alt=a person wearing knight's armor looks nervous and has their back to a winding path.

Beginning my IBS Quest, Part 1

I never knew how fickle my relationship with the bathroom was until I got a pretty eye-opening rundown from my mom. Man oh man was I quite the little worrier. As someone who’s been diagnosed with both IBS and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) looking at my past through this new lens really helps make sense of my life’s many puzzle pieces. It explains a lot of who I am how I got to be so uncomfortable with pooping.

Potty training took forever

Apparently, when trying this cool new big boy seat, some water splashed me in my butt and I thought it was the poo itself making a terrifying and unwanted comeback. TO BE FAIR I still hate when that happens. Nothing is more shocking and upsetting after a satisfying purge is a surprise bidet. So, as a kid, I would just drive myself into fits, begging my poor mom to keep me in diapers. As a testament to this incredibly strong and clever woman, she would give me a component to a HESS truck every time I would use the bathroom. Not the whole thing, but apart. So after every toilet time, I would get a small piece of a super cool space shuttling semi-truck. It wasn’t too long before I would become thrilled to go in order to see what all these tires went to!

That sort of resistance to bathroom-time would evolve into a long and twisted path towards IBS some 20 years later. Sure, I was rewarded when I was a kid, but that anxiety of toilet time became embedded into my very soul. It would resurface every couple of years, like a recurring side plot or B-tier villain.

My IBS took me to the hospital

How many kids do you know ended up becoming cool and hip from going to the hospital for stomach pain? Literally none. It was then, in eighth grade, that I had finally become despondent. I wouldn’t go to school and kept dragging my feet with every task because my stomach hurt. When my parents finally took me to the doctors’ it was after a long and emotional bout to help limit anxiety at school. I never wanted to feel stuck, and going to the bathroom, or being sick, were never comforts of mine. I always found myself feeling anxious and hesitant to tell any teacher about my bowel situation! Naturally, this reluctance took me to its ultimate conclusion.

Drinking liquid for an MRI

The doctors wanted to rule everything out, including appendicitis, which came up after they prodded on my lower right quadrant, giving me pain. Naturally, they wanted to perform an MRI just to be sure. To rule everything out (didn’t even bring up IBS). So, I had to drink this clear awful fluid. This stuff, called Volumen, helped the MRI pick up on my abdominal juices. This nasty “poison” was so putrid that I had to close my nose between gulps. After hours of pinched gulping, just to have the doctor shrug it off and say that was enough. My mom was like what?!

Then why did you make him drink so much if it didn’t really matter how much? What did I actually have going inside my tumultuous tummy? Did I actually have appendicitis?

Stay tuned for part 2!

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