A detective with a magnifying glass bent over an oversized roll of toilet paper as if looking for clues.

Process of Elimination: My IBS Story, Continued

Folks, it’s been a while since I last wrote about my IBS here. I’ve been hard at work writing a book about it with the working title: PROCESS OF ELIMINATION.

Nah, I kid. The real reason for my silence is that I’ve gotten downright superstitious about the whole thing. I’m afraid that the second I tell you how things have been going, it will change—for the worse!

Swinging between IBS-D and IBS-C

It’s always changing anyway. Ever since I was diagnosed in 2016, it has changed from chronic constipation to chronic diarrhea, then flip-flopped between constipation and diarrhea, then settled back into constipation again. Occasionally, my bowel returns to “normal” for a week or so. For me, normal was once a day shortly after my morning coffee. But I don’t know why things change. Believe me, I constantly look for patterns, triggers, anything that might contribute. But I always hit a wall. I didn’t change my diet. Or my daily routine. I just don’t get it.

My IBS has been calm

Now here’s where I shrink from giving you a status update. I have only good intentions driving me to share it with you. I figure some of you have the same thing going on, too. And maybe you will feel like you are not so alone with it if I write about my experience. But no good deed goes unpunished. I am convinced that, as soon as I hit the submit button, my colon will show its evil side and gift me with a bout of explosive diarrhea—while I’m on a first date!

But I am going to be brave and tell you what is current and how it is different. For about 3 weeks now, my bowel has been acting normal. One or 2 voluminous, well-formed logs are somewhat messy at times, but toilet paper and baby wipes can manage it. Three weeks! This is fabulous. It has NEVER lasted this long. I don’t know how long it will last, but I will enjoy it until it changes again, and it will change.

Common IBS advice from doctors

Conventional medical advice for improving bowel health is: Eat more fiber, eat fewer calories, drink more water, and exercise more. With my case of IBS, none of that makes my bowel normal. As a matter of fact, high fiber causes me uncontrolled flatulence and explosive diarrhea, even in small amounts. And no, working slowly up from tiny amounts to larger amounts makes no difference. I have to eat a low-fiber diet. Except when I can tolerate it. Which I can from time to time. My body doesn’t give me a high sign or a green light for when these conditions exist. Nor is there a phone app that vibrates an alert I can eat refried beans on my nachos without crapping on my living room carpet. I try it and wait for the result.

Still uncertainty

So the big question for me is still, why? If it isn’t a matter of eating better makes you crap better, then what? Do I need to look farther outside my life? The continent? The planet? Is it some shift in the cosmic plane? Does my colon calm down whenever the moon is in retrograde and Jupiter aligns with Mars? Or when Jupiter’s spot migrates? Should I throw away my bottle of Metamucil and buy a telescope?

Through the process of elimination, I keep arriving at the same conclusion: The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

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