Big news in the Rogue Realm!
I’ve made a significant addition to The Healing Project that I need to tell you about, something I hope will be a huge step forward.
This may very well change my health in a big way. In June, I will be traveling to England to undergo fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).
In other words, a poop transplant. Yep, you read that right. That’s actually a thing.
Before you go getting all grossed out on me and closing your browser as quickly as possible, hear me out. I promise it isn’t as disgusting as you may imagine. (At least, I hope it isn’t.)
FMT is a way of restoring diversity to the microbiome–the organisms and the substances they produce (like bacteria, even yeast/viruses/bacteriophage/more if we want to get technical) in your gut that affect nearly every bodily process.
FMT uses donor samples (aka poop) from healthy people to implant these organisms into the colon of the recipient. It’s not just a direct process (like you could imagine if you DIYed this at home), but it involves lab processing under anaerobic conditions and intense donor and sample screenings.
I’m going to Taymount Clinic near London for their two-week treatment program. Check out their website for an FMT overview and super informative Q&A videos that I’ve probably watched three times each.
I had already done some cursory research about FMT, but I’d written it off due to unavailability. Once I heard this podcast, I knew FMT could be a remote possibility, if an expensive and logistically difficult one. The idea marinated in the back of my brain for many months before I researched it further.
I read a lot (like, a lot) about FMT from studies, on Facebook groups, the Power of Poop site, and through internet research rabbit holes. Yes, I suffered from IRRH with this topic. Over time, I started to think that FMT was definitely the next step in my healing process. Many people who clinically “look like me” have benefited.
FMT is only FDA-approved for patients with recurrent or treatment resistant C. difficile infection, but I imagine it will be approved for more uses in the not-so-distant future. As for how long it will take to be more widely available in the U.S., I have no idea. Even when that approval does occur, it will take some time for clinics to design and implement their own processes.
That’s why I’ve decided to go to the source–to the clinic that has pioneered the process and has the most experience. I don’t want to wait any longer for what may be the next significant chapter in my healing story.
As for what to expect, I’ve been told that approximately one-third of patients see an almost immediate beneficial effect, one-third see an effect in the longer term (a few months), and the remaining third don’t see a significant benefit. I’m really hoping I will be in one of those first two categories.
Planning this trip has worked out better than I expected. So far. #dontjinxit
My parents have graciously offered to host Camp Grandma/Grandpa for my kids. As much as it will be insanely hard for me to be away from them, I know they will be in good hands. I found a close Airbnb with kitchen access whose owners are super helpful and accommodating. I booked decent flights that are not overnight (technically, though I will have to be up super early to catch them). Other details fell into place that I wasn’t expecting, including a one-day visit with one of my best friends on the other side of the pond!
I also made a new internet friend who underwent FMT in March. She is giving me the logistical scoop: travel, getting around, eating, etc. and has been patient with my endless questions. I’m so grateful!
I want to document my experience here for others who may undergo FMT at Taymount in the future, including the planning process. That’s going to be my main focus for The Healing Project for the next two months, a month of planning and then DOING the actual thing! It’ll be so suspenseful…
[foreboding announcer voice] “Will she or won’t she have planned every detail to a T? Will she forget essential items at home? Will she be able to stand leaving her children for two weeks? Will she find food to eat without getting glutened or otherwise sick? Find out on the next episode of Rogue Pharmacist: A Truly Crappy English Experience!”