In honor of the #IBelieveinyourStory campaign, I share my full digestive health story here ( in writing) and also via a video, here. (Yes, I call this my ‘crying video’. Ha! I’m not too emotional…but yes, I do cry. ) In short, when I was 3 months pregnant with my second child, scar tissue from a previous ovarian cyst surgery, entrapped my small intestine, eliminating any blood flow to 6 feet of my small intestine. Because I was pregnant, normal imaging to assess for what was happening inside my body was not a possibility. I suffered with extreme pain and the doctors had no idea what was wrong with me.
Truthfully, I haven’t fully healed emotionally from this hospital experience. When my intestine was actively being strangled, I asked for pain medication. I can remember the young physician overseeing my admission case saying, “Your white count isn’t even elevated.” (A sign of infection). I was greeted with facial expressions of mistrust from the entire medical team.
The team of physicians looked at me as if what I experiencing wasn’t real…as if I was lying. I settled in my hospital bed unable to advocate for myself while my intestine became gangrenous and the pain even more unbearable. I suffered unnecessarily for another 20 hours–until my obstetrician came in to visit me. She urged the surgical team to take me to surgery to assess the situation. That decision saved my life and that of my son.
Many individuals with IBS feeling unheard by their medical care providers. The stories I have heard from my patients are unsettling and unjustified. IBS patients often feel marginalized.
A recent article by a physician in the New England Journal of Medicine, titled, A View from the Edge-Creating a Culture of Caring struck home for me. This article provides a physician’s harrowing hospital experience and her thoughts on what needs to change. I think every healthcare provider should take a moment to read this article.
We are now 16 days into the month of April, IBS awareness month. The #IBelieveinyourStory campaign has provided numerous giveaways from wonderful supporters including Fody Foods, 88 Acres, Casa de Sante, Get Epicured, Rachel Pauls Food, Squatty Potty, and Green Valley Organics. There is still a few days to win the numerous gut friendly giveaways. Check out my Instagram account here. Scroll through the posts since April 2nd–and consider entering for a chance win the numerous giveaways!
A big part of the #IBelieveinyourStory campaign is to raise money for research. If you watched the #IBelieveinyourStory IBS awareness video found here, then you know…government funding for IBS research is minimal (about 12 cents per patient)! I hope you will consider making a donation to either William Chey’s research at University of Michigan or Mark Pimentel’s research lab at Cedars Sinai. To donate, click here.
Today, April 16th both Dr. Pimentel and Dr. Chey will be doing Twitter chats on IBS. This is a great chance for you to ask a question to either gastroenterologist. They are both mavericks in the field of GI –as well, both are amazing researchers…and more importantly, very kind and genuine people.
Mark Pimentel, MD with be on Twitter using the @cedarssinai account. The twitter hashtag to follow will be #CedarsIBSchat. The time of this twitter chat is 3-4 Pacific or 6-7 PM EST.
William D. Chey, MD will be on Twitter using the @ANMSociety account. The twitter hashtag to follow will be #ANMSChat. The time of this twitter chat is 9-10 EST.
In order to change the future of IBS –please consider making a donation to research. Perhaps just spring five for IBS. Give up your daily latte or bring your lunch to school or work and give up just 5 dollars. If everyone of my followers gave $5, we’d have $50K +. I have selected both Dr. Chey’s and Dr. Pimentel’s research centers as the key centers to donate $ for IBS research via my #IBelieveinyourStory campaign. Donate here.
If you got all the way here in this post… thank you for listening. 🙂