I learned that parasites had invaded my gut. I officially have amebic dysentery, or an invasion of entamoeba histolytica. It's not common in this area at all, so I'm guessing it's a result of a trip I took to the Philippines two year ago - Tim and I both got incredibly sick on our beach vacation and spent a few days in a beach hut taking turns walking along the beach to get Imodium, toilet paper and Gatorade. It started out as an awesome chance to spend time with his family and enjoy beautiful scenery but the sickness - honestly, it was the worst I'd felt maybe...ever.




So those little parasite guys are what is causing the bloating, the colitis, a leaky gut, blood loss, low iron and also now a wheat and soy allergy. If I hadn't made it clear yet - this sucks.

On the plus side, after 3 weeks of antibiotics I should be back to normal and the whole ordeal will be over. I keep dreaming of things to come....like not needing to stake out 4 toilets every time I run outside. Good times, good times.

Did you ever play Oregon Trail as a kid?
So much. So incredibly much. I honestly loved that game and spent way too much time trying to master the art of going at a "grueling pace" without anyone dying.

Have you ever gotten sick on vacation?
Obviously, yes. Such a bummer because were in a beautiful place with some incredible company! There's always a risk when you travel but even now, I would say it was worth it.
 

Comments

  1. OH MY GOSH VANESSA, now I was not expecting that.

    But at least you have a diagnosis and it'll hopefully be all over with the right antibiotics. So sorry that you're had to deal with this. The end is near.

    And wow, can't believe you ran a half marathon with those little hitchhikers inside of you! You're amazing.

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  2. OH. MY. GOSH!!!

    Two things immediately came to mind:

    Thank GOD you were diagnosed, and Thank GOD it's curable!!

    What a relief to know you will be back to normal in 3 weeks or less!!

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  3. Oh how I loved Oregon Trail. I hear there's an app now and I've purposely avoided it because I feel like I'd get sucked in.

    I hope the antibiotics do their job quickly and you're back to normal soon. How great will it be to be back to normal?!!

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  4. So you actually have a legit reason to avoid wheat? I approve :)

    But seriously, that is some serious shit you have going on. How long does the treatment take? This one ultra runner I know took a year to recover, so I'm guessing getting rid of those suckers isn't easy.

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  5. Glad that you survived the issue and that you didn't re-enact that portion of the Oregon Trail (yes, played it!, on the old--old-- Apple IIG computers!)

    Never sick like that on vakay, but hubby got a wicked burn in Hawaii and we were both pretty tired from all out sightseeing, etc so we took a day off to nurse his back and just sleep. Pretty sad when we were in paradise, but we needed it.

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  6. That's just some craziness. Glad they figured it all out and stuff.

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  7. I am glad that you found out the problem and are feeling better. I have never been sick on a vacation but then again I don't get away much!

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  8. I'm glad they found the cause! How crazy it was that!

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  9. Well that sounds just awful - but I'm glad they're getting you healed up!

    I've gotten pretty sick a few times while traveling - there was a lung infection in Peru, a parasite-ish thing in El Salvador, and some sort of stomach bug in both in Italy and Ecuador. With all of them, I was supremely stubborn and proceeded to do silly things like hike across the Dolomites or trek and bike up and down volcanoes. In Peru, I ended up going to an urgent care center after the second night of zero sleep (my coughing was keeping both me and Brent up). It was fun trying to explain my symptoms in Spanish... On the Ecuador trip, I had Cipro with me, but for the first few days of being sick I refused to take it. When I finally relented, I started to feel better within hours.

    Sometimes it's better to just give in :)

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  10. I was also not expecting this. The good news is it is not chronic..(like me) and you will get better (unlike me) and things will get back to normal!! so happy for you. Now for next vacation I suggest a very nice place without parasite and with excellent food and nice people: Quebec City!

    hey look at that: you are getting close to 1000 miles already this year!!!

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  11. Seriously?!?! Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow!!!!!! Girl - I think I'm thrilled for you to have finally gotten an answer and one that will be resolved in 3 weeks - that sounds like an amazing outcome - though dysentery? WOW! I've never known anyone to actually have it - so it's good to finally meet someone with it (not - it's horrible - quick, get rid of it!). How awesome, though, to finally have an answer - one that makes sense. Boo to tropical vacations I guess (though the pix of you and your man standing in that awesomely beautiful water is making me jealous). Hey I think you had a million bloggers warn you last summer about swimming in those warm lakes so that you don't get the brain eating ameba - ummm, careful down there sista'.

    I played Oregon trail a bagillion times! BAZILLIONGILLION!

    Only 2 vacay sicknesses I can remember: a serious migraine when I was in CA for last November's Big Sur Half and back in high school I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia while touring Europe with an orchestra. NOTHING LIKE YOU!!!!

    Yikes girl - feel better, get better, and put all of this in the rear (no pun intended) view mirror!!!!!

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  12. Oh my word, you are going to feel like a new person in 3 weeks! Thank goodness it's something that's easily treated.

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  13. Oh I used to love Oregon Trail! I totally forgot about that game.
    Wow I hope you feel better soon, I'm glad you figured out what it was!

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  14. Well, that sucks about what you have but the fact that you have an answer and a treatment is really good! I loved Oregon Trail but forgot about it. I got really, really sick after indulging in a seafood buffet in Mexico...such a bad idea, worst I ever felt.

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  15. Wowzers girl, can't believe that you've been dealing with this for about two years! So glad to hear that you have finally found the culprit and that things are looking up for your gut in the future. Once the parasites are gone do you still have to avoid gluten and soy?

    Used to play OT all the time as as kid. We used to fight over the computer in my house to play it, that was back in the day before every child had a cell phone and computer to themselves. There were five of us and we had to share one super slow early edition Mac.

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  16. OMG, that is crazy! Two years?! It much be such a relief to have an answer and to know that soon all your digestive issues will be gone!

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  17. WHOA! Im so glad you got a diagnosis! And luckily it seems easy to fix.?. Those little buggers can cause so much havoc. You should get extra medals from all of your races for carrying around the "bandits." Oregon trail was AWESOME! Feel better soon!

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  18. Holy crap! That is so crazy. It's actually kind of awesome to have such a definitive diagnosis with a clear treatment plan... but man. Your vacation better have been awesome to make up for all of this shittiness. (pun sort of intended.)

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  19. wow! I am also very surprised at your diagnosis. Not anything I would have guessed. Good luck getting it treated quickly and effectively! My crazy mother-in-law always says she has 'dysentery' every time she has any minor stomach issue. It's pretty funny how dramatic she is.


    On the way home from our honeymoon we were both puking on the plane from food poisoning. It was horrible, but at least we were on the way home and not the way there.

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  20. Nasty little amoebas. The first thing I thought when you listed your symptoms was, "Hm, hasn't she done a lot of overseas travel?" Always travel with ciprofloxacin and azithromycin!

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  21. oh, wow! So two years of the lil invaders?? Man...glad you're getting help!

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  22. SO glad to learn that you know what is wrong and that it can be treated. Awful to feel poorly all this time... and is Tim going to be tested too?

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  23. Oh. My. Gosh! Vanessa!!! At least now they can cure it. Right?! They better be able to cure that crap. Literally.

    I think every Friday we got to go to the computer lab in elementary school. After we finished our typing program- Mavis Beacon?- we could play The Oregon Trail. Good times. For sure.

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  24. You have got to be one of like 2 people in the world who never got dysentery in Oregon trail but got it in real life. That is so awesome. That is a PR in awesome right there.

    Not but seriously, what a huge relief to have a cure in hand and a timeframe for when you'll be better and not exploding bodily functions all over race courses. YESSSSSS.

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  25. Holy crap!!! First, I'm so glad you figured out what was going on and you can cure it. Secondly, oh man! I hope you feel better!!

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  26. Wow, can't believe this is how the story ends! And that you've been having this trouble for that long!!! So glad they figured it out and that, all things considered, it's easy to fix! Feel better soon - we still need to do a race together!

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  27. Wow! Glad you have an answer.

    Not to get all TMI, but my husband's had similar symptoms for roughly the last year since we got back from our vacation in St. Croix. They've done a battery of tests, but nothing has come up. Was there anything in particular I could tell his Drs to look into on the next visit? Unfortunately he's stuck taking a bunch of Imodium right now and although it helps, it certainly hasn't been the solution.

    Still can't get over the two years thing either!

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    Replies
    1. Honestly, it was the stool kit I took that was able to test for a range of parasites. It's not pleasant, and it's expensive (it was a few hundred dollars since my insurance didn't cover it). Mine was done through this company: http://www.diagnostechs.com/.
      It was completely worth it though - especially because the damage can be serious to your colon if you don't get rid of the little suckers!

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  28. So happy that they could find a cause! Good luck with the meds and I hope you are feeling better in no time.

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  29. oh wow!! i cannot believe it all started 2 years ago and took this long. that is insane. so all will be “normal” again after you finish the antibiotics? and it caused the wheat and soy allergy? does that go back to normal too? so odd. and yes, i LOVED oregon trail. green screen was the best way to play. i remember getting a computer at home and attempting the new version (PC) and not loving it as much.

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  30. Glad you got a diagnosis - it's the first step!

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  31. I'm glad they figured out what was messing up your GI system!! My worst illness wasn't on vacation, but I was living in the Australian rainforest at the time, which kind of counts, right? I had about 5 months of chronic nausea and was down to eating apples, toast, and hummus before they finally discovered I had gall stones. One quick surgery and three months later, I was fine. Those 5 months? Not fun at all.

    I played Oregon Trail constantly when I was little...and now I live 25 miles west of Chimney Rock, and am right smack-dab on the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Pony Express Trails here in far western Nebraska. Proof that everything in that game was based on fact is around me every day.

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  32. OMG! That sounds awful but at least it will be over soon. That's great news. I hope the antibiotic works for you. I've gotten sick on vacation once and it is no fun. Spending time in the bathroom is not what you want to do when you're at the beach.

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  33. Yikes! That sounds horrible! I'm glad you got diagnosed and are on your way to getting better!

    Also, Oregon Trail is one of my all time favorite games (though, I was much better at Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?). For all the times I played it, I only made it a live a handful of times.

    Feel better!!!!!

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  34. wow I am so glad you got diagnosed even though that sounds awful! At least you know now what it is and can fix it. What a relief.
    I live in Oregon and we used to play that game on super old computers in 2nd grade....I was a pro too! I loved it....

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  35. AHHHH!!! friend! this is crazy nuts! im so sorry to hear this and i can only imagine how tough its been going through everything. healing thoughts! i can also only imagine how ecstatic you will be in 3 weeks to feel all new again:) thinking of you!

    p.s. i did love oregon trail. i mentioned it often during my trip this past week;) haha!

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  36. So glad they finally figured it out! Good for you. You can eat and run again without "leaking" :)

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  37. I am SO STOKED that you have a diagnosis, and that it's curable. Also, if you're going to be feeling fucking awful, at least it's something kind of awesome, right?

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  38. That is SO freaking cool that you have a parasite living inside you :) I studied animal pathogens and always got so excited when we dissected something that had intestinal worms or some other crazy thing. I am so excited you can move forward and kill those parasitic buggers :D

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  39. glad it can be sorted and you didn't just try "wait it out".

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  40. Wow, I didn't realize that dysentery was still around! Good thing you went and had it actually checked out rather than just googling it forever! Just think, in three weeks you will not have to worry about looking for a toilet all the time! Although, you HAVE been running in the woods, right? That could be a blessing and a curse.

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  41. That's terrible! I hope that you are feeling better in no time. How scary!!

    I used to play Oregon Trail as a kid! Loved that game!!

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  42. Holy Sh*t! Literally! I guess it's nice to know why you feel that way finally. Recovery timeline?

    Oh yes, Oregon trail. Best part of school-a break from class.

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  43. Omg, that's just crazy! But YAY for finally getting some answers and a relatively quick and easy fix!

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  44. OH MY GOD I cannot believe that! I am SO sorry you have to deal with that! Yet, somehow you still managed to pull out an awesome blog post with one of my favorite all time games. Yup, I have it on my phone now. At least there's a course of action now to make you better? When will you be fully recovered? Does Tim have it? I just got sick on my vacation last weekend and now I'm paranoid.

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  45. I'm a HUGE advocate of cleanses, its crazy what we can pick up, even if you don't leave the country. Despite all you've gone through, I think you're incredibly lucky to at least get some answers. Hope it helps!

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  46. Ahh you finally got a diagnosis! So happy you could put an end to all the guessing. Hope the next few weeks fly by so you can get back to normal! Are the allergies going to be forever? Or will those eventually subside as well?

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  47. ACK!
    That sounds miserable.
    But at least now that you have antibiotics, you'll recover and be WAY better soon.

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  48. Wow, I hope the antibiotics kick in and you start to feel better. It's okay to brag about your Oregon Trail skills...makes me nostalgic to fire up some floppy disks and play again! I think I was stronger at Carmen San Diego though :)

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  49. Finally playing blog catch up, and been meaning to see if docs had got back to you with a diagnosis. Glad they have worked it out and that you might start feeling normal again in a few weeks ... are the allergies now a life long thing???? And damb ... I would have like to have gone in your nunn giveaway ... i just like the packets .. next time.x

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  50. hi there- can you please tell me the antibiotics that you were prescribed to beat this? I am suffering now with this- have tried a few things but nothing has worked yet.

    thank you!!
    Jenn
    jgeck_sml@yahoo.com

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