My Name is Ceri & I Have a Parasite in my Stomach

Hi friends!

So you wanna go to Mexico?

Here’s a couple of words of warning that I’m sure are no stranger to you after the ton of research you’ve no doubt done by now:

1) DO NOT drink the water.

2) BE VERY CAREFUL with street food. Look at how/where it’s being cooked and use your own sensible judgement.

And, most importantly,

3) DO NOT ASSUME THAT AFTER LIVING IN MEXICO FOR SOME TIME, RULES #1 AND 2 DON’T APPLY TO YOU.

Or you could end up in my position.

After ten and a half months of Mexican life, it’s fair to say that I’ve probably thrown up and rushed to the bathroom more times in my life than you’ve had hot dinners. In fact, I think the only other time my vomiting was so regular was when I was 3 weeks old and suffering from Pyloric Stenosis.

It all started back in December when I got my first ever bout of food poisoning from a badly-made Christmas dinner. I could barely move, suffered through it for a good week or two, but then recovered without ever going to the doctor. I just did what any normal person would do and rode it out until everything I’d ever consumed (and about 10 pounds) was out of my system.

Then back in March I got my second case of food poisoning. This was less severe but I handled it the same way I did over Christmas. Just rode it out for the weekend and stumbled into work on Monday morning.

Since then I’ve had variations of the March incident on and off. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night/early hours of the morning, clutching my stomach and stumble to the bathroom. (I know, right? How am I still single?) My days will then be filled with more vomiting and bouts of weakness and dizziness. After a day or two, I’ll be fine again. For the last six months this has been happening every three weeks or so, and it wasn’t until I nearly passed out and hit my head on the toilet yesterday that I figured it was probably time to see a doctor.

This genuinely wasn’t an easy decision to make. Like the other Brit expats here, I don’t like paying for my healthcare no matter how “cheap” it is. (You know what’s cheaper? FREE healthcare!) But I didn’t want to take the chance that my sickness was being caused by any of the things on Google, so off I went to see a doctor in the hospital close to me.

And the thing about Mexican doctors, walking around in their white coats, stethoscope around their necks, Nike-clad feet? They’re all beautiful. So beautiful I almost wanted to throw myself in front of the traffic outside so my hospital stay could be extended to more than a few hours.

But I didn’t. I behaved. I may have been a little too weak to throw myself anywhere.

And my diagnosis? I have some sort of bacteria or parasite in my stomach that keeps getting aggravated, and because I’ve chosen to ignore it for so long, it’s been making a nice little home in there and flaring up at regular intervals.

Not to worry though. I’ve been prescribed a four week course of antibiotics (Woah! What? No drinking?) which should lead me back to perfect health in no time.

The root cause of this? He couldn’t say exactly.

But he did say it was likely caused by bad street food (unlikely given that I never eat street food) or heavy consumption of the tap water here (um, oops).

In the meantime I’m letting my stomach take it easy by feeding it all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies and laying off junk and pre-packaged crap.

And as my parasite has been a complete douchebag that keeps sticking around no matter how unwanted it is, it’s only fitting that I named it Kirk after this one:

35 thoughts on “My Name is Ceri & I Have a Parasite in my Stomach

  1. Damn, honey, I’m so sorry. Still, it could’ve been MUCH worse. A month of tablets is a pretty decent result.

    And if you want to come be sociable some time, I’ll keep my promise, show solidarity and drink only refrescos with you.

  2. Damn, girl! I know that on my two trips to Mexico, I don’t even rinse my toothbrush with the tap water. I thought I was being paranoid but I guess not. I wish you a speedy recovery!

    • Thanks, hunni. Definitely be very careful with the water. The area of the city I’m living in now has okay tap water as long as you boil it before using it for cooking. The area I was living in when I caught this parasite was so bad. When you ran the tap, you could SMELL the water. :S

  3. Oh Ceri…I’m sorry. I had a mega parasite a couple of years ago. It actually entered through my foot (hookworm) and traveled up my body to my stomach and stayed there for months. No doctor even knew what the heck it was until I found the answer myself online and then FINALLY got someone to correctly diagnose me. But PHEW you got a 4 week treatment of antibiotics. HOPEFULLY that will help. No more tap water ;-)

    • OMG, that sounds horrific, Rach! I can’t believe you actually had to diagnose yourself though. What are the doctors like in Chiapas? Here it’s so hard to know who’s genuine and who’s full of BS because there’s a printing place near the Zocalo that prints out fake certificates and degrees for a good price.

  4. Super Ceri!!! that is terrible, I have to admit that me being a mexican I tend to go into deparasitation (if that term exist in English, which is just getting rid of parasites with a one week treatment) every 6 months because you can’t really help catching something here.
    Hope you recover soon.

    • Nathan is right! Luckily, my OWN parasite hit right before my sister’s wedding! Everyone kept asking me, “How do I get one of those handy dandy parasites?” hahaha (The upside for me was, my parasite had mild side effects–no vomiting or major stomach pain.) Poor Ceri <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    • Hahaha. Feck, Nath, if you lost any more weight, you’d disappear. Though … yeah, it definitely does help you “slim down”. One of the upsides to being constantly sick! :P

  5. ‘Be gone Kirk……be gone…. you disgusting creature!!! jaja :) I only got gastro once in my 10 months in Mexico so at least on that front I was lucky :) Great read Hun…UR personality always shines through in your writing and makes me smile and laugh…regardless of the subject matter <3

    • You’re so lucky, hun. But, then again, you did get robbed a bunch of times so I guess while I’m dealing with teeny, tiny stomach parasites, you’re dealing with douchey people parasites. xx

    • *Cross fingers* that you never have to deal with them, hun. I always imagine Korea being so much more sanitary than Mexico though.

    • Definitely. I could have been done with it a lot sooner but I’m an idiot and tend to avoid the doctor’s until I’m half dead. Haha. All better now though. :D

  6. I’m so sorry this has happened to you, but the way you tell the story, its quite humorous ;) good luck with the recovery! I’m off to India next…hope I’m not writing any story similar to this anytime soon!! :S

    • Uh oh. My friend’s been going back and forth to India for the last ten years or so and she’s told me countless tales about the “Dehli Belly”. Hopefully it won’t be TOO bad for you though, hun. x

  7. I totally feel your pain on this. I got dysentery in Venezuela, diagnosed in Colombia. It was awful. I was really bad for about two weeks and it took about two months to recover. Get your hands on some cipro. That saved me!

    • Ohh, that’s not good, hun. :( Another teacher friend of mine actually recommended some Ciprofloxacin too and I’m pretty sure that helped my insides get back to normal too.

  8. I drank the water in Loreto thinking I was fine…then I found out even the locals don`t drink it. I`m an idiot.

    • Hahaha. When I told all my Mexican friends about what had caused it, they looked at me like, WTF??? Awkward moment when you realise that the water is THAT bad that even the locals don’t go near it. We’re both idiots. Hahahaha.

      • OMG thank you soooo much for your info!! I got sick in Cancun last week, I thought it was the food or the ice served in one of our excursions (my first time ever there boyfriend never warned me of not eating fruits, ice, or brushing with tap water!) but now I’m not so sure how or where I got sick?! But it was apparent I got something within 2 days of being there!! We bought OTC Lomotil which helped and I thought all was good but I’m not myself since. My stomach aches, my back hurts, my rectum feels funky…I’m just not right! Boyfriend says, I’m just jet lagged and brushes it off like its nothing… I searched on google, and seen your site and I called my doc, I have an appt on Monday!! THANK YOU because I feel had I not seen your site I would’ve just let it go as my own delusional paranoia!! Since googling your site I’ve looked up intestinal parasites and have almost all the symptoms listed and I believe it was your site that led me to this…again I thank you!! Will keep ya posted!!

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