In 2011 I had wrist surgery, which may be where I picked up C. diff spores. My dentist prescribed clindamycin 10 months later, and 24 days later I realized that I was very sick. When I finally saw my doctor, the infection had spread wildly. I had never heard of C. diff before which is why I didn’t seek medical help sooner.
After many months of vancomycin, the infection wouldn’t budge. I was finally cleared for an FMT and that was a saving grace that cured the C. diff infection. Once I was strong enough, I decided I needed to do something to help others who were suffering the same thing that I’d just been through. I started advocating to medical and dental offices and working one-on-one with infected individuals.
In the spring of 2020, I had the great joy of attending the Peggy Lillis Foundation Virtual Summit. The fact that it was virtual was the one upside of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home order.
In a networking session during the Summit I met the senior director of patient engagement at Summit Therapeutics. We had a wonderful conversation and continued to stay in touch. My great joy as an advocate was to be able to present to their entire company in the UK, Florida, and Massachusetts to share my C. diff story and answer their questions. At that point I was so fired up I contacted Christian and I said that I want to work as an advocate with the Peggy Lillis Foundation.
I’m a born networker. I really want to reach out and connect with other people to make a positive impact in the world, to help other people that are struggling with or recovering from this disease, and make a difference in the world. I believe it’s very important that the CDC records and captures the data on community contracted C. diff cases and to make sure that people are aware of it. I had no idea that it even existed until it infected me. In this era of the coronavirus pandemic, my biggest fear is that C. diff will be put on the back burner. I believe that it’s even more important with all that we have learned to record, report, and respond to all infectious diseases.