In honor of IBS Awareness Month and in picking up an old tradition of FODMAP Life, I’ve brought back “Your Story”, a place where we share our stories of digestive disorders and diseases.
I’ve been reaching out to my email newsletter subscribers and have asked them to share their stories of living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and about their experience with the Low-FODMAP Diet. By sharing our stories we become stronger together. If you have IBS, you’re not alone! Join my free support group on Facebook and meet other people just like you (and me).
This is A.P.’s Story
“I had had problems with digestion and with constipation for a long time. However, a few years ago, I had to take antibiotics for a condition.
“Soon afterward, I was in great pain. I had constipation that pinned me to my bed or diarrhea that kept me running to the bathroom. I could not go out much unless it was somewhere where I could be sure to access a bathroom. Even a trip to the supermarket meant I spent time in the bathrooms. The constipation was so bad that it was agony. My doctor finally sent me to Dr. Z. He checked me over and then told me that my colon was going into spasms. He told me to eat psyllium and to take Metamucil. He explained about low-FODMAPs. For a few weeks, I was fine.
“I also have diabetes so it was difficult to know what to eat or drink. I went to see a dietician and she told me to do an elimination diet for IBS. I was upset that some of the foods I loved like corn, many raw vegetables, garlic, and onions were some of the foods that were not good for me. I had to carefully tread the meals to make sure I would not get diarrhea or constipation. At that time constipation was the worse. It felt as if my insides were blocked and about to explode.
“One day, one of my friends who I had not seen for a long time said we should go out for dinner. That was great news. She and her husband were wonderful company and both my husband and I loved them. I had made sure not to eat before we left and gone to the bathroom, so I thought I was safe.
“I had just finished my salad with chicken when I was wracked with pain. My stomach was bloated so I knew that was bad news. I knew I had not eaten all day and that my dinner was considered low-FODMAP. The pain became intolerable. Then, I felt I had to run to the bathroom. I did just that but not in time to get to the bathroom before I felt a horrible feeling and smell. I arrived at the bathroom and made it to the toilet. Already my pants were dirty and wet, but I had explosive diarrhea. I thought I had cleared my colon and made my way back to our table. We had to leave immediately.
“I barely had time to explain somewhat and we rushed home. By the time we arrived, I already could feel the next explosion coming. I rushed upstairs to our condo and just barely made it in time. Then about 10 minutes later, another explosion.
“I was so embarrassed and sick. I took a bath and put on clean pj’s and went to bed. The next day I could not eat. As soon as I ate anything except Cup of Soup or dry toast, I would feel nauseated. This kept up for a few days. Normally when I had an ‘episode’, I was ok the next day, but not this time. Finally, I was feeling better, but a few nights later, another ‘episode’. I could not even leave our home to go shopping. I could tell that I was bloated as I had to wear some large pants. I have three sizes of clothing for when I am not well.
“I keep hoping that I will feel better if I follow my diet religiously, but it seems that sometimes a food will betray me and suddenly cause me to be ill. No one seems to know much about IBS. I can control my illness some of the time, but I never know when I will be struck by another episode. Doctors seem stymied by IBS. Some dieticians have IBS and I find they are the ones who help me the most.
“Unless someone has had IBS, it is difficult for them to understand. Plus it is not easy to explain the gory details of IBS. It is embarrassing and not something you want to tell anyone. I keep looking at all the studies to see if there are any news. Most of the good studies seem to come from Australia at the moment. I keep hoping that a cure will be found. In the meantime, I study about IBS and read all I can about it.”
Thanks again to A.P. for being brave and sharing her story! If you’d like to contribute your story, please contact me.
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