The experiences of IBS submitted to IBS Tales over the years range from the deeply painful to the ones filled with hope for the future. I think that my favorite story ever was sent in by Jenny, and it’s my favorite because of what she says about a man named Nigel.
This is what she says:
“Three years ago I met Nigel, he knew nothing of my condition and on our first date didn’t comment that I only drank mineral water. During our second date we ended up at his house at a meal time, I couldn’t not eat! He made no comment when I asked him for boiled rice, broccoli and a glass of mineral water, he even had some boiled rice in his soup!!
I eventually had to tell him of my illness and he rushed off to get pen and paper, he wrote down everything I could eat. When I next visited him he showed me a cupboard in the kitchen – he’d filled it with all the food that I could eat.”
Are you listening, all those people who tell us that it’s in our heads and we need to snap out of it? Take a lesson from Nigel – if your loved one has IBS, don’t try to convince them they’re imagining it – fill a cupboard full of food they can eat and put some rice in your soup. It’s only fair.
I’ve had irritable bowel syndrome for 15 years, and I’ve just decided that I’m not going to be embarrassed anymore.
Recently, a couple of people have found my IBS Tales site who actually know me in person, rather than just over the internet. I know this partly because they have told me and partly because I can tell when the server logs look a bit suspicious – if you’re looking for help for your irritable bowel you don’t type in “Sophie Lee, UK, health” as your search engine keywords, generally.
But the reason I’ve decided not to be embarrassed is because there are hundreds and hundreds of IBS experiences on my site, not just me. And there are millions of sufferers in the world. It’s not just me, and it’s not just you. It’s all of us here, together, knowing what it’s like.
And you know what – I’m tired of being ashamed of what is, when all is said and done, a medical condition that I can do nothing about. If my liver was broken I wouldn’t be worried, and I’m damned if I’m going to be embarrassed about my bowel.
My name’s Sophie and I have irritable bowel syndrome. What’s your problem?
I don’t know how it is where you are, but here in the UK there’s a startling lack of public toilets. OK, it’s the not the most glamorous of subjects (but then nothing IBSy is really) and you won’t get rock stars making a single to save the toilets, but they’re pretty important.
Without a good network of loos across the country there are whole bunches of people who can’t leave the house – IBS people, colitis people, IBD people, people who are nailed to their carpets (although people who are nailed to their carpets probably deserve all they get).
And just one bad experience, where you’re desperate for the loo and there’s none to be found, can make it harder and harder to leave the safety of home. And then you never go out, and then you get more miserable, and then your IBS gets worse, and then your canary dies.
You see how important public loos are?