IBS is a torture sentence

I have started the journey of a nursing student.  If not to help people in health crisis then to help me and this god awful diagnosis of IBS.  It’s not even a diagnosis. My symptoms fit the vague criteria of many disorders.  It is my burden to bear because there is no help medically for this.  I was angry at my doctor for giving me this diagnosis and doing nothing about it.  I felt written off.  I am what we brush off with the wave of hand and flick of the wrist.  I have been tossed aside and now I am judged the moment I see a doctor.  This is what IBS is.  It is more than 3 letters.  It is pain, doubt, uncertainty, and the constant nagging in the back of my mind telling me something more is wrong.  My outdated doctor finally sent me to a GI specialist.  It was like entering a battle I had already lost.  He refused to do anything invasive until we ran some tests. My results showed nothing abnormal. I cried a little and told this specialist “how dare you let me be in this kind of pain”.  I don’t understand how nothing more can be done for me?  He suggest a fibre supplement and acidophilus.  Needless to say the fibre created excruciating pain.  The specialist had nothing to say about the pain.  My diagnosis of the medical system in British Columbia is we need more knowledgable doctors who know what they are doing and can offer assistance for people in pain.  IBS is a diagnosis of pain that no doctor wants to treat.  Mainly because they don’t how.

My advice is find a lifestyle that is preventative.  Find your triggers.  This involves talking to a naturopath and seeing an allergist.  I cannot work around the dietary restrictions I have come up against.  This would be an exhausting process and completely unrealistic.  I had to recreate how I saw food and I had to learn not to fear food either.  Yes I feared food.  Everything I ate created an onslaught of uncontrollable and painful symptoms.  I still have pain in the left side of my abdomen.  Apparently, medical doctors are not concerned about this pain.  Why should they be, they don’t have to live with it.  I have since decided to stop feeling so sorry for myself.  It really wasn’t helping anyone and I’m sure the stress triggered more IBS symptoms in the end.  Some days I have chronic pain and then the next day I am fine.  Why? I don’t know.  This drives me absolutely crazy.  I’m done with food journalling.  I have done this enough to know that it has created more paranoia than it is doing good now.  I kept a food journal in the past and came across: apples, eggs, dairy, gluten (and wheat), oats, and highly processed sugary foods all causing me problems.  I’m still stumped about something in ketchup bothering me.  I had my doctor tell me not to eat beans.  My advice is do not take dietary advice from your good ol’ GP.  They don’t know what they are talking about.  Beans are full of fibre that my body can digest.  I’ve realized that I know what I can and cannot eat.  It is no longer a major whodunnit mystery.  It is not scary or overwhelming.  IBS has forced me to expand my food horizons and discover the blandness and boredom that can come from a western diet.  I look at doughnuts and discover my insides cringing.  I would rather starve then eat a muffin.  I cannot describe the week long agony I would be in if I ate that effing muffin.  It’s then, when I could no longer look ate the food I used to enjoy, that I discovered a desire to focus on how to work with food and my body.  I am slowly recovering.  It has not been an easy journey and I doubt being a nursing student will make it easier.  But I have so much to look forward to every day that I am not sick, every day that I wake up without some weird food hangover, every day my pants fit like normal pants, and every day I can focus on my life without the slow onset of IBS creeping up behind me.

Remember to inform yourself and never give up.

– Emm


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