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sad tales: women with ibs-d page four

The tale of...Treena (January 2004)

I was 20 years old when my first IBS attack began. Friends and I were hanging out at my house, I made chili for dinner and had no soda so I drank OJ. I woke up with such a pain in my stomach I could not catch my breath. I had the sweats and then it happened, I jumped out of bed, ran to the bathroom and didn't know what end to put down first.

This happened all night long and I still got up and dressed for work. My girlfriend came to pick me up and said to me I looked like crap. Instead of work, I was in the hospital for 15 days! The last five days were liquid diet.

I have been dealing with this for 12 years now, maybe more. When I was little I remember barbecues when I ate I would be sick, every single time. To this day I don't eat barbecued food. I can't drink socially at parties, or I will be sick, and certain odors aggravate my stomach. I have tried the meds doctors have prescribed but to no avail, they do not work.

I hope it just gets better. My husband bears with me and treats me with kindness and understanding but he says he can't relate to the pain and hopes he never has to since he sees the pain I cannot tolerate. I hope they find something to help us. If they can find something for impotence I'm sure they can find something for IBS.

The tale of...Jade (January 2004)

I'm 21 years old. My IBS started about a year and a half ago, while I was at university. It just keeps getting worse and worse. I'm at the point now where everything is so severe. I have the hated gas, distended gut, diarrhea until I feel faint, nausea and vomiting, you name it, I have it. It's been getting so severe that I've had to stay at the hospital for hours having anti-nausea drugs pumped into me through needles and then through the IV.

I swear people do not understand how sick I feel at times, and I can't begin to explain it. All I know is that I'm very grateful to my mother who drives an hour to show up at my university at 3:00 in the morning because I'm too sick to hardly move. Or the 3:00 in the morning trips to emergency while on vacation because I can't stop hurling up everything I've eaten that day.

My condition is now really starting to affect my schooling. I've got a note from my doctor excusing me from any classes I need to miss because I'm sick, or too tired from being up all night. I'm just so sick of waking up nauseated. My doctor tried me on amitriptyline, but that made me too dozy for class in the morning, so now I'm going to start on nortriptyline.

It's just so hard to keep telling my professors that I've been sick from classes...it starts to sound phony when you say it every other day or every couple days, but I don't want to try and explain that I have this chronic IBS.

Most people think it is a fake disease, a mind thing. My parents know it's real though! That's for sure. Especially when they're taking me back to the university after the weekend and I'm anxious and have an attack in the car, demanding we pull over, anywhere, I don't care, but it has to be now!

I find that my stress level does affect the severity of the disease. Symptoms occur all the time, even when I'm on vacation and not stressed out, but become violent when I feel anxious. Anyway...I hope it leaves me soon!

The tale of...Rachael (January 2004)

Well, where to start. I am 24 years old and I have suffered from what doctors have called an anxious stomach since I can remember. After many tests, I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 18. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, constant lower back and abdominal pain to name a few, all things that I feel on a weekly basis. I have had a great deal of difficulty determining all the factors that contribute to my constant discomfort. My body rejects almost everything I have to offer it.

Aside from the obvious foods, such as dairy, grains, and anything containing fat, I have also noticed that my birth control is a contributing factor. I am having a hard time figuring out what food my body will digest with the least amount of pain, and have tried many diets. I feel tired all the time, my pant size varies anywhere from a size four to a size 10.

I have never been much of a complainer so often I find myself hidden away in my room, choking back the tears from the constant discomfort. Oh woe is me, I say to myself before I even attempt to face the world. Then off I go with a smile on my face, hoping that the less I worry or complain the better I will feel.

I have missed more than an acceptable amount of days at work, and am very lucky to have such an understanding boss. My son, who is now four, is quite understanding for his age, which makes me feel even worse some days, because I can see the concern in his eyes and I wish that I had more energy for him at the end of the day. But by the end of the day after making him some supper and getting into the biggest pair of pants I own, I barely have enough left in me to help in and out of the bath.

I guess what I want most of all is to learn how to best manage the pain caused by IBS. Thank you for all your stories, they have been very helpful, and thank you for the chance to tell my story.

The tale of...Michelle (January 2004)

I've had IBS for 13 years now (seems like forever), and it all started when I started getting my period. When I had my children it got so much worse. There's so much I can't eat or do. I push myself to keep up and find that I spend days in bed recovering because I'm so tired.

My partner is now only just getting how awful I feel 80% of the time. I have good days and bad days and I consider myself lucky to say that while I have to keep an eye on toilets, I've never had a problem with soiling myself.

The pain for me is debilitating. I can't move at all. I've been in hospital lots with no answers and three operations. I'm very lucky that my boss is so understanding. He tells anyone who gives me a hard time about not coming into work as often to back off because I'm sick. In fact, he's hired someone else to help me and make my life easier! Can't ask for a better boss at all.

I hate the pain and I find myself waking up every morning, wondering what sort of day it's going to be. It's never pain free, but it's a matter of dealing with the lesser pain. I'm on so much medication that I feel stoned half the time.

My youngest child has gone to live with his dad as I can't look after him properly any more. Stress makes it all worse and I have a bland diet, although I had Mexican last night with no ill effects and I'm so pleased (I adore Mexican food).

I have a belief that everything will get better. On the worst days, I still cling to that hope because what have I got if I don't? A lifetime of pain? Doctors don't really give you much to go on here, but I'll keep changing my lifestyle until I find one that works.

I'm just grateful for the support that I have from my partner, my oldest child (who has promised he won't jump on me anymore!) and my boss who made a difficult and stressful situation so much easier.

The tale of...Ruth (January 2004)

Problems with my bowel didn't start till I was pregnant with my second child two years or more ago. It started with bouts of constipation followed by really painful and upsetting severe diarrhea during the nights, being pregnant, the stomach spasms would always feel like contractions, as I had had them before!

My doctor prescribed Lactulose. By the third time of constipation I was convinced I had something seriously wrong, bowel cancer or something, I had myself convinced. The Lactulose tasted awful, and gave me terrible wind - I'd go to bed for hours until the pain went away.

I hoped it would go away after the birth, it was happening every four weeks or so. It didn't, things got worse, my husband slipped two discs at work, and couldn't go back, so no income. I had just given birth, and already had a little monkey running around, plus an old problem involving my arm came back, causing a lot of pain.

I went for my post-natal check up at six weeks and broke down in front of my doctor, I couldn't cope, I was supposed to be so happy, but I was permanently at the toilet, stomach spasms were the worst, running to the toilet for nothing, I'd go to the toilet on a bad day 30 or 40 times. I don't know how bad that is in comparison with other people but it tires you out! I got all the tests for IBS done, and was prescribed mebeverine.

My arm is now sorting itself out, husband still sick with back nearly two years on, no money! Two toddlers, builders building downstairs bathroom. I try to eat at least one meal with veggies a day, but I still can't seem to find a balance to keep me from having terrible bouts. I am really thankful for weeks without too much worry and pain, but I am really stressed which brings it on, it's one of my triggers!

Thank-you to those of you who took the time to read the stories in this site, many people who don't have it don't understand, but then most of them are selfish, and only interested in themselves. I don't think anyone who tells you 'You'll have to snap out of it' is actually worth speaking to, and I am a really nice person, so it means a lot when I think this. I try not to let it 'rule my life' I have so much more to worry about.

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