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sad tales: women with ibs-d page twenty-one

The tale of...Kim (12 October 2007)

I have suffered from IBS since I was 18, when my gallbladder was removed. I am now 39 and it only seems to get worse as the years go by. I recently applied for disability but was turned down flat. The rejection letter I received said that due to my age and my education that I should be able to find a job doing something. I don't understand what my age and my education has to do with the cramps or the endless bathroom trips I endure every single day.

I plan to appeal this as soon as possible. I never have understood why people think IBS. isn't disabling. I also have a bad back but I could still work if that was my only problem. I have had so many jobs it isn't funny. But they all end the same way, either I get fired because I can't fulfill the job's requirements because I'm in the bathroom too much, or I end up having to quit because I get so sick I can't even go into work and miss too many days. If anyone has applied for disability because of IBS I would love to hear your story.

E-mail Kim: [email protected]

The tale of...Liz (7 February 2008)

I am a 25 year-old woman who has been suffering from IBS-D and sometimes C for about one year now. I just about cried when I came across this website, because it is really comforting to read other people's stories and know that I am not alone out there, which I feel like I am a lot. I think the most frustrating thing for me is that no-one seems to understand. I get the 'Well, why aren't you going to your doctor?' comments all the time...and I do go to my doctor, I have been to my doctor about five times due to this, and I am finally seeing a specialist next week.

My story begins on an airplane ride home from the Dominican Republic. Now, I am aware of the fact that the food and water down in the Caribbean can cause diarrhea in many people, especially upon their return home, but this was my first real attack. We had just landed in Boston and everyone was standing in the aisle waiting to get off the plane, when all of a sudden I got these severe abdominal cramps that I had never felt before.

There was no way I was going to make it, so I told the stewardess to please move people out of the aisle so I could get to the bathroom. It was the most embarrassing moment of my life, these planes are small, and since everyone saw me run to the bathroom I'm sure many of them heard what was going on. I had severe diarrhea, and when it finally stopped I walked out to an empty plane with just the pilot waiting for me; absolutely mortifying.

Anyway, throughout the whole time in customs my stomach was 'on fire' as I described it to my friends. When I finally got home I had diarrhea all night. The next day I went to my doctor to make sure it wasn't a parasite or food poisoning from my trip. They did a number of tests and everything came out negative.

Ever since then, every time I ate dairy or drank alcohol I would have an attack. So I thought well, maybe I am lactose intolerant, and I am just getting too old to handle liquor. But the symptoms got worse, and I finally decided to see my doctor. She told me to start out by taking fiber pills four times a day. It helped for about two weeks; I felt on top of the world. I had no diarrhea, and had a nice solid healthy BM three times a day. I thought wow, maybe this is finally under control. But after two weeks of bliss, it all came back.

But the problem is, I have no idea when these attacks will come on. I could be driving, at work, walking my dog, at the movies and bam, I get diarrhea. It is awful. It has taken control of my life, because there are some weekends when I can't go out with friends because I am in so much pain, and would rather sit at home alone than go out and risk having an attack in public. It has completely prevented me from having any sort of dating life. The last thing you want is to have an attack on a date...so embarrassing. There are times when I am afraid I will lose my job because I have gone home sick or called out.

I have never tried any medications, but I am willing to try anything that may give me my life back. I am just happy that there is this website where I can share my story and get support!

E-mail Liz: [email protected]

The tale of...Alecia (25 February 2008)

I've had IBS for as long as I can remember, so let's say 30 years, as I am now 30 and was basically born with GI problems. I suffered through constipation in childhood (was hospitalized for it at one point) as well as diarrhea (hospitalized for that and accused, at the age of 10, of being anorexic...though at fault were the doctors that had me on four tablespoons of mineral oil each day).

My problems, as I got older, caused hemorrhoids (I had to have surgery...can definitely say you should get banding and have them treated as opposed to leaving them and having them go necrotic like I did!) and other problems. As I've matured the constipation is less frequent - I can go a week without going, but it always resolves in diarrhea now.

I've got two children, and I suffered wicked constipation through my first pregnancy (and a blocked bowel from iron pills) and experienced pre-term labor as a result (though I did carry to term). With the second pregnancy I had diarrhea the whole time...I spent two hours on the toilet the day before my second boy was born and had a brutal bout again two days after he was born.

My youngest always wanted to be with me, so even in the middle of the night we'd be found in the bathroom with him in his bouncy chair or cot (or, when the urge was instant, in a pile of towels thrown onto the floor to keep him comfy). I'm lucky that my hubby is quite understanding. He has never really suffered anything like this, but he was on high dose antibiotics once so did have one day where it was like having IBS.

My most recent symptoms are severe pain across my back at the bottom of the ribs, which is followed by brutal diarrhea within the hour. I get bloating, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas (hubby never farts...I'm a total fart factory and it is rarely controllable), heartburn...all that good stuff.

So now the embarrassing part...For my 30th birthday hubby decided to get me a gift certificate for a fine dining restaurant. We got a sitter (thank goodness for grandparents!) and headed out for a 5pm dinner. It was a wonderful place. Had my ginger ale, then we had a bruschetta appetizer. It was great! I ordered a small steak, mushrooms, roasted potatoes and veggies.

I got about a quarter of the way through the meal when the nausea hit. I made a quick run to the bathroom (I thought if I stood up for a few minutes it might pass). Made it back to the table after five minutes (the place was not busy so it was very obvious where I was). Ate a couple more bites, and then the pain started. Told hubby quietly what was going on and that we needed to get home ASAP. Waiter came and we asked to have them box up the leftovers as well as dessert. Unfortunately I then had to make a run again.

I spent 20 minutes in the bathroom (wow...those fine dining places have amazing bathrooms! The weird thing was that the toilet kept flushing on auto-flush every minute or so). When I finally made it back to the table hubby was sitting there with our boxed-up food and we paid and left. They kept looking at me and I found out after that they'd asked hubby if I was OK and if the food was making me sick! He said he told them I'd been feeling unwell all day.

So my big birthday dinner, which cost us over $100 (for two people who don't drink that is a huge bill...especially when only one of us can work full-time!) turned into an embarrassing experience and I'm mortified. I made it the 10-minute drive home and went again...then ate dessert and was fine the rest of the day.

I hate my IBS! It factors into everything to the point that I always make sure we've got extra kid diapers in the car and a garbage bag and roll of toilet paper in case I have an accident! Hubby really wants to go camping and I'm afraid to because of being too far from the bathroom.

E-mail: [email protected]

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