Story of Hope #IBelieveinyourStory

As part of the #IBelieveinyourStory IBS & SIBO Awareness campaign, I will be sharing a few stories on the blog this month that others have shared with me about their digestive health story.

I truly believe sharing your story can be therapeutic, empowering, inspirational and healing. In fact, I cried recalling and writing my own digestive health story. It’s been a true healing process. My extended family really doesn’t know most of my story, as my husband and I kept things pretty low profile. I didn’t want to be perceived as a sick person, so I suffered often in silence. Well, I am no longer silent. 🙂  If you interested in my story feel free to check out my written story here. And my video (yes, I cry) here.

Today, I am sharing a story from a client that visited our practice, For a Digestive Peace of Mind. I am so grateful she shared it with you.

“In January of 2010, I was a healthy, fit 48-year-old woman who weighed about 118 pounds.  Over the course of the year, I experienced increasing GI symptoms: gas, bloating, pain, constipation and diarrhea.  By the beginning of 2011, I weighed only 105 pounds and couldn’t find many foods that I could retain long enough to process, absorb and digest. I had already been to GI doctors at two major Boston-area hospitals and was awaiting my appointment at the third. Ultimately, I had appointments with GI doctors at five major Boston-area hospitals, plus two naturopaths, a Registered Dietitian and received a range of diagnoses — including SMA Syndrome, a rare digestive disorder that was never confirmed by a second opinion — and was prescribed numerous medications and natural remedies, none of which provided any real relief.  A few of these practitioners diagnosed — really dismissed — my condition as “just IBS” without real long-term treatment plans which left me frustrated AND belittled.  I’d always suspected that food or a food group was at the root of my problem but couldn’t find a GI doctor willing to fully explore the possibility.  Instead, in January of 2012, I turned to the Internet and learned about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and decided to give it a try. Within days, my symptoms lessened but never fully resolved, and the diet itself was very limited which was a concern.  During the 6 months that I followed the diet, I continued my Internet research and learned about Kate Scarlata and the great work she was doing helping IBS patients with the Low FODMAP diet.  In my first appointment with Kate, she really listened to me (#IBelieveinyourStory), took the time to fully understand my symptoms and the journey that ultimately brought me to her. More importantly, she validated that IBS was a serious condition, but one that could be managed, and she instilled confidence that she would work with me to do so.  Within weeks of my first appointment with Kate, I was feeling much better; within months, I returned to my normal weight and felt great.  During that first appointment, Kate also referred me to a GI doctor who ultimately diagnosed me with IBS-C and SIBO, as Kate suspected.  The key to my recovery was a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan and understanding which FODMAPs I could tolerate and that I could enjoy a healthy, delicious diet and normal lifestyle while living with IBS.  To this day, I continue to monitor Kate’s blog for motivation, inspiration and great new recipes!”-LR 

Want to share your story? I’d love to hear it!  Click here to learn now to share your story.  And, of course, you can leave a comment here on the blog and share your story now.

By posting the hashtag#IBelieveinyourStory on all social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and joining this campaign YOU will bring attention to SIBO and IBS too!  You can do this if you don’t suffer with these disorders–we are all in this together. It’s a good chance you know someone that is suffering (up to 1 in 5 Americans have IBS)…they just may not have shared that part of their world with you …yet. By using the #IBelieveinyourStory hashtag–others can follow along and bear witness to your support.

Thank you for stopping my blog today and supporting those with digestive challenges. xx

2 replies on “Story of Hope #IBelieveinyourStory

  • pam robison

    I’m a registered dietitian although I spent most of my career in business and industry. I decided to write my story as I have not heard or read about some of my symptoms and experiences in journals, etc. I hope to hear from someone who can shed light on my history.

    I’ve been dealing with GI issues for at least 55 years. When I was about 14 years old, I would get bloated and had pain around my naval and lower left quadrant. I also had chronic constipation. I don’t remember the various tests I had but they were all to no avail.

    Though out the years, I coped as best I could. Symptoms changed a little over the years. In addition to bloating, gas, pain, and constipation I would have 2-3 days in a row when I would be depressed, sound and touch sensitive, and very fatigued. I also experienced what is now called brain fog. Depression symptoms included feeling extremely negative, pessimistic and that all was hopeless and overwhelming. I was tested for conditions other than IBS. All were negative. My solution was to just lay on the couch and repeat to myself over and over “this will pass”. When the “attack” was over, I would return to my normal optimistic, energetic self. It was hard to believe that my mental state changed so drastically. It seemed similar to bipolar with personality/mood highs and lows but it wasn’t lasting.

    In 2001, I underwent a IgG1 & 4 Food Antibody Assay with Diet test. I learned I was severely sensitive to egg white, egg yolk, milk, sunflower and moderately sensitive to lamb, oyster, shrimp, almond, navy bean and peanut. I also went on an elimination diet monitored by Bastyr University, a naturopathic medical college close to where I lived. In addition to the other foods I mentioned, it seemed I was sensitive to wheat and oats. I followed a four day eating rotation plan but it did not resolve my worst symptoms.

    A few years ago my GI doctor recommended Miralax for constipation. It resolved the constipation but all other symptoms remained. Over the years, I tested negative for IBS, celiac, ulcers, colitis, gall bladder, chronic fatigue syndrome and so forth. Recently, I tested positive for SIBO and was treated with regimes of antibiotics. I also started FODMAP but did not notice a big change in symptoms. I still follow parts of it as it is a excellent guide for eating with caution.

    I had been taking chloriazepoxide/clidinium (C/C) as needed for a few years when I was notified that Express Scripts was out of the product. My doctor substituted dicyclomine HCL. They both work as an antispasmodic but the C/C also includes a controlled sedative. I got a prescription for it later and when I took it I could literally feel a relaxing in a specific area of my GI tract, a movement of gas and decreased pain. Maybe my GI tract after all the years of pain, was in frequent stress mode.

    The other day I attended a party which was catered by Olive Garden. I usually avoid chain restaurants like that as there seems to be something in the food that causes symptoms. It doesn’t seem to be the foods I’m sensitive to. I’ve wondered if it is an additive. I had a severe “attack” with pain in the lower left quadrant. It had been quite sometime since I’d felt that sick so it served as a good contrast to feeling good. I’ve read that our second brain is in our gut and my experience backs that up. In addition to the pain, I couldn’t turn down my brain (thoughts sped through my head) plus my ability to speak fluid was reduced. I felt achy, anxious, bloated and more.

    I have more pain free days now than I have in years. I’ve learned that my condition is from more than one issue and that science may not be able to put their finger on the cause(s) at this time. Healing and recovery has many components – diet, exercise, sleep, reduced stress, change of thought, and medication. Resolution is like a Rubik’s Cube. Thank goodness I’m an RD.

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