Back To The Beginning: Appointments & Testing

I’ve recently shared how I suddenly started experiencing new and quite intense symptoms. After something that felt a lot like a stomach bug, my digestive system seemed completely unable to recover. So, I decided to get to the bottom of this and ask my doctor for some tests.

The doctor’s visit: To tell the truth or to lie?

When I finally got an appointment with my doctor, I was faced with two options: I could either tell the truth and risk being dismissed as I have been before, or I could embellish my symptoms and their duration and risk an inaccurate diagnosis.

In reality, I believe that it’s always best to tell the truth. I had been suffering from stomach-bug-like symptoms for almost two weeks and I knew that this wasn’t normal. But, knowing my history with IBS, medical providers tend to not take me very seriously. As though I can’t tell the difference between a normal flare and something else.

In the end, I decided to be honest.

French medicine & antibiotics

Thankfully, my doctor completely agreed that none of my symptoms could be considered normal and promptly diagnosed me with a bacterial infection. He even emphasized how food poisoning is pretty common when we eat out a lot. The only problem was: I hadn’t eaten anywhere but at home, and we’d shared all our meals as a family. And neither my husband nor my two children had shown any digestive symptoms at all.

Since I live in France and my doctor is also French, I knew then and there that I would leave this appointment with a prescription for antibiotics. That’s just how it works here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a doctor send me or my children home without antibiotics, except our pediatrician who isn’t French.

However, I still insisted that I’d like to know what exactly was causing this. And in the end, my doctor agreed to have me do a stool test as well.

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The dreaded stool test

While I really wanted to do a test for these symptoms I was having, I must admit that the mere idea of having to do a stool test again was giving me nightmares. Quite literally. For two nights in a row, I kept waking up and panicking about the test. I just hate it so very much. But I also don’t want to take unnecessary antibiotics. So, what’s a girl to do?

Well, I did the test. After two agonizing days of mental preparation, the whole ordeal took me about 2 minutes. The way they do these tests in our laboratory is actually okay and nothing like what other people have shared in this community.

Awaiting the results

Waiting for the results felt like the beginning of my IBS journey again. I was having constant flashbacks to that time, and it was not pleasant. Would I be feeling better soon? Was it really just a bacterial or viral infection, or something else? How long would it take to finally get some relief?

Thankfully, my test results ended up being almost normal except that my microbiome was a little messed up. And funnily enough, I finally started feeling a bit better on the day of the test. I hadn’t taken the antibiotics, but I could definitely tell that my digestive system was slowly recovering.

A virus after all?

A couple of weeks after getting my test results back, I was back to normal. I could still not pinpoint what this had been, but a friend mentioned that she and her family had also caught some sort of strange virus about a week before me. And then I remembered that my husband experienced vertigo spells (which he never has) and a cough for about a week during the time I was sick. So maybe this was just a virus after all?

No matter what it was, it just reminded me how stressful, disheartening, and scary it feels to be in the midst of doctor’s appointments, testing, and diagnoses. So, to anyone going through this right now: I feel you, and it can get better.

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