Not Giardia?

As many of you know, I’ve been ill this winter. It started out with what seemed to be a simple stomach bug in early December, but it turned out I had a giardia lamblia infection — probably brought back from India in 2015 (at least), and mostly dormant (well, with hindsight, there were subclinical symptoms) until tiredness of a new job with a demanding schedule and winter funk pushed it (me?) over the edge.

I relapsed after the first treatment, and the second, and seemingly after the third. A month of being unwell after the third treatment led me to repeat the analysis to make sure the nasty protozoan was still around.

It wasn’t.

Much as having giardia detected in December came as a huge relief (I hadn’t been dreaming this last couple of years that my digestion wasn’t great and that my tiredness wasn’t normal), this negative result left me nonplussed. If I didn’t have giardia anymore, what was going on? And if I did it now, and my third relapse wasn’t a relapse, what about my second relapse? And the first?

Doubting myself, again.

Thankfully, by the time I got the results I’d gone about a week feeling better. Lots of rice and no dairy, had said the doc. I’d been doing that since before the third treatment. Maybe my gut was finally rested enough that it had stopped misbehaving?

I don’t know if I had a third relapse and got over it myself. Though giardia can be really hard to get rid of, you’re also supposed to be able to eliminate it yourself. And a week or so after the end of that third antibiotic treatment, I found myself extremely tired and sleeping a lot. Maybe it was my body putting up the fight?

I’ll never know.

Now, things are quite good. Two weeks of holiday also helped. It’s hard to recuperate from a long illness when you’re working nearly full-time over an hour from home.

I can now eat cheese without any trouble. I’m going to take a second batch of probiotics (s. boulardii). I took the first early in my holidays, a bit less than three weeks ago. I’m careful not to overload my digestive system, particularly with raw veggies (salad) or dairy.

I’m much less hungry than I was. I can actually “stand” being hungry. I used to get frantic if I didn’t have food. It seems much better now. Was it giardia? Was it something else that all the antibiotics got rid of? How long have I had giardia?

Again, I’ll probably never know.

So, I’m less hungry, and eating less, and I can wear the trousers I couldn’t fit in last autumn again. I’ve lost weight, in between being ill and having less of a “stuff myself” drive. Maybe I’ll be able to reduce my grocery budget :-)


Originally published at Climb to the Stars.