When did it begin? The number of times I have been asked this question in the past forty-eight hours is beyond me. If you are one for a light-hearted story perhaps stop reading here.. if you’re up for a bit
of poo talk – you’re in the right place!
So let me take you back.. 18 months ago I began blaming my IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome for the chronic constipation I was beginning to experience. Constipation to the extremes that I was unable to go to the bathroom for weeks at a time.
Firstly, my doctor discussed gluten being the culprit. Gluten was forcing my stomach stretch to new extremes and make me look like I was a good 4 months pregnant after eating a piece of toast – totally bizarre. So I cut gluten out. This was effective … for a while. By a while I mean a couple of months, MAXIMUM. Back to the drawing board I went. I went to see a different GP. This GP recommended beginning a low FODMAP diet to support my body in digesting foods. For those of you who are unaware; FODMAPS are foods that create difficulty for individuals with IBS to digest. This involved cutting out many many foods that ultimately provided me with no significant difference to the pain, or the constipation I was experiencing. I trialled this for a period of months, certain that my body would just whip into gear and begin working again. Oblivious to the real issue brewing inside.
After presenting to the Emergency Department in August last year things only took a turn for the worst. Upon arrival at the hospital I had not been able to use my bowels for a solid three weeks.. yep you heard me right. THREE WEEKS! Let me tell you – the pain is unexplainable. The hospital provided me with laxatives and enemas and I was on my way with a referral to see a gastroenterologist.
My gastroenterologist is truly one of the greatest people. He has provided me with so much support and has always been a phone call away as things have progressively got worse. The first appointment with the Gastro resulted in taking lactose out of my diet. Another bloody food group to deal with taken out of my diet – there was I was thinking it was the end of the world. Now I look back and go ‘gee if only that fixed everything’. Taking lactose out of my diet appeared to resolve things again.. for a short period of time. It helped my digestive system process foods and my bowel was working a little more effectively. Though of course.. only for a month or two.
Following this, I returned to my gastro for re-assessment. I was then given two medicines that were aimed to increase my fibre intake and support my digestive system to groove and move.. Did it work? Yeah.. For long? Absolutely not. Though surprisingly a couple of months.
This was the start of what I was yet to know .. many gastro appointments. Many uncomfortable night sleeps. Many days feeling incredibly unwell… the start of the daily constipation. The daily laxatives (under the watchful eye of my gastro). The daily anxiety. The daily concern of ‘What am I going to do if this doesn’t work?’
More in the next post .. coming soon xxx