Sunday, September 4, 2011

So what your saying is that I am irritable?!?

Picture from Google Images...A: I wish I was that skinny and B: LOVE her jeans!
As I had mentioned before I have been down for the count for over a week now. I suffer from what is known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Not something everyone wants to talk about or discuss, but believe it or not 1 out of 6 people suffer from it and it is twice as common in women than men (don't we get all the fun diseases!). 

Warning: the following contains information about "bowel movements"... read at your own risk!

A little over five years ago I noticed that foods I loved to eat and had always eaten were really starting to bother my stomach, and I'm not talking about having that bowl of chili at the big game party and having to wave the covers at night to share my "blessings" with the hubby. I am talking about as soon as eating a salad filled with my favorite vegetables and "tasting it over and over again" (as I describe it) all day, and sometimes the next day. I didn't really think too much about and just began avoiding those foods. Which is no fun at all. 


I don't remember all of the details but do know eventually I found that it just wasn't food that was causing my stomach to turn flips. My bowel (yep said it) movements were irratic to say the least...for a few days I wouldn't go and then next thing I knew I couldn't stop going! Again I would just deal with it, and let it pass.

Then it just kept getting worse. I finally talked to a doctor about it all. They did some of the simple tests to illiminate other things, and came up with the conclusion that it was IBS and  decided just to put me on some preventative medication. I was not thrilled with the idea of it all...I mean the preventative meds were anti-depresants. But after some research and discussion with my husband it was common. Medications like Zoloft are prescribed for IBS to keep stress levels lower. So let me give you a little medical info on IBS:

The signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can vary widely from person to person and often resemble those of other diseases. Among the most common are:
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • A bloated feeling
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes even alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
  • Mucus in the stool
Yep those were on my list. Well the meds did help but I was still having flare ups. The doctors did a few more test to rule other things out, AGAIN. Including the most exciting one of them all...a colonoscopy! I was under thrity and had a colonoscopy, indoscopy, numerous barium scans including when they inject liquid into your system to "see what happens". All test came back just fine. It got to a point where I wished that they would just find something, so it could all be "fixed".

A year ago was probably my worst attack ever. I was in so much pain that I could not even stand up straight. I felt as though I was preping for a colonoscopy again and couldn't leave the bathroom. It was so bad that my husband took me to the emergency room. There they admitted me, so that I could have some strong pain meds and ordered ultrasounds to check the galbladder AGAIN. Once again nothing. They even did a ton of blood work to watch different blood cell counts and at one time thought maybe pancreatitis. The doctors kept me out of work for over a week (during the first month of school, now that was not easy for me at all!). Eventually with new pain meds and anti-diarrhea meds (because over the counter Tums, Pepto, Maloxx...don't even come close to working any more) I regained some normalness.

Well it happened again! Apparently my body adjusted to the meds and once again I found myself in pain and closed in a bathroom. The old meds did help keep some of the pain at bay, so I didn't have to go to the hospital again, but I did have to find new ones. Because this time I couldn't even take a shower without throwing up. So a trip to the urgent care and new perscriptions helped a little more. I am still recovering and well it was the quickest 12lbs I have ever lost, but I am finally on the mend. I have found that this time the recovery is longer, I just don't have a lot of energy...but hopefully things will be back to "normal" soon. As the doctors say I just internalize everything and eventually it catches up with me. The urgent care doctor made the comment: "I see you have pretty much had every test and scoped from both ends...so yep I am thinking you do have IBS. You may just want to find a job that doesn't cause stress, and stay zen" I told him when he knew of a stressless job just let me know.

So there it is...my not so fun illness. I have a lot of other things going on as well and plan to share as soon as I am able, along with some great freebies, tutorials, and classroom ideas. So stay tuned!

12 comments:

Corey said...

Jessica,
First of all... welcome to Alford!
Second...
I totally sympathize! I suffer too!

Dandelions and Dragonflies said...

Awww thanks! Happy to be there. I guess I have someone to complain to now :O)

Amy said...

I was diagnosed with IBS when I was a teenager. For 20 years I suffered. It turns out I actually have Celiac Disease. I feel so good now! Have you been tested for Celiac?

Meridith said...

I just got home from the doctor and was diagnosed with IBS. I am starting medication today and hope it helps. I have been dealing with this for 10 years and it is just getting so bad I had to talk to my doc about it. Doctor actually said to me.... "You are around children all day... what is there to be stressed about?" Ahh... if he only knew!

Dandelions and Dragonflies said...

Amy: thank you for the advice. No I have not been tested, at least not that I aware of. Next time I have an appointment I will definitely ask.

Meridith:Glad you got some daily medication, it does help me tremendously! Just make sure you always remember to take it. It never fails on the day or two that I forget..it's the most stressful days ever! Good luck!

Married to First said...

I'm a new follower of your blog, and just saw this post!

I am 27 years old, and have suffered from IBS since I was in college. It got really bad my first year of teaching. I too, had all of the tests run and all they could tell me was that I had acid reflux, and IBS. I do take Zoloft for it, and it seems to help, but I've had a lot of luck taking Ginger, Probiotics and Enzymes (all found at Akins or a health food store). I really think this has made such a big difference for me! They gave me some prescription medicine (Bentyl) but it didn't work for me.

I now know where all of the bathrooms are in every store and restaurant, and I have a fear of flying b/c I'm afraid I'm going to have an "episode" and spend the whole plane ride in the restroom! It's not fun! Luckily I have a restroom in my classroom!

I hope you find something that works! Good luck!

Isla said...

I suffered from the same symptomsand it was Celiac, too. Symptoms usually haoppen 8 to 12 hours after eating gluten (bread, pasta..). I wouldn"t advise you to quit your meds, but if you feel inclined to do so, try and eat gluten-free for a couple of weeks. If you see a difference, then it was celiac. If there's no difference, enjoy your pizza! :-)

Betsy said...

Hi there, I stumbled upon your blog from Pinterest, and this post caught my attention. I am also a 27 year-old teacher, and I was diagnosed with IBS 2 years ago after having many of the symptoms you mentioned, though I never threw up; just the other unpleasantness! After about a year of trial and error, I've learned that for me, taking 2 tablets of Imodium prior to eating any "trouble" foods usually prevents any flare-ups. I also learned that I need to take Imodium after every single bowel movement (I know, don't you hate those words!?) to prevent recurrences from happening. It sounds like everyone has different degrees of difficulty, but it is encouraging to hear we're not alone. I completely identify with knowing where all the public bathrooms are, though! I hope your situation has improved since you posted this... sounds like you've had quite a rough time.

Kelsey said...

I found your blog through a picture of your classroom on Pinterest (omg obsessed) and found this post... so glad that I did. I also have IBS - diagnosed this year after ruining my honeymoon (spent the entire time in the bathroom). I'm 24 and have had a endoscopy, colonoscopy, barium scans, ultra sounds on my gallbladder, and so much more. It has been a blast being married less than a year and dealing with all this. It is awful being a teacher with IBS, especially because you can't always leave when you need to. AWFUL.

Anonymous said...

found your blog on pinterest. i had the same problem where id have heart attack-like symptoms and horrible stomach pain. it ends up that i had severe gallstones and i had to have my gallbladder taken out.

hope you get it figured out.

Anonymous said...

Try Celexa. It has been a life saver for me. I take 40 mg nightly...

Vicki said...

I feel your pain! I was diagnosed with IBS after all those "fun" tests. I was prescribed a lot of different meds which either didn't help or had side effects worse than the IBS. After some research, I read that chamomile is a smooth muscle relaxant. I decided that it couldn't hurt to try it so I began drinking chamomile tea with honey several times a day. I couldn't believe how much relief I got from something so simple, although it is a acquired taste! Now I just drink a cup when I have a flare-up which isn't too often. (btw, I'm not paid to sell chamomile tea! :)