The future looked bright for Natalie. A recent college graduate, fluent in Arabic and French, she’d recently accepted an administrative position at her alma mater, Catholic University, in Washington, DC. Given her commendably healthy lifestyle -- Natalie runs four days a week, doesn’t smoke, and “barely” drinks -- she was quite distressed, to find herself feeling listless and weak.
A visit to the dentist revealed a deeply-infected root canal. After the tooth was removed, Natalie was prescribed an antibiotic called Clindamycin. Far from being cured, however, this is when her real troubles began.
“Clindamycin is a strong drug, and I know I’m sensitive to medication,” she said. “I asked if I could take something else, but the doctor said ‘no.’”
Following a one-month course of antibiotics, Natalie still felt awful, with symptoms of what now seemed a severe intestinal flu. Nauseous, and with no appetite, she was barely eating. What little Natalie did consume caused her to either vomit, or rush to the toilet. Under these circumstances, she was forced to give up her new job, and defer enrollment in graduate school, as both opportunities required a commute of over an hour on public transportation from her home in Northern Virginia.
“I couldn’t sit that long on a train. My bowels were so loose, I had to go the bathroom five times a day! It was excruciating,” she recalls.
When Natalie was diagnosed with a bad case of Clostridium Difficile diarrhea (or “C. Diff.”), her doctors put her on Vancomycin, yet another powerful antibiotic Things now went from bad to worse. Natalie was losing so much weight, and so fast, she thought she was going to die. Her gastrointerologist told her they’d tried everything, and were out of options.
A sickly, but stubborn Natalie took matters into her own hands. She began scouring the internet for anything she could find about C. Diff., until she eventually learned about FMT, or fecal microbiotia transplantation. While some of her family and friends were disgusted by the idea, Natalie says this treatment immediately made sense to her.
“My problem started with antibiotics. It was obvious to me that the only solution was to repair the damage the drugs had done.”
More research and more Googling eventually brought Natalie to the attention of Dr. Michael Edmond. After he administered a dosage of FMT from OpenBiome, Natalie was astonished by the immediate change in her health.
“It was like the switch of a button!” she says, laughing. “When I had C. Diff, I had a terrible body odor, a sickly smell. But my Mom was driving me home from Dr. Edmond’s office, and she said she couldn’t smell me anymore. I literally thought I was going to die, so to be cured that fast was absolutely incredible. The next day, I went for a long run!”
Thanks to OpenBiome, once again a bright future is before her.