Monday, December 28, 2009

Flying & IBS

With everything that has happened the past few days, flying looks like it's completely out of the question for me (and many other people) now.

I've had a really hard time flying in the past because of simple math. There are about 100 people to every bathroom.

When I've flown in the past, I make sure to not eat anything before I get on the flight. If it's an early morning flight, I don't eat anything (except maybe cereal) the night before. I basically want to have the smallest chance of having an upset stomach during the flight. Luckily, the flights I take are two and a half hours max. That's as long as I can last before my nerves get the best of me and start causing me problems.

I get anxious flying in planes for a few reasons. In the years following 9/11, I became more & more afraid of flying. I've been told that it is more dangerous to drive than it is to fly, statistically, but statistics mean nothing when you're part of that small percentage on the flight where something happens. For whatever reason, my mind chooses to focus on that when I'm flying. Obviously, the anxiety causes tons of stress and the stress makes my insides go nuts. Especially when I'm on a plane with two bathrooms.

The only thing that allows me to get on the plane in the first place and what keeps me sane once I'm on it is knowing that I CAN use the bathroom if I really need to. With the apparent new restrictions for air travel, that would not be possible. I've been reading that people are required to stay in their seats an hour before the plane lands. AN HOUR?!? A full hour? Do they have any idea how long that can be for someone with diarrhea? That would be an eternity! What happens if they have an accident in their seat? Would they be required to stay there until the plane lands?

If I were flying, already anxious, and then stranded in my seat for a whole hour at the end of the flight, there's no way I'd last.

I also read somewhere that you're no longer allowed to have electronics or anything on your lap for the last hour (or maybe even the whole flight? I read different stories). My iPod is the only thing that keeps my mind focused while I'm in the air. If I don't have my tunes or a book to keep my mind off everything happening around/below me, I would be a wreck.

With all of that said, there is absolutely no way I'll ever be able to fly in the future. If the regulations are changed back to being more relaxed, there is a better chance I will go up in the air again. The people making these rules up really need to understand that restricting people to their seats for the last hour won't do anything to stop everything that has happened. It will only hurt the law abiding passengers. As I've read, the passengers have been the ones who got out of their seats to try to stop the terrorists from harming them. This regulation would keep them from doing that! They also need to think about people with bowel/urinary issues. So many people will either have to avoid air travel or...I dunno...wear diapers?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So much discomfort

I'm in the middle of my finals week right now, so I know a lot of what I'm feeling probably won't stick around for very long but for the past 2-3 weeks I have been feeling so much discomfort. I usually feel it right after I finish a meal.

You know the feeling you get after having a huge meal? I think they call Well, I haven't felt that since this round of IBS started. I get something similar to a full feeling but it's more just bloating and tons of nasty gurgles. But lately it's been the bloating, nasty gurgles AND pain. When I was younger, the pain would feel like something had stuck a baseball in the middle of my belly and was just rolling it around, but now it's more of a generalized pressure type pain. I feel like my intestines are going to burst or something. So now, after finishing a meal, I have to sit in one position while my insides figure it out.

I tend to think it's just gas, but the gas pain I get is usually sharp and stabbing and doesn't last this long. It does help when I burp or pass gas another way ;) however.

Has anyone experienced this type of discomfort after eating? What do you do to get rid of it? GasX just isn't doing the job...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Laying off the pizza for a while

WARNING: This post is more graphic than some of you may be ready for...

 Alexey and I have found some really good frozen pizzas. They're made by Freschetta and are just really, really good. Even better than Pizza Hut- yes, it's possible! ;)

Anyway, we split a pizza one to two times a week and by split I mean he has two thirds of the pizza and I eat the rest. That's usually about 3-4 pieces. I can't usually eat that much, but I definitely try. In the past, I have gotten some heartburn from it and definitely a ton of gas build up, but it's never made me sick. Last night was the first time it did.

We decided on pizza as kind of a last minute thing and he popped them in the oven. A little more than 20 minutes later, the timer went off and I yelled, "Ten more minutes" as I always do. He said that it had already been in the oven for 23 minutes and that it would be overcooked if he left it in for longer. With those pizzas I always like them to cook for as close to 30 minutes as we can get without them starting to burn. The dough doesn't ever cook all the way through and that of course makes me very nervous.

Well the one last night looked especially undercooked, but lately I have been trying to work on being normal. Normal people wouldn't have even looked at the pizza let alone stop eating it just because it looks doughy. So I trudged on. It even tasted especially doughy, but I finished three pieces. Immediately after I finished the last piece, my stomach felt extremely bloated. I had to stand up it hurt so bad. When I tried to sit down, I literally felt like my stomach was going to explode. It was also very tender to the touch.

Then out of nowhere came the urgency, so I ran up to the bathroom. The first time was what I call a "normal poo." But afterward I didn't feel any better like I usually do. I got into bed and started up the heating pad. I kept trying to burp to relieve some of the gas pressure and even took two GasX. Nothing seemed to work. Then again- the urgency. Now I should mention that I haven't felt the urgency in a VERY long time. When I was at my sickest point, that was the absolute worst symptom for me after nausea. The feeling of needing to get to a restroom with no time to spare is horrible, and experiencing it out of nowhere in a crowded place or somewhere you can't leave quickly is terrifying. I would constantly worry about when I'd have the next feeling of urgency.

Since the only thing I had to do last night was study, it wasn't too horrible and I could stay in bed right next to my bathroom. The second feeling of urgency was followed by very bad diarrhea and I started to worry that the pizza had been spoiled. The only thing that made me stray away from that idea was that Alexey wasn't sick at all. But by the second stool, I was shaking uncontrollably and burning up- then I'd go completely cold. I was also pretty nauseous.

I got a wash cloth out and wet it down with cold water. My mom taught me when I was little that a cool wash cloth on the upper lip can make you feel less nauseous. It has always worked for me, and it definitely did last night. I was so worried that I was about to repeat the night that made my second wave of IBS begin- the night when I got food poisoning 2 years ago. I was having the same symptoms- immediate diarrhea, shaking, nausea, urgency. The only difference was that I was in my own house, and had plenty of medicine to help me fight whatever it may have been.

I also had my boy to help me through it. He just sat on the floor so he didn't rock the bed and got me everything I needed. About 30 minutes after it all began I got so nauseous that I actually went into the bathroom, tied back my hair, and opened the toilet up. If you don't know me, you wouldn't know that this was VERY hard for me to do. I have a phobia of vomit and vomiting is one of the absolute worst things that could every happen to me. I'd almost want to die before throwing up. Seriously...that's how bad it is.

Anyway, I stood in there trying to calm myself down, breathing in, breathing out, focusing on how badly I didn't want to be sick, trying to talk myself out of being sick at all. I was thinking about how nothing was happening to Alexey, so it couldn't be food poisoning. Then the stupid side of me would come back with the argument that Alexey has a stomach of steel and I definitely do not. Either way, I walked out of the bathroom less nauseous and didn't end up throwing up. Whew!

I laid back in bed and tried to continue calming myself. The heating pad seemed to help me a lot. Eventually another wave of urgency came, and I had to jump up and run to the bathroom. I'll just say that it was very embarrassing that time since Alexey was sitting on the other side of the door. But when I came out he didn't look at me like I was a freak or like anything had happened. He is so amazing when it comes to dealing with my IBS symptoms, and knowing just what to say/do to help me through it.

After that last round of diarrhea, I was just nauseous and still shaking, but after a couple of hours it faded away and I was able to relax a little bit. I still didn't fall asleep until 3am because I was nervous and couldn't really lay flat without feeling even more sick. I am very thankful that I was not only able to get through it without throwing up, but also that I only had to take GasX.

I used to grab Pepto and Immodium as soon as I would have any diarrhea at all, but that always led to constipation for the next few days, followed by diarrhea again when the constipation finally ended. It was such a vicious cycle, and I didn't want to throw myself back into that at all. I'm hoping that this incident happened just because the dough wasn't cook as thoroughly as it should have been and that I can start eating pizza again when I'm brave enough to try it. I hate it so much when foods I've eaten for months with no problems suddenly cause me to have an episode. I had just said to my mom earlier that day that I thought I was finally regaining control of my life and not living it in fear of what food was going to hurt me and make me sick again. All I ate today was cereal because I didn't want to get sick again. I am so sick of cereal. Just when I think I'm in the control, my body steps in to remind me how much of a joke that really is.