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sad tales: women with ibs-d page ten

The tale of...Carol (September 2004)

Well after reading through all the tales I found actually to my relief that I am not alone in this! For the past 15 years (right after a three-month dose of Dioxicilan to treat Lyme disease) IBS struck with a fury. I am convinced it starts with antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in your colon, then continues with a downward slide to all the symptoms we have with it.

My Mom, brother, aunt and grandmother also all had it. For years I was shuffled from doctor to doctor all with the same result, IBS. Finally one doctor said just live with it. I really do think he thought I caused it some way, by eating the wrong things. As you all know when you're down to water and on the toilet you wish they were right there with you!

My now ex-husband really loved eating out, then taking really long drives in the country. It got down to the point my fear of having a accident caused me to have a full blown anxiety attack, heart pounding, sweats, shaking, feeling like I was going to pass out, etc. I would literally have to take Xanax for the nerves it caused. I would get the feeling of wanting to jump out of the car. I really did think I was losing my mind.

When we went in stores I always wanted to use the bathroom (to be safe) and my then husband would get very annoyed at me and would complain he always had to wait around while I wasted time on the throne. I was living on Imodium, and my nerves were so bad I ended up at yet another psychologist.

Of course they all think it is mind over matter! Hah, a pun indeed. Well all I accomplished there was to decide I was better off divorced. I live with my three dogs now and they do not complain about my trips to the three bathrooms in my house, or the one in my shop. I have had the most humiliating accidents, like you all have had, and survived, but it is a lonely disease, one that keeps us pretty isolated.

E-mail Carol: [email protected]

The tale of...Molly (September 2004)

What a relief to find this website. I have been living in fear for a long time. I though there was something seriously wrong with me, not that this isn't serious, but something really serious. I have searched the internet for hours trying to find out what is wrong with me. I am convinced I have IBS.

I have been too scared to go to a doctor, because I though they were going to tell me I was dying. I think everyone's stories may have given me the courage to finally go seek help, although by the sounds of it it may not help. I am 26 years old, and always thought my chronic diarrhea was from my diet. I eat like crap, but recently it has been getting worse.

I have been feeling so sick for the past few years. I had my gallbladder removed when I was 19, and ever since then I have been suffering from really bad diarrhea and stomach cramps, and now lately I have had the pleasure of feeling nauseated every single morning, and no I'm not pregnant.

I always thought it was because of my period, or once again my diet. I have tried to eliminate 'trigger' foods, but that doesn't seem to help either. After reading these stories, I realize that my symptoms are not as severe as some, but still a huge pain in the butt. I can't plan anything ahead of time for fear that my stomach might be a little b***h that day.

It really sucks, because I feel like my life is passing me by. I try not to let it get the best of me, but some days I just cry and cry. My sweet fiance is very understanding, but he doesn't really understand how bad it gets sometimes. And I am too embarrassed to tell him about it completely. I tell him I'm not feeling well and just leave it at that. It has started to get in the way of our sex life. I haven't had any accidents yet, but am terrified that it may happen.

I am convinced that I will find something that will work for me. I used to be such a happy person, and now feel like I have nothing to look forward to. I know this is not true, but I can't help it sometimes. I was actually at Walgreens last night, and found some medicine that is supposed to actually help relieve IBS symptoms, it actually has IBS in the name and I just started them this morning. So time will tell. I really hope they work.

I really miss being able to go out with my friends, and not have to worry about finding the bathroom. I really have a hard time going in public places, but have found that sometimes you just can't help it. I was out with my sister-in-law over the weekend looking at model town homes that she's thinking of buying. I usually carry some Imodium or take it before going out, but that day I was feeling great. No symptoms to speak of, and all of a sudden my belly starts rumbling and cramping and I'm thinking please no.

My sister in law is busy talking to the realtors and I'm thinking to myself we have to go now. So I decide to wonder through the house, and see if I can secretly use a bathroom, there are three. And to my horror, none of them are even usable. So I start the breathing exercises and tell myself it will be OK. I start sweating and shaking and finally tell her we have to go. I'm not feeling well.

So I tell her I have to pee really bad, and we need to stop at a gas station. To my absolute horror once again, she missed the turn for the first one, and we had to wait for 10 miles for the next one, with lots of stop lights in between. Thank God I made it, but it was really close. And I felt so sick and scared, I just cried. When I finally came out, she was like feeling better? And all I could do was mumble there was a long line.

Why am I so embarrassed to talk about this problem? I realize now that it is a widespread problem, and affects far more people than I realized. But it is a personal thing, and I have a hard time telling people sometimes I have problems controlling my bowels.

Anyway, it helps so much to know that I am not the only person in the world suffering from this terrible illness. I hope someday there will be some answers for us. I really hope this new medicine works for me, or at least even controls it somewhat.

Please feel free to e-mail me. I am feeling really lonely, as people have stopped asking me out, because I rarely go anymore or end up cancelling at the last minute. It is a sad thing, and I think support from other people suffering might put a smile on my face. Thanks! Stay strong everyone, and God bless!

E-mail Molly: [email protected]com

The tale of...Tanya (September 2004)

My name is Tanya, and I have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, I'm sure all of you know it as IBS, or constantly having diarrhea. I also am suffering from depression and panic attacks because of IBS. I am 22 years old and married for three years with a beautiful daughter.

I'm sick of the constant pain, the washed-out feeling, the weakness, the fact that it makes me feel disgusting and depressed. I have lost my job as a medical assistant because of my illness. I was always showing up late, having accidents on the way to work and having to go home, clean up and change. As a grown woman I never thought I'd have an accident on myself. I think when that started to happen, is when I knew I had hit the bottom, and I was disgusted with myself. My boss, a doctor, told me I should take a leave of absence. Well over a year later I'm still absent.

My relationship with my husband is suffering because of me. We do not make love like we used to. In the middle of it I have to go to the bathroom, or I'm in too much pain to even do it. Not to mention how very sexy I feel when I have diarrhea all day and my ass is just on fire, and sore as can be. And I think...how can he want to have sex with me? How does he think I'm attractive?

I cannot play with my daughter like I used to be able to. We'd go swimming and shopping on little vacations. I'd play with her, go on bike rides and to the zoo. Not anymore and that just kills me. I don't want to just sit by and watch her grow up, I want to be a part of it, make the memories with her so she can say when she grows up, 'Mom, remember when we did this' and not 'Remember when I did this'.

My life has totally been turned upside down. My husband and I went from two incomes down to one, and of course the medical expenses are always rising. I used to love to shop and go out to dinner and to the bars with my girl friends and/or husband, but now I can't do that because we have to save money to pay for all my medical bills and prescriptions.

About prescriptions - I think I have been on every single possible pill that they have made and are experimenting with. From Lotronex, which has been taken off the market in 2000 and once again put back on, to Oxycotin to help with the pain and to constipate me, but I cannot even function when I take it. I go to my gastroenterologist about five to seven times a month, and since I have been diagnosed I have been hospitalized about 46 times. Now that is a lot of money and timed I have wasted. I say I have wasted it because I have just gotten worse.

So far that is my story - no happy ending and unfortunately I don't see one in sight. I don't want sympathy. I wrote this mainly to help me and to let all you other women know out there that you are not alone. I also wanted to write this because I want people who don't have this horrible illness to read it and put themselves in my shoes, or your shoes and see how they would feel. I am not trying to be bitter, but over time I have become sick of people I know saying it is in my head or 'pop a few Imodium and get over it.'

E-mail Tanya: [email protected]

The tale of ...Wendy (September 2004)

Pretty much like everyone else, my first IBS symptoms appeared when I was a young teenager - 7th or 8th grade I believe to be exact. At the time, I only experienced the mind-numbing pain, cramps, and diarrhea if I went for a run too soon after eating or drinking anything. I would be around two blocks from home (well, it was a country road, so to my best estimate) where the pain I started feeling slightly earlier in the run (which I would try to ignore) would get so bad I would have to stop and would then painfully walk in slow-motion to the house - desperate to get to the loo.

If I remember correctly, up until the time I had my first (and only) child at age 26, I only felt this horrible pain (cramps, diarrhea) because of eating or drinking too soon before exercising, so I would usually try to wait a while before exercising to avoid this, but other times I would become impatient and of course suffer the consequences. I could deal with it though.

Then I had a child and I think the pressure of the child on my already sensitive bowels/intestines made the problem much worse. Ever since then, I have had horrible gas problems, bloating, much more painful cramps, and alternating diarrhea with constipation. Now the IBS symptoms happen whether I am exercising too soon after eating or not.

The problem has worsened over the past seven years (I'm 33 now) - back in January 1997 (four months after having my child) I ended up in the ER - which did not sit well with me because I had not been on my new job long enough to qualify for health insurance and of course I ended up having to pay the exorbitant cost on my own, for what I call 'not much help.'

I ended up waiting two hours to be seen by the doctor - by that time the pain had mysteriously disappeared. I told him I was having extreme pain in the right side of my abdomen - he ruled out what it wasn't and told me it was a problem possibly with the area where my small and large intestine join (splenix I believe), but didn't offer any advice or medication.

After that, nothing major ever happened that painful so I went on living - never went to see a doctor to tell him I had periodic IBS and I needed help (I diagnosed it myself), but the last two years I have had several severe instances where the IBS symptoms would just pop up out of the blue it would seem.

I am never sure what brings them on - sometimes I can eat certain foods, other times it seems I can't. I love to cook and love eating a large variety of foods, especially spicy ones, so I cannot live off of just bland foods. I hope it is not spicy foods that affect me - I don't know - I used to eat them all the time with no effect. I don't eat much dairy, though now I eat yogurt as I heard it adds good bacteria back into your intestines - not sure if it works yet.

Last summer on a vacation with my friend in Izmir, Turkey, I had the worst stomach cramps for a whole week, which had a negative impact on my vacation (I thought it was from the fish I ate the night before, not sure). Then soon after that I think got food poisoning at the Taco Bell I ate at on the Tuzla army base in Bosnia because within 30 minutes I was in severe pain.

I went to the doctor on camp (I was in Camp Sarajevo - I am in the Navy Reserves and volunteered for two missions in Yugoslavia) and as I lay there on the table she asked me if I had a lot of gas as she prodded my abdomen - it's like, what do you think? She thought it was just gas-related even though I tried to tell her it was most likely food poisoning. She gave me some mild chewable tablets and that was it! They didn't work all that well, but the pain did subside in a week.

Since then I have had other incidents - another this past June, where I went to another army doctor (I thought it was related to my reproductive parts). He did a pregnancy test, I had the sonogram done, blood tests, an internal vagina exam, etc - nothing, so I left. I then realized it was IBS!

I didn't think so before since my periods had become erratic, but it turns out that was not related to the pains I was experiencing. I told him so upon a return visit to medical to out-process and he just wrote probably IBS. I definitely think doctors do not think of IBS as serious - as many of you have mentioned - they should walk in our shoes for a day when we are feeling intense pain and I guarantee you they would have some medicine that would work (and as most doctors are men and most cases of IBS are with women, it's no wonder...)

And to end this - just last night or rather at five o'clock in the morning - I woke up with these incredible cramps - painful - so painful I kept saying 'let me be,' and 'I hate pain.' So I have no advice on what works, but I am going to check out the happy tales next - so I am hopeful!

E-mail Wendy: [email protected]

The tale of...Angela (3 September 2004)

I'm Angela, and I'm 26. It all started in May 1998. I had watched my very close auntie die in hospital and about two months before in March I had a bad water infection and after that I kept getting them all the time and had problems with my bowels. I got sent for a scan the year after and they found nothing wrong. I kept getting water infections, it was like I needed the toilet all the time.

I tried some medicine and after a while that didn't work so I tried Colofac. Last year I had a bad pain in my right-hand side which every time I had sex really hurt, so I had another scan and that didn't show anything. I told the doctors about my bowels and the doctor said I had IBS, but I was still bloated and looked about six months pregnant.

I saw an advert for food testing and had a food test done, and now I stick to what I've been told to eat. But it's hard to find something to eat and it's even harder going out for something to eat.

I've have found that my periods are very irregular and I'm very moody. My partner and I have been trying for a baby but nothing's happened at the moment, and I wondered if it's my IBS that's causing my irregular periods. Has anybody got the same problem?

E-mail Angela: [email protected]

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