I have not forgotten this blog and all of my bloggy friends, in fact in my spare time I have been trying to catch up on my blog reading, remember I was a blogoholic before I was a blogger. I will be posting more about my trip over thanksgiving and such but it will have to wait until I have a few more brain cells working. Since coming back I have been working every day and I think I am averaging about 10 hours a day, though not all of that is working 10 solid hours and I have been going to water aerobics (Thursday was the last day before finals and break sadly). I still have some residual plague symptoms but it is not that bad and does not interfere with my working so I plan to ignore it and hope the immune system eventually works it out.
Despite all the driving, 5.5 hours to Chicago followed by about 5 to Michigan after sleeping an hour between, it was worth it to get to see my beloved family and it was such a treat getting to meet the real WeaselMomma and her delightful family. My little shadow definitely felt it was worth the time and gas for me to come visit her and go meet our new weasel friends. I was not planning to make the trip since I was still sickly but Doc assured me that I was not contagious anymore and told me to go see the family. Niecey definitely appreciated the fact that I followed his advice and wanted to tell him. Here you go Doc, a video on my blog just for you, thank you so much for all you do to try and keep me functioning despite my orneriness:
And I have decided to answer a question (and probably go off on several tangents) I received from Abby here since my computer ate my reply to her on her blog and also I have a tendency to write way too much for a comment (if you aren't cool with this Abby let me know and I'll delete this part or edit it). She and her wife have an adorable daughter who has GI issues, some of her symptoms are quite similar to mine but the poor kid is way worse than I am and we have different causes for our issues. I find it interesting that so many GI issues have very similar symptoms and treatments, I learn so much reading about what they are going through with Hallie (though of course I prefer the posts that tell how cute and smart she is with pictoral evidence). In my experience and based on what I know and have read, people with GI issues have to find the right balance of drugs and foods to either control or lessen the symptoms. The current treatment Hallie is on or is about to be on involves a course of antibiotics to try and knock back a potential overgrowth of bacteria in her intestines (most likely kinds that are not the healthiest to have) . Someone suggested that they put her on probiotics (she is actually already on them), which are health benefiting microorganisms (generally bacteria), to hopefully prevent some of the more unpleasant aspects of going on the antibiotic* (diarrhea mainly I am guessing but they can cause more than just that).
Being a microbiologist with similar issues and who happens to work with probiotic organisms (specifically Bifidobacteria) I commented that I felt this was good advice. Use the antibiotic to knock out the bad and then take probiotics during and after in hopes of colonizing her gut with healthy bacteria. She asked me what I use and somewhat ashamedly I must confess that I do not really practice what I preach and currently am not taking any probiotics. I was trying to get into the habit of eating Dannon Activa but I do not like yogurt and especially after coming down with the plague I had even less desire to eat the stuff. I am definitely considering trying probiotics in pill form but have not gotten around to looking at what my options for that are. In Hallie's case I would recommend taking a supplement that contains at least one strain of Bifidobacteria (for her colon) and potentially a Lactobacillus species or two (or more, they tend to colonize the upper intestines) because the goal is to help her get through the antibiotic and establish a healthy flora. Given that the science is behind on substantiating claims made about certain possibly probiotic organisms (human studies are complex and expensive) and currently probiotics are not regulated it is hard to say if the claims made by these products are valid or not**, but it does not hurt to try.
I really hope that the antibiotic, mixed with probiotics, helps balance out Hallie's system. It is hard enough as an adult dealing with GI issues and knowing the reason behind them and the treatments (some of the treatments can be unpleasant), I cannot fathom being a child and only knowing the pain and discomfort these issues bring. But it is not all bad, Hallie has parents who fight for her and will do anything to help her as well as a nanny who adores her and does what she can to help as well. Also she is developing an instinct for what foods make her sick, something I am starting to get as well and it is very useful. No matter what she is an amazing little girl who is going to be a big sister in about two months (8 weeks).
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*Anyone can have GI issues during and after antibiotic therapy, the intestinal flora in humans is very important and antibiotics tend to wreck at least some havoc with it, one of several reasons not to go on antibiotics unless it is necessary. I am not against the proper use of antibiotics, improper use of them and the resistance that is resulting from that is a huge public health concern. They can cause more harm than good in someone who is sick with "just a virus" and I am glad that doctors are more and more standing up to their patients who insist on having a script even when it is clearly a viral infection and it is explained to them that an antibiotic will not help. I say those people should be put on placebomycin and told it should work within 2 weeks and they should drink plenty of fluids and rest...
**Please do not interpret my skepticism as my not thinking probiotics give benefits, as a scientist my job is to be skeptical.