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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