• Susan

    LOL. I’m sorry.

  • lisajey

    I am speechless… because now I have to poop!

  • Ralph

    For the last two days I have had a horrible stomach virus… and you somehow just made that all ok.

  • Saxyrunner

    Hahaha! You are the poet of poop.

  • Jen Moore

    The horror. My god. The absolute horror.

  • acm

    but the ceviche! with all the citrus killing the bugs!! you mean it’s not enough? :( (

  • Heather Armstrong


  • bethtrue

    i canNOT even imagine how you did it. I mean, wow. I’ve been there but not even 25% of what you must have been experiencing and I cannot imagine hours and hours and hours of that. You are winning, Heather. <3

  • jen

    Welcome to a day in the life of a Crohn’s diagnosis.. The struggle is real. Good news – travelers diarrhea has a cure! (Seriously though, you have my sympathies.)

  • Aundrea

    I’m headed to Mexico at the end of the month. Ceviche is one of my favorite things, but I don’t think I’ll muster up the courage to enjoy it this trip. Yikes, Heather!

  • Yolanda Machado

    I’m Peruvian (1st generation born), and I have eaten ceviche many times (sometimes daily cause it is SO DAMN GOOD) and I have to ask if you ate anything else? Cause I nor anyone I know has not had that experience. Or you got some bad fish :(

  • M Black

    Something similar happened to me in Guatemala. I had gone to the local pharmacy for prescription strength Imodium thinking that would stop it. At 4 am my daughter and I headed to Tikal (ruins) by van and plane with a small tour group. Sweat was pouring out of me the 2 1/2 hours of travel. I had NO WHERE to “go”. We get to a restaurant before we hit the rain forest and the bathroom stalls were right off the dining room. They were STALLS!! RIGHT OFF THE DINING ROOM. No hall, no separation, just right there! I looked at my daughter, and the ungrateful wretch was laughing at the look on my face. I ended up sweating through lunch and pooped in the rain forest with 2 monkeys watching and hoping no one from the group came back looking for me. Fun day!

  • Beth Foster

    Yep, I was thinking of my CD the whole read. Except I get to stay in bed and/or nestled in blankets at the foot of my commode (or just on it, like the poop queen). My CD pro suggestion (too late at this point) would have been adult diapers. Got me a stash under the sink. Here’s a thing: Telling your 5 yr old he’s too big for pullups when you yourself are wearing one. Good times…
    But, I digress.

  • jen

    Very, very true. Agree with your recommendation … plus a change of clothes. So much shame in bodily functions … wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Sending good GI vibes your way!

  • RzDrms

    Ohmygosh, have I been reading you *waaay* too long, or am I misremembering … but weren’t you actually MAJORLY constipated on that trip to Mexico (Isla Mujeres!) in 2011?! So the cerviche there worked oppositely?! (I didn’t even go back in your archives to refresh my memory either; I’m telling you, I CAN’T QUIT YOU!)

  • http://deescribbler.typepad.com/my_weblog/2014/10/loving-one-another.html Dee Thompson

    Wow, what a nightmare. I had something similar years ago when I had terrible colitis and I was on a bumpy flight from Florida home to Tennessee, on a tiny commuter plane. I locked myself in the bathroom and ignored the flight attendant who was screaming at me to get to my seat and put on my seatbelt. / However, there is another aspect to it. In 2007 when I was staying in Kazakhstan trying to finish the adoption of my son, I got constipated. No vegetables around. So I just drank a glass of tap water and waited. Should have bottled some of that stuff and brought it home to my aunt who is always constipated. The gross part was that in that hotel, which is old, you cannot flush TP down the commode, you have to put it in a wastebasket. Phew.

  • Rebecca

    Lived in Peru for a year, and we were told then (10 years ago) that traveler’s diarrhea is worse there per capita (of tourists) than it is in Mexico. Having traveled (& been very ill) in both places, I can say from personal experience that it’s bad in both places. Let’s just say I was very, very thin after living in Peru for a year. That won’t stop me from going back, but it did mean that I wanted to wait until my children were old enough to not drink the bath water. By the way, it’s pretty unlikely to get it from ceviche. Not to say you didn’t, but the lemon juice sort of “cooks” the fish. However, it’s very easy to get it from a glass that wasn’t entirely dry before your drink went into it, that sort of thing, unfortunately hard to make sure it never happens even in a good restaurant.

  • dailysnark

    Years ago something similar happened to me when I was in China. We were in some slightly less modern areas, which meant that a lot of bathrooms had big holes you had to squat over. There is nothing more miserable than having diarrhea over a squat hole with no privacy. And because it wasn’t excruciating and humiliating enough, a couple of Chinese women came over to me while I was precariously perched over gallons of my own poop and wanted to touch my blonde hair. The whole thing was horrifying.

  • Michele

    OMG, I could totally visualize this.

  • savine

    I would love to print this and hand out copies as an educational tool. I’m a pharmacist in an area where every one of my patients thinks they are immune to such things.

  • kmpinkel

    I realized halfway through that I was eating my breakfast while thoroughly engulfed in this story. Not a single problem with that, is there something wrong with me? Sorry about your issue, but glad you made it without any accidents.

  • Karen

    Happened to me in Italy many years ago. Told us not to drink the water but i had ice in my drinks and next thing you know…I had Kaopectate and I think I drank the whole bottle before it kicked in. Then an 8 hour bus ride with no bathroom. Thought I would die. The guide let me sit in her seat so i could look out the window and it did help not being cooped up in the back of the bus. I could totally relate to your story.

  • Fredda

    I was fortunate to have eaten ceviche in Lima unharmed, but I once brought my 15 year old son home from Mexico so sick he was hospitalized. Although once on a trip in Baja (after eating abalone) and attempting to hide behind a bush (not many bushes on the peninsula) I discovered in mid-poop that I was exposing myself to a Mexican road crew. They were kind enough not to stare. My sympathies to you and your gut.

  • Kate

    the anxiety that crept into my system as I read this is palpable. My.WORST.fear. I clinched my ass the whole time I read. Heartfelt sympathies to you.

  • lisa

    Best Post Ever! How could your Dad not love this post?

  • Erin

    You just brought back a whole shit-ton (haha) of repressed memories from the time I was traveling through Turkey and got traveler’s diarrhea. I didn’t have antibiotics, but I did have lots and lots of imodium, so I spent 3/4 of my week there plugging myself up. (I was in college. I really didn’t know any better.) Made it back home and thought “surely this has cleared itself up” and STARTED MY INTERNSHIP. Spent a whole day in the office bathroom and finally realized I should go to the doctor. On the bright side, I learned at the tender age of 20 that one should never travel ANYWHERE without cipro and imodium. Good life lesson. Anyway, you have my sympathies!

  • Marie McDowell

    Oh my gosh, laughing so hard. Thanks for taking one for the team Heather!

  • Noemi

    I once had travelers Diarrhea in Mexico from having a milkshake made from unpasteurized milk. It started the night of and continued onto the whole day after. To make matters worse, we had to go visit my dad’s family who lived like 2 hours away from where my mom’s family is from, and since my family didn’t think I was that sick they decided to make a day of it. A. DAY. OF IT. HOLY. SHIT. Literally and figuratively. I lost so much water form my body that day that by the end there was no more poop, no water, nothing coming out, my body was going through the painful motions, for HOURS. when my parents finally noticed that I wasn’t getting better, they had one of my aunts take me to a local doctor and they had me hooked up to an IV and fluids and an hour later I was perfectly fine but I had to eat plain food for the rest of my trip :/ It was one of the worst experiences of my life and now I stay away from dairy products in mexico.

  • Kim Broom

    Sounds like my first experience eating sushi – I was voiding in two directions – on the toilet with a pail to my mouth. Fun times.

  • Lauren3

    Dude your website is KILLING IT this month. Poop story? Always enjoyable. Stories about KK Peru and EMC? Can’t wait to read & spread them.

  • Sarah Dillon Hart

    Were you complaining about your broken toe while going through your diarrhea labor?

  • http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/ Kristen Howerton

    Oh Heather, we do not drink ceviche juice in Kissimmee. But we might snack on the small pieces of greasy fried batter left over from the gator tail . . .

  • Tracey

    My food intolerance is the same way (to corn, soy, wheat, eggs, sesame, shellfish, or peanuts). “No, I do not want a bite. I’d like to keep everything moving normally….”

  • http://www.yourfridayafternoondistraction.com/ Joanne z Filmlady

    Holy crap. (Oops, sorry)

  • Tish

    Note to self: When going to Peru eat the ceviche two days before leaving. :)

  • Lainie Thornton

    OMFG! I haven’t laughed so hard at another person’s misfortune as I did just then reading this brilliant and so very accurate take on traveller’s diarrhoea in Peru. Spending three months in Peru, I know this terrible tale all too well.

  • KathyB

    Glad you survived and they let you back into the country. From the looks of things you might have had mayhem in mind. Really terroristy looking photo. Misery at the bottom of violence you know.

  • readiness

    Re your ETA. YES!

  • readiness


    Stuff of nightmares right there. I mean, “No ma’am, please don’t touch my hair my hair while I attempt not to die of pooping” is a phrase I never want to have to think about

  • Ari

    It’s true that food poisoning can sometimes cause very similar symptoms, but traveler’s diarrhea arises from a variety of sources (mostly bacteria) to which locals are usually immune–hence the “traveler’s” part of the name. We all usually develop immunity to the most common bacteria in our regions, and tend to run into trouble when we travel, particularly when going anywhere rural where water treatment may be less thorough–sometimes protozoa are the culprit where fresh water is unprocessed–but it can happen anywhere to any non-local person.

  • Ari

    Also wow I want ceviche now. I’m not sure if that was meant to be my takeaway here, but mmm.

  • Jennifer

    Pretty much the exact same thing happened to me in Peru, except I don’t know the cause. I endured a 21 hour journey from Cusco back to Seattle. I thought I would die. I haven’t been to a developing country since, and yes, I would put the experience on par with natural childbirth. Honestly, I think it may even have been worse.

    Like you, I went from Immodium to Cipro. The morning after I got back, I couldn’t focus my eyes together (double vision) which may or may not have been a reaction to the Cipro. What a nightmare.

  • Ivori

    Agreed! One of the best! Heather – please post a pic of the culprit (ceviche)!

  • Courtney

    I had community-acquired C-Diff. I literally feel your pain. I told people it was like giving birth, several times a day for a week, with nothing to show for it after all was said and done.

  • Suzy Soro

    My sister and I went to Corsica many many MANY years ago, our mother was always forcing us to go to foreign places so she could have a life, and we got so diarrhea-d that we didn’t even know what to do. I walked into a pharmacy (I hoped) and they took one look at me and gave me this charcoal stuff. I don’t remember whether I had to drink it or eat it (drink it?) but it did the trick. We were so sick that if anyone mentions the word Corsica I want to stab them in the face.