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sad tales: women with ibs-d page seven

The tale of...Rebecca (April 2004)

My IBS symptoms started when I was six years old. I was sitting at my desk one day and needed to go really bad, by the time I got to the bathroom I found out I already did! I stuffed toilet paper in my pants and told the teacher I had a stomach ache so I could go home early.

The elementary school I went to had teachers who, for some cruel reason or another, would not dismiss children to the bathroom (some kids ended up peeing in their pants!) and when you could finally convince the teacher you really weren't lying, if you were in the toilet too long they'd get really mad and threaten the kids! I wish I could've sued the school!

The symptoms got worse as I got older. No one believed me. My sister would bang on the bathroom door if she couldn't get 'ready for bed on time' cause she was anal about going to sleep on time, getting to school on time, (basically an on time maniac, that IBS people would do better to not be around). She did this every time I had a bowel movement!

She'd scream and cry and beat on the door, and no one stopped her, nor did she care about my pain. She was such a selfish little brat! (Side note: To this day she is still a bully, though not to me. Thank God she moved out! That was a blessing! Though she's married; and her husband is getting the same treatment she gave me.)

It was her annoying threats from the other side of the door that have made me even more uncomfortable on the toilet to this day! I cope by using loud fans (so I can't hear anyone else in the house). I've gotten so paranoid that I feel like just screaming, and killing the next person who makes even a pin drop outside the door.

The only time I had friends was in eighth grade and at a camp I went to last year (noted as the only camp I've ever gone to because of the pain). I've remained friendless for the good amount of my non-existent life and never had a boyfriend. I always felt so guilty for 'letting people down' when they asked me to go places with them. That I would write letters, and give them reasons to hate me so I could just not feel like a useless friend.

I know if anything happened to anyone I could never be there for them, because it's so hard for me to have the courage to leave the house. I'm paranoid about where the toilet is, always!

I've tried to commit suicide many times, but in my most insane moments I felt like I was just such an awful evil person that I needed to be punished by staying alive. I figured God was out to get me, because He didn't understand my pain.

What is ironic is that many years later I prayed to Him for help and relief from the pain; those are the only days I'm able to leave the house! I've mastered the prayer thing, when I don't pray, I don't get to go anywhere, but when I pray I can make it out of the house (even though I go to public restrooms).

I've tried throwing myself out of a window (my parents pulled me back in), cutting my wrists, holding my breath (that one almost never worked) even praying to God to kill me. Just this April I was taken to a psychiatric ward for one of my 'episodes'. I've had severe depression as far back as I can remember. But I was desperate and wanted medication, to hell whether I would break out from an allergy to it or not.

In the end the psychiatrist sent me home empty-handed, but for the first time in my life somebody actually understood all of the symptoms and knew I needed therapy and treatment. But she was a night doctor and I never saw her again, because she only comes to that ward once a month! So I was alone in coping again with no-one to turn to.

I've never taken doctor prescribed medicines (I'm allergic to all drugs; yes even simple Tylenol!) Most days I just feel like a truck hit my body (I have fibromyalgia; another disease that doctors don't believe exists), and I dread morning, because it means sitting at least a couple of hours on the toilet at a time (having to go really bad, but not producing anything, sometimes my legs fall asleep), and then if I'm lucky enough to leave the house (it never fails: I always go when I'm in a public place!)

I always have trouble going, but once it comes out, it's so soft I wonder why it didn't fall out easier. Plus I always have to put my feet up on something, to get better leverage to push the rest out, because it never finishes on its own. I always take soft towel wipes with me in my purse, so I can wipe easier and not get a chapped butt.

Before I leave the house I always get panic attacks with severe cramps and sweating. When I was taking a singing class in college I had such a bad cramp I couldn't breathe. I was delirious and beyond the ability to think or see straight, I never fainted though. I crawled to the car on my hands and knees, crying and doing lamaze breathing exercises.

My dad drove me to the hospital (since I was incapable of doing anything except clutching tightly anything within my reach and crying loudly in pain). A nurse wheeled me in, and since they thought I wasn't important enough for them to see right away, made me wait an hour!

They finally x-rayed my abdomen, told me I was full of poop and to take a laxative! I could have killed that woman, but she was obviously one of the perfect people on this planet! I've had many episodes that come close to that, but that one was the worse one I had. The only other one that comes that close in pain was when I got food poisoning in Reno. All night long I was throwing up and had diarrhea. I was exhausted, and by morning I was still at it, hoping I wouldn't poop while I was throwing up, and vice versa!

As we left the motel my dad held me up by one arm, and I was literally walking like a chimpanzee with my knuckles to the ground (with my free hand) out of the lobby (we had to check out that day). My parents gave me lots of gingerade tea (which didn't help) and packed me in between the car seat and a huge garbage bag of ice (that always helps with cramping, for me). The motion of the car made me sick, but by the time we got to the Nut Tree my body felt great but I was worn out.

You know my IBS is so bad now (I eat great, so it isn't my diet) that even water makes me have to go! It totally sucks! I've never been able to keep a job, the longest I've had a job was three months.

I fall into depressions easily and wonder what will happen to me if my parents die, since I have no money, no job, no friends, no family except them, and no insurance. Falling asleep is terrifying and waking up is even worse. I know I'm not getting the care I need, and not being able to afford it frightens me.

The tale of...Susie (April 2004)

I don't know if this is exactly what I have, even though I had a doctor or two tell me that is probably what I have. But I never had diarrhea until I had my gallbladder removed back in 1985, and I have had it ever since. I went to the surgeon, who sent me to a gastroenterologist, and he ran tests, telling me that he could find nothing wrong with me.

I have tried prescription medicines, over the counter medicines, and nothing works. The only thing I have found that does work, without a doubt, is something that really isn't good for you and that is Mini Thins! Something within those pills stop my diarrhea.

I can eat a meal and I know, like clockwork, within 20-30 minutes I better be near a bathroom because I am going to have diarrhea, bad, and it is uncontrollable. If I don't get on the toilet exactly when I need to, it is in my clothes, which is totally embarrassing and irritating. I am sick of it. After all these years I know there are some things that will trigger diarrhea if I have one too many, like cups of coffee, etc...so I stay away from that, with exception to maybe one cup ever so often.

It can hit at anytime, but is mainly due after I eat the first time each day, a lot of times the second meal too, and I will have diarrhea until I am just totally drained, it will come out like water at times. There is no trying to control it, or to squinch-up, as I say, to keep it from coming. It comes and there is just no control over it.

The only thing that stops it, I go to the store and buy one or two packages of the Mini Thins and within no time, it stops. Sometimes it will happen three or four days in a row, sometimes it may skip two to three days, with maybe only one slight case of diarrhea during that time.

I have talked to several people who have had gallbladder surgery and some did not get this, but the majority of people I spoke to did start to have diarrhea after gallbladder surgery, and a few had been going through it for 15-20 years. That was back when I had only been dealing with it for maybe a year or two. Now it has been about 18 years for me and I still have it. I hate it!

After my surgery in 1985, there were times that I was afraid, literally, to leave my home and go anywhere because the diarrhea could hit me at anytime and if I did manage to go anywhere I never could enjoy eating, or eating out, because it would strike me. This went on at least the first six to seven months after surgery until I figured out that some things would trigger it more than others, so at least I had a little control there.

Now this may not be called IBS to you, or to anyone else, but this is what a doctor has told me years ago. I don't know what else it could be, to be honest! All I know is that for the past near 18 years I have had it, non-stop, and I want it gone!

E-mail address: [email protected]

The tale of...Angela (April 2004)

I hate the idea that anyone has to live with IBS, but I was so glad to find this website and to know that I wasn't all alone. About eight years ago, I had a bout of constipation that lasted about two weeks. My stomach swelled up to look like I was about 6-7 months pregnant. No medicines seemed to help. Finally it was over.

After that, I thought everything was OK. Then about three months later, I got a really bad case of diarrhea that lasted about a week. Then I was constipated again, back and forth. It has been this way since then. Mine is usually diarrhea for about a week then I will be constipated for a few days. One is no better than the other.

Diarrhea so bad that I get migraine headaches and throwing up. Constipation so bad that it feels like it will rip my intestines out. I have plenty of embarrassing tales. I no longer eat out in restaurants and I don't eat for several hours before I have to go to the grocery store or any place in public. I never go places if I don't know if they have a restroom or where it is.

I always have a plan...I always know where the closest restroom is and the closest way to get there. My doctor's office is two hours away from where I live. I make my appointment for early in the morning and I don't eat till after I get home. Still I know where every rest stop and convenience store is en route.

I was diagnosed with IBS, hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia. The pain from the fibromyalgia is bad enough alone but add a bout of constipation or diarrhea with it and it is pure torture. I kept thinking that as much as I have diarrhea that I should be losing weight, but my thyroid problems were keeping me from losing.

I love food, and I love to cook. It nearly kills me, not to be able to eat the things that I love so much. But I hate the consequences when I do break down and have them. I quit my job a year ago, because I couldn't get up and run to the restroom whenever I needed to. I had been in a bind to many times.

I understand about no-one understanding the symptoms. It's hard to even tell anyone what's going on inside your body, sometimes I can't even believe it. It does help a lot to know that you are not the only one going through this, and that someone out there does believe you.

E-mail Angela: [email protected]

The tale of...Tanya (May 2004)

I'm 30 years old and have suffered for many years with IBS. I've also been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and gastritis, all of which together has made my life at times unmanageable. I was diagnosed with IBS shortly after my chronic pancreatitis diagnosis. I've had every test under the sun and for a while was at the doctors at least once a week. I have diarrhea predominant IBS, and some days I cannot be too far from the bathroom, and if I have to leave my house I have to take two Lomotil and wait a good half hour before I even attempt it.

As for eating, I usually cannot get through any meal without taking a visit to the bathroom. The pains are so bad I sometimes will come close to vomiting, I sweat and feel so weak some days. The Lomotil that my doctor gave me gives me some relief, and I'm able to have some peace for at least a few hours out of the day, I find that I can't go even one day without taking Lomotil at least twice.

This has really affected my life, I can't make plans at the last minute to go anywhere unless I know a toilet will be nearby, and even if I go out for only a short errand without taking my Lomotil, I find myself in trouble with the cramping and always dread an accident.

I also often run daily low-grade fevers and feel exhausted a lot of the time. Since being diagnosed I have researched and learned as much as possible, and it also helps to know that I'm certainly not alone! Thanks for letting me tell my story, I hope I can someday write a happy tale!

E-mail Tanya: [email protected]

The tale of...Beth (May 2004)

I'm a 26 year-old female from Lancashire in the UK and have suffered from IBS for the last six years. The worst part of it, I find, is hearing my own voice complaining on a daily basis and feeling like no-one believes me. It's annoying when doctors say 'cut out the wheat', or 'cut out the dairy'! Don't you think we've tried cutting out every food group under the sun?

No matter what I eat, or don't eat, I wake up to instant nausea followed by diarrhea, stomach pains, cramping and bloating. It's amazing that I can still go to the toilet even after I haven't eaten for two whole days, purely because the thought of food makes me want to vomit! I also suffer the other end, constipation, and it's a close call to which is the best to be suffering from.

Does anyone else feel cheesed off by doctors having this huge umbrella called IBS, and anything stomach-related is just put under it? I hate it. My doctor said to me that I 'should be grateful I had IBS and nothing more sinister'! Cheers. Thanks for the empathy. Not!

Well, I suppose I'll just keep analyzing my diet and my lifestyle until I find something, somewhere that ties to this misery called IBS, because you know something? There isn't a doctor out there who wants to know, because it's just IBS!

E-mail Beth: [email protected]

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