It's Not All In My Head

Groovy greetings ya'll. I'm Ray, a writer for the RLS community & someone who has lived with IBS since 2011. You can also find me in the Endo community as I also live with that debilitating disease.

I fondly remember the days when I could eat whatever I wanted, as someone who is a foodie, I have eaten some amazing foods. Growing up I had wanted to be a chef so I explored many different meals. When I was in grade 12, I was accepted into prestigious 1 week course called S.W.E.A.T. I traveled to Vancouver B.C (Canada) & the course was provided with one of the culinary colleges down there. I got to eat some amazing foods while down there, always trying something new from a different country every day.

Gallbladder removal changed everything

Then 2011 hit & my world was forever changed. I had been suffering with horrible pains just below my breasts but in the middle of my chest. An x-ray showed I had a gall stone the size of a toonie ($2 coin in Canada, 28mm Diameter) & it needed to be removed. I wasn't informed that they could try breaking up the stone using soundwaves (Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)) so I consented to surgery as it was the only option given. Oh how I wish we could have tried to break it up first.

Having my gallbladder removed sent my health into a major dive. It was a struggle to keep liquids in me for an entire month & then it was another month struggling to find foods I could handle. The ones I could tolerate the best, still caused agony & was followed by an urgent bowel movement. My RLS, came roaring back, my Fibromyalgia got worse, I started experiencing vertigo & developed stones in my salivary glands.

IBS is real

After half a year, my GP finally sent me to a Gastroenterologists who helped manage my mothers Crohn's disease. The thinking was that I also had Crohn's disease. A colonoscopy was performed but everything was absolutely healthy looking. Next my GP sent to a dietician who told me all about low FODMAP diet, which I already knew about due to my mom having Crohn's, I already knew all the foods to avoid.

Now it's about 2013 when I was finally sent to an Internist specialist who specializes in gastro issues. He listened to everything I said & looked at all the tests that had been done. He then proceeded to say the most wonderful thing that people suffering with undiagnosed issues can hear:

"It's not all in your head. You have irritable bowel syndrome & that is a real thing." He then proceeded to tell me about how the medical community was finally able to tell that IBS was a real thing & then again stated that is it not all in my head, I have a real health issue.

I was relieved to have an answer as to what was going on. I had lost all my "friends" because they couldn't understand why I was suddenly very sick & having to do rain cheques all the time. Unfortunately, my mom & 2 sisters didn't believe my diagnosis & other health issues. It was infuriating because when I got my first disease diagnosed (Endometriosis), I thought I was going to have amazing family support due to the fact my mom & younger sister have autoimmune diseases.

I have since had an upper GI scope, which everything looked healthy & the biopsy came back normal. I have tried every medicine for IBS that I can, some I can't try due to allergies or my heart, & nothing helps me. I even suffered some long term damage from medications I tried including damaging my heart.

Getting better

In the last 3yrs, things haven gotten a bit better. There are some foods I used to not be able to handle that I now can. A light sprinkling of cinnamon used to cause horrible agony & now I can rarely treat myself to a cinnamon bun. 2 bites of salad would cause horrible agony & now I can treat myself to a small portion of caesar salad. Eating out in public used to be a challenge, my bowels used to need to go after a couple minutes of eating. Now, if it's all natural ingredients, I can handle eating out.

Why the change? I'm not entirely sure but I do know removing my mom & 2 sisters from my life definitely had a major positive effect on my health. Having toxic, abusive, narcissists in my life was taking its toll. I think two natural things I have tried, one I still use today, has also been beneficial & maybe helped bring about the change. I can't say for any certainty, for all I know, it could be temporary.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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