My Discouraging Journey to Getting Diagnosed
It all started back in 2009 when I developed a bacterial infection called Helicobacter Pylori, or H. Pylori, due to a food poisoning experience which I have written about in another article. To make a long story short, I took prescribed antibiotics to get rid of the infection, which thankfully worked, the infection was gone. However, even though I no longer had bacteria that was supposedly causing my stomach issues, taking the antibiotics never got rid of the symptoms.
Going the journey alone
I continued to suffer from, what I considered at the time, abnormal stomach pain and irregular bowel movements, which caused so much anxiety and stress in my life because I had no idea what was wrong with me. Of course, I still saw doctors and specialists about my symptoms, describing how they were impacting so many aspects of my life. For instance, I had to drop out of college because I wasn’t making it to my classes and failing, I lost many jobs due to chronic absences, and I was gradually becoming more and more antisocial as my symptoms continued. My life was becoming something I never expected and wanted, and therefore I made it my mission to find answers to my pain. However, after several tests, procedures, and medications, the doctors and specialists never found an answer or solution to my suffering. At that point, I was starting to become very depressed because I couldn’t prove to myself, or anyone else, that my horrible and painful experience was being caused by something real.
This discouraging journey went on for a few years, and it’s sad to say that throughout that time, I was suffering from a condition that I couldn’t even put a name to. Not only that, but many times it was very difficult trying to convince certain people, like my old bosses, some of my friends, and family members, that what I was going through was serious and valid, and not all in my head. Can you imagine trying to confide in the people you think you can trust and will help you get through tough times, and they don’t believe you? It was bad enough that I was suffering from an unknown condition (to me) at the time, but to also deal with indifference and discouragement from those I looked up to was very devastating for me. To this day, I still can’t believe that, for a while, I was suffering and going through this horrible journey alone.
Finally, some answers
I started to ask the universe, “how many tests does it take to figure out what is wrong with me?!” My world was turned upside down because I couldn’t find the piece to this puzzle that kept me from possibly being put me on a path to finding a cure, or at least great relief. I was left clueless about my pain for a very long time, until finally in 2014 when the specialist I was seeing at the time realized I went through enough tests and procedures, and diagnosed me with irritable bowel syndrome. So basically, it took me a little more than 4 years to officially get diagnosed with IBS, a diagnosis of exclusion. Getting diagnosed with IBS did not take away my symptoms or suffering, but it did give me some peace of mind that what I’m going through is real and that I am not alone. I hope no one ever goes through what I went through while getting diagnosed. After my journey, I created a new mission for myself, which is to make sure that I provide the support that I desperately needed in the beginning to those who will need it throughout their path to a diagnosis.
Can any of you relate to my story? How long did it take for you to get diagnosed with IBS? Or, are you still on your journey? Feel free to comment your answers below, and thank you for reading.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?