IBS is, like, SO Real

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and get a do-over on a situation, because you didn’t get a chance to deliver the perfect remark? That happened to me this week, and it was about IBS.

“Pfft. That’s not even a real thing.”

The fitness studio where I work out supports a different cause each month – you check in on social media, and they make a donation. This past month, it was for a charity supporting kids with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. Usual punny hashtag, like #gutitout, or something. A worthy campaign, though.

IBD is not at all the same thing as IBS, as those of us on IrritableBowelSyndrome.net know very well. But for most people, it’s just another acronym with “bowel” in the middle. So, I wasn’t really surprised when our session “coach” mentioned the campaign at the beginning of the class and urged us to “help little kids suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.”

I may have rolled my eyes just a tad. But I didn’t see the need to be pedantic about it and correct her. We were launching into 55 minutes of high-intensity interval training and she was about to turn up the heart rate-boosting music to 11. Then I heard the young guy on the treadmill next to me say to the person on the other side of him, “Pfft. That’s not even a real thing.”

“It is TOO a thing!”

In hindsight, I should always have a clue-impaired person on the treadmill next to me, because my heartrate skyrocketed when he uttered those dismissive words! To say I was very, very irritated would be an understatement. For the rest of the class, I could barely concentrate on my rowing form or shoulder presses or burpees (I hate that word, and my knees hate that move). The only thing streaming through my brain was what to say to the dolt when the music stopped and the class was over. In my head, I rehearsed again and again how I was going to set him straight. The final version sounded something like this:

“Hey, I couldn’t help but overhear what you just said about IBS, and I’ve gotta tell you, you’re wrong. While it’s not as serious a health condition as inflammatory bowel disease, which is what the charity’s actually for, IBS is absolutely real and can wreck the quality of life for people who have it – people like me and probably plenty of people you know. So, you really should educate yourself before you say something like that. Jerk.” (Only without the "jerk" part.)

Finally, the music stopped and the class was done. I turned toward him, physically and emotionally exhausted, and sputtered, “It is TOO a thing!” and briskly walked away.

Wow, Lisa. WOW. [Slow clapping for myself]

I didn’t turn around to see whether my lame missile hit the target, so I can only imagine his confusion. Why did that red-faced old lady just lob a playground retort at me on her way out of class?

But maybe, just maybe, he put two and two together, and realized I was trying to tell him that IBS is a real thing. We’ll never know, because now I can never return to that Wednesday night class!

What would you have said, if you had your wits about you?

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