h. pylori

In All Circumstances

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Our little family has had quite a wild week of sickness. The craziness started on Tuesday, when Sadie came down with a cold. She was in good spirits, but was super clingy and had a runny nose.

Baby with runny nose

Jimmy has been having some stomach issues on and off for the past few months and things came to a head on Wednesday. He was in so much pain, feverish, and feeling really nauseous. Sadie and I dropped him off at med express, which felt awful. I wanted to be with him, but we also didn’t want Sadie around any extra germs at med express.

After being looked at and getting some medication, the doctor sent him straight to the emergency room. Sadie and I picked him up from med express and drove him over to the ER. Watching Jimmy walk into the emergency room alone was not a fun experience.

He had all sorts of tests run while doctors worked on trying to figure out what was going on with his stomach and they decided to admit him to the hospital overnight. Then, poor Sadie girl woke up from her afternoon nap with a fever of 101.

Once I put her to sleep for the night, my in-laws so kindly came to our house for a bit so I could visit Jimmy in the hospital. The poor guy was throwing up, still in pain, uncomfortable, and so bummed to have to stay at the hospital overnight. I felt so helpless and just wished I could take away the pain for him.

Guy in hospital bed

I hated leaving him and knowing that things were unresolved. It was a long night for both of us. On Thursday morning, I got Sadie ready and my mom graciously took her to her house to spend the night so I could be with Jimmy since we weren’t sure how long he would be in the hospital.

Jimmy was put under anesthesia and had an endoscopy on Thursday afternoon. It turned out that he had severe gastritis with bleeding and erosions. Jimmy mentioned to the doctor that I had H. pylori a few years back, so the doctor took a biopsy to test for H. pylori to see if that’s what caused the gastritis (we’re waiting on those results at the moment).

Seeing Jimmy just moments after the endoscopy had me ready to burst into tears. He was still under anesthesia and had all sorts of wires and tubes attached to him. I’m just not used to seeing him like that, and it was just so tough.

We hung out in the recovery area, and then went back to his room where he tried to eat a bit, but wasn’t feeling too great. We FaceTimed with Sadie and my parents, and she was still struggling with her cold and kept getting fevers. Jimmy immediately started a medication to help heal his stomach and was thankfully released to go home that night!

We picked up his prescription on the way home and he went to bed at 7:00pm. The next morning, my parents were pretty worried about Sadie. She had a fever and was so lethargic that she was falling asleep on the floor.

Baby sleeping on floor

We called our pediatrician and got her an appointment asap. We picked Sadie up from my parents’ house and by the time we got to the pediatrician she was so out of it and feverish.

I felt horrible for her. It’s just awful seeing your child sick. I knew Jimmy wasn’t feeling good, either. Everyone was a mess, basically! Sadie was tested for the flu but thankfully didn’t have it! She just has a bad cold and a double ear infection. The pediatrician told us to really watch her breathing, too, because she was breathing kind of quickly while we were there.

Mom and baby at doctor's office

We got Sadie home and settled into a nap while I ran out to pick up her prescription for her ear infection. Whew. It was a long evening seeing her in pain, worrying about her breathing, and trying to help Jimmy rest and feel comfortable. Jimmy and I picked up Sadie’s cold, but overall we’re doing just fine.

I woke up this morning (Saturday) praying today would be the first day since Wednesday I wouldn’t be at med express, the ER, hospital, pharmacy, or pediatrician’s office! So far, I haven’t had to go to any of those places and I’m so thankful.

I was reading my Bible this morning and immediately thought about the verse at the beginning of this post, and how we are to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. It makes all the difference in situations like we had this week.

We had a tough week, but I’m so thankful for doctors and medicine and family and friends and prayer. We are so incredibly blessed. I will always, always do my best to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances ❤

My Experience with H. pylori

I was diagnosed with an H. pylori infection in July 2012, and to this day I still get views on my posts about that time in my life. I figured it would be a good idea to create a sort of master post to detail my journey through H. pylori for anyone that finds my blog and is struggling with the infection.

What is H. pylori?

According to WebMD, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can enter one’s body and live in the digestive tract. H. pylori can cause ulcers in the lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine. For some people, an infection can lead to stomach cancer.

H. pylori can be contracted from food, water, or utensils. It’s more common in countries that lack clean water or good sewage systems. You can also pick up the bacteria through contact with the saliva or other body fluids of infected people.

I have no idea how I was infected with H. pylori, but it was pretty rough. For months, I struggled with a burning stomach pain, heartburn, bloating, weight loss, and bloody stools.

Once I was diagnosed with H. pylori, my doctor immediately prescribed me a triple therapy medication called PrevPac. Each day of the triple therapy medication protocol I took eight pills; four in the morning and four in the evening.

PrevPac includes a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), and two antibiotics. The PPI works to block acid production in the stomach, which can help existing ulcers heal. The antibiotics treat the infection by stopping the growth of bacteria.

I won’t lie, my experience with PrevPac wasn’t fun. I had a lot of the common side effects such as nausea, a metallic taste in my mouth, and fatigue. The nausea was definitely the worst symptom to deal with. I just felt like I couldn’t function.

I took PrevPac for two weeks, and then my gastroenterologist performed an endoscopy to biopsy parts of my esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to check if the infection was still present.

The endoscopy wasn’t bad at all. I had an IV inserted, was put under anesthesia, and woke up about an hour later. The only side effects I had from the endoscopy were a sore throat and mild stomach pain. A week later, I found out that the biopsies tested negative for the infection, so the medication had worked.

Unfortunately, I will always carry the antibodies for H. pylori. If you were to test my blood for H. pylori today, it would show up as positive for a presence of the bacteria.

Thankfully, most ulcers and side effects of H. pylori usually heal after a few weeks of treatment. One way H. pylori still impacts me today is that I generally try to avoid NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, etc. because they can damage the lining of the stomach. 

From the time of diagnosis until I was in the clear after my endoscopy was an intense time in my life. I felt pretty sick from the medication, but was urged to try and take it no matter what so my body didn’t build up a resistance to the antibiotics. I didn’t feel like myself for a few months, but I’m blessed that I was able to learn what was wrong and take medication to treat it!

Past posts on my infection

If you have any questions about H. pylori, feel free to email me (alliezottola (at) gmail (dot) com) or leave a comment!