As part of IBS Awareness Month and the #IBelieveinyourStory campaign, I am sharing stories given to me from individuals willing to share their IBS journey. It’s not always an easy path–but together we are stronger. It’s can be difficult to share your story–it truly takes guts to talk about your guts. But, the process can be healing for you and others.
Thank you for sharing your story, KF.
My story began shortly after the birth of my first daughter. I was 21 and struggling to eat anything without running to the bathroom. I began to dread eating. Eating meant pain, bloat, and the D word. Not just normal diarrhea but explosive, embarrassing and painful. I began to wither away and my once healthy 5’6” athletic 130 lb frame barely weighed in at 98 lbs.
When I scheduled an appointment with my primary doctor, she merely encouraged me to “eat more twinkies.” Her advice was to consume more calories. How was I to consume more calories if every time I ate food, I became ill? I just accepted this as my new normal. The only time I had any relief from my severe stomach issues was during two subsequent pregnancies. Shortly after each delivery though, the issues returned, and the problems continued.
When I was 32, I was sent to the ER in agonizing pain. They couldn’t find anything wrong. The hospital referred me to GI. They ran multiple tests and said, you must have IBS. They prescribed oxycodone and sent me home. They told me it would help with the diarrhea and pain. I never took those pills. They did say I could adjust my diet, but never said how. That was the beginning of my food trials. I discovered that I am sensitive to red meat and pork; I stopped eating those and found some “pain” relief, but no relief from the big D.
Fast forward 15 years: it has been 26 years of my life that I have suffered with extremely loose movements. I have accepted that this is my normal but decide to try one more time and schedule an appointment with GI. We ran several tests and discover… IBS-D. I have had this so long that there is damage to my intestines, the cilia are flattened like you would see in Celiac, but I tested negative for Celiac. The GI doctor recommended the Low Fodmap diet.
This diet not only changed my GI issues, but also improved my autoimmune problems as well. I began following Kate’s blog and love her recipe’s and find comfort knowing that there are so many like me that have this story. Our struggle was real; it took over 25 years to be heard.
My advice to anyone in like shoes – Don’t GIVE UP! I almost did, and if I had, I would still be living my old “normal”