Todd’s 2017 IBS Year in Review

Every once in a while, I like to post what is ultimately a journal entry. I think that all the sharing of individual situations and hardships in this forum, not only provides support for those suffering with IBS and related illnesses, but also the will to keep up the fight. It is with this intention that I would like to share some of the things I learned and some of the things I screwed up in 2017. This will serve as a sort of cathartic closing of the old and the beginning of the new for me. Hopefully, you may find some things that you can relate to or find helpful.

IBS makes everything harder

To summarize, in 2017, I came to the realization that my IBS was truly a powerful, mutating force that really wasn’t to be trifled with. I would like to focus on the word MUTATING. From what I’ve read there are others that have experienced this phenomena. My IBS changes severity, and even FORM, depending on my overall wellness. It’s like Santa Claus…it knows when I’ve been nice, and certainly, knows when I’ve been naughty. Betcha never thought you’d hear someone compare IBS to Santa Claus did you? Well you just did :-).

Early in the year, I started reading about the FODMAP diet and how helpful this was to so many people with IBS. Was I on board? Hell, yeah…for about two months and I felt great; until I started drinking alcohol again. Yes, I am an alcoholic…and five months sober again. Did the drinking, then the quest to stop drinking interfere with my IBS and mental health? Of course it did, so did all of the emotional factors that went into my brief return to drink. For a time, I COMPLETELY stopped all attempts at managing my IBS. I felt as though it was more important to concentrate on the things I needed to do to stop drinking again. So…I just had IBS…all the time…no management…no relief…and it got worse…much worse. I suffered it, to take care of one problem that I designated as more important. I became one-minded, and didn’t take into consideration that maybe managing my IBS might have made getting back on the wagon a bit easier. The point? Managing your IBS should not stop for ANYTHING. IBS makes everything harder. I think the other thing I need to point out, is that all of the things we do to keep IBS symptoms at bay, might not KILL THE IBS, but it does make it easier to deal with. Sometimes a lot easier, sometimes just a little.

There’s always work to be done

Over time, I was back to a modified FODMAP (just for me), no booze, cut the coffee, increased the water and started exercising again. How was the IBS? Really, really…umm…tame. I felt like a new man, I could do anything and the first thing that came to mind was…it’s time to quit smoking. I could do anything right? So…I…quit. Good for me, right? Well, it’s not that cut and dry. Our friend, the mighty, mutating, metamorphosing IBS, decided it would be funny to change my IBS-D to IBS-M. I talked about this a little in another article, but the change of my body chemistry, with the lack of nicotine and the other 7,000 chemicals in the cigarettes, caused my guts to react in a very frustrating, negative way.

So, I’m smoking again…and my IBS has returned to just the one kind. Yay. My diet is good, I haven’t had a drink in months and I’m exercising. I feel pretty good. Is there still work to be done? There is always work to be done with IBS, but it can and should be done. This is what I learned in 2017. What about you?

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