IBS Doesn't Care About Your Life
In my past couple of articles about my experiences with IBS, I have tried to share my intentions and 'game plan' for dealing with a life disrupted, and sometimes stopped altogether, by IBS and the symptoms that accompany it. While creating a plan regarding your diet, exercise and general way of life is very important, if not necessary, seeing it through is a different story altogether. We have issues at work that naturally cause us stress. We may have a partner or spouse that decides they want pizza and a chocolate bar while you sit there trying to enjoy your gruel. You may want to plan activities with your children or friends but because of IBS symptoms, you simply are unable to participate. This is so, so frustrating for those of use suffering with this thing. That's what I call it now; my thing. I would like to share some of what I have been going through in the last couple of months that have challenged my 'game plan' and made me realize how seriously we need to take IBS if we are to reclaim our lives. Because let’s be clear, it's our life, its precious and it does not belong to IBS.
Triggers + Flare-Ups = Bad Quality of Life
My particular trouble, or the symptom that has troubled me the most, is the serious malaise, weakness, flu like experience I have to suffer through for 3 to 5 days once I've had a flare-up. My last period of incapacitation occurred a week ago. I will admit to being careless, stupid and greedy. When I got home last Monday night, my girlfriend said she didn’t feel like cooking (no I’m not one of those who expects my lady to cook for me). She said she was going to have fast food and did I want anything. Do you know what I said? I would like a burrito, please. Yep, that’s what I said. A BURRITO. Ok, so I eat the burrito, next morning I feel the flare, I mean like somebody was doing construction in my intestines. I go to work, take my medicine and hope I can get through. Know what I did next? Well, as I’ve mentioned, I work in Social Services and part of my job is to keep folks with mental illness and substance abuse problems from isolating in their home. My job often is to simply get them OUT. So, as you can imagine I spend a lot of time in the car and in COFFEE SHOPS. Long story short, I was at a coffee shop four times that day. I HAD COFFEE FOUR TIMES. I also continue to smoke and when I drink a lot of coffee, I tend to smoke more. So there I am, burrito, 90 ounces of coffee and smokes. No food mind you, just caffeine and nicotine. This is where the picture of the donkey arrives on the screen. I was on the couch for the next three days. Low grade fever, some chills and MALAISE. I use the word malaise specifically because there is no better word in our dictionary to describe the feeling I have. Generally, the behavior before the flare is not so awful or dramatic, but often times the result is the same; and its ruining my quality of life.
The episode described in this article is not the point. It was meant as a somewhat humorous (for you, the reader) and dramatic example of the stressors we sometimes put our bodies through just by going through our day, night, weekend…life. I’m learning just as many of you are, one day at a time, one flare at a time. I will do better the next time…I promise.
Is gluten a trigger for you?