A van travels a short distance between two houses, through the woods. A speech bubble with exclamation marks is coming from the backseat.

My IBS Journey Started At Grandmommie's House

The first time I can remember something being different with me was during a holiday at my grandparents’ house. All holidays we would load up the car, head the 9 miles to Mama’s parents’ house, eat good southern cooking, then make the 9-mile journey home. This is still something we do. Mama now lives in her childhood home, and her parents are gone. Growing up in small-town Tennessee is great – getting together on holidays, having bonfires, cookouts, just enjoying the things you have. It's a great time, especially for the kids. That is unless you are like me. Eating literally anything – or nothing – can cause a flare of diarrhea.

What I thought was normal

As a child, I just assumed everyone had the same issues I did. Wasn’t it normal to race to the bathroom after almost every meal? On this particular day, I made it through the meal, through visiting with our family, and about a mile into the drive home. The downside to growing up in a small town that seems to be that there are more woods and trees than anything else. There are not many places to stop to make an impromptu bathroom break. Fortunately for me, my older sister lived between my childhood home and my grandparents’ house.

Adulting with IBS-D

As an adult now, with a child of my own, I try to remember what it was like to be the child in the backseat of the car scared of asking my parents to stop somewhere so I could go to the bathroom. As any parent would, I would get met with the frustration of my parents asking if I went to the bathroom before we loaded up in the car to head home. The problem with me was, and still is, no matter how prepared I think I am, I truly never know when I will have a flare. Living where I did as a child, every holiday revolved around food – getting family members together, everyone visiting, having a good time, and eating good food. I do not remember IBS-D ever really being discussed as a child. We all mostly ignored it, and just decided this is just how my body was.

Growing up and moving on

As I got older and moved to Florida at around 19, I realized how much of a problem it really was. I had never used medication to control it. I just dealt with flares the best I could. At 20, I became pregnant with my daughter. Pregnancy, oddly enough, was a temporary cure for me. I had no flares at all. After Zoe was born, my body went back to its normal IBS-D routine, and I knew I had to do something. I have been on a journey for the last 15 years to work out my issues with my gut, and try to live as normal a life as I can. I haven’t found the cure yet, but I will not stop until I find something that helps with the symptoms.

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