Sunday, December 26, 2010

IBS thoughts

I'm sitting here eating breakfast, and I just realized what I was thinking about.  I was thinking about all of the things I had left to do to get ready for work and worrying about how much time I have left after all that to go to the bathroom. Do normal people worry about things like that?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rough stretch

The past couple of weeks (or is it months? Time has been flying by lately) have not been easy. While there have been some great days, most of them just seem to be rotten.

I feel like I'm getting back to the old days where simple food that I've previously had no problems with rip me apart. I'm back down to 125. Actually, when I weighed myself last night I was 124.6. :( I'll just pretend I never saw that because it depresses me. I swear it seems like yesterday when I had decided I was going to start cooking for myself instead of sticking to my staple foods. Now, not only can I not handle the meals I was cooking, I can hardly even handle my staple foods.

I've been eating mostly cereal the past couple of weeks with a few other meals thrown in there when I feel like I can handle it. A huge part of the cause seems to be stress. Other than random changes in my body's chemistry, that's all I can think of that could have changed. I just finished my last final today, so hopefully that helps.

I'm still going to my therapist and beginning CBT; I can't wait to see if that can really help me. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it does! I just can't deal with this downward progression in health and weight...there's only so much I can lose before I start feeling like a zombie all the time again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The last few days

The last few days have been anything but pleasant. I either a) ate something really wrong, b) got food poisoning or c) caught the stomach bug that's been going around.

It all started Thursday afternoon when I had cheese dip & chips then followed it with a PopTart. Yes, I know how foolish this was, but I was craving each thing & thought I'd reward myself by giving into my cravings. It did not turn out to be a reward whatsoever.

I spent most of the evening in the bathroom until the Pepto and Imodium kicked in. After that I felt so nauseous that I had my doctor call in an antiemetic for me. The nurse on the phone said that a stomach bug was going around (which I already knew) and tried to tell me to just stay hydrated and eat a bland diet. I then told her that I have a phobia of vomit, and asked her to please call in some medicine for me. Luckily, the doctor did & I got a little piece of mind.

I didn't end up having to use it, but just knowing it was there in case I needed helped calm my nerves at least. Part of the difficulty with IBS is never knowing just what causes your symptoms. I've had that cheese dip before & never had problems. Granted, it was about a week old & I might have had a bit much; adding a PopTart on top of it probably didn't help either. But it was just so sudden and severe that I can't say it was entirely due to IBS. So my poor boyfriend has been upset since it started because I've been avoiding him, just to avoid giving him anything I might have.

One good thing about the last couple days is that I only lost 2 pounds instead of my normal 5! I'm also recovering pretty well & have already started eating normally again with only minimal stomach upset. Usually after episodes or sicknesses it takes my body a lot longer to get back to normal. Let's hope it continues this way so I can be well for finals!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving- IBS style

This year I decided I was going to try a little bit of everything- except the sweet potatoes, blech. I put a little bit of everything on my plate, a lot of mashed potatoes & gravy, and started eating.

I've had a few rough days. It's the time of the month right now and, like always, it's messing with my IBS, so I knew I had to take it a little slow. I'm not sure if I was just really nervous about eating normal food that I don't usually have or what, but about 5 bites in I started feeling pretty bad. Burning in my lower intestines, urgency, bloating & a little nausea. Luckily A was there to keep me calm, and I was able to just sit there for about half an hour while everyone else finished eating. After that, my stomach just continued to be really uneasy for the rest of the day.

I ended up having to skip the last of 4 houses we were supposed to aunt Lisa's where my dad's family was having Thanksgiving. This absolutely sucked because my uncle's family was in town- I hardly ever get to see them & hadn't seen them since my grandma's funeral earlier this year.

Needless to say, I spent the evening on the couch with my heating pad going. This morning I woke up better, but my stomach has still been pretty iffy all day long.

Somehow, even with only eating what little I did, I still gained a pound! Now if only I could keep it on :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who are you?

Are you the person you thought you'd be? Are you the person you want to be? Do you even recognize yourself? When you make decisions about what you eat, what you do, etc do you feel like it's you who's making the decisions?

Or do you feel like you don't know the person who lives inside your skin? Are you ashamed of how you act? Of how you let food control your life? Do you hate that you let so many things that are out of your control make your decisions for you?

I've been asking myself these questions a lot lately. I recently started seeing a therapist (and abruptly stopped going as soon as I realized how much of my budget was dedicated to her). Regardless of that, she helped me realize something. I'm so unhappy with my life now because I'm living it trying to get back my life from 5 years ago. The one when my friends would stop by unannounced, I'd jump in the car not asking where we were going or when we'd be back. The one when I didn't stop to check my purse before I left to make sure I had my miniature pharmacy inside. The one where I ate way too much pizza & fried food. The one when I didn't EVER have diarrhea. When fear didn't control my life. When traveling was fun & not absolutely terrifying. When I didn't have to map out escapes to the bathroom everywhere I went. When I was not afraid of being around people. When I wasn't afraid of being around sick people because I might catch what they had & begin the cycle of intense IBS symptoms all over again. When I stopped & got fast food on my way home because I didn't have time to make dinner. When I ate things other than rice, cereal & pasta. When I wasn't a hermit because I felt like I fit in with everyone else & didn't have to plan my escape the moment I made plans anywhere with anyone. When I could stress without it affecting my bowels. When I made it to work every single day & never called out sick. When I felt good. When I was happy.

I miss my past SO much it's unbearable sometimes. I occasionally think about it while curled up in fetal position in bed with a box of Kleenex. It hurts to think about it...about how good I had it. Part of the reason I think I hold on to my long-lost friends from that time so much is because they remind me of the time when I knew myself. When I felt like I was the one controlling my life.

Sure, I make my own decisions, so technically I am the one in control. My response to people that say this? Easy for you to say. A mother can make her own decisions, but can she ever really make the decisions she'd like to make & go back to living her life like she did before she had kids? Can she lay on the couch all day in her PJs watching Lifetime, only getting up to get some cereal for herself? Can she have wild sex on the kitchen table any time she wants? No. Just like me, something has changed her life. The difference here is that she obviously chose to have children & I did not choose to have IBS, but we're very similar. I can't live my life like I want to because something is holding me back. I could choose to eat 3 slices of pizza just because I can, but it's definitely not in the best interest of my IBS.

There's what I think of as a little green monster living inside of me, manipulating my every move. Almost everything I do revolves around my IBS. Ok...studying, not so much. But I skip class because of IBS, I choose my meals based on IBS, I sleep with my heating pad every single night because of it, I don't make plans with anyone because of it, I take my own car everywhere instead of catching rides with others because of it, I'm not intimate very often with my boyfriend because of it, etc etc etc.

I'm trying to take back control of my life little by little. My first step was eating chicken. I have feared chicken since the day it gave me food poisoning & triggered the last 4 or so years of this IBS cycle. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to regain control, but it will happen. I refuse to live the rest of my life not feeling like my own self when I make decisions. I don't want to resent myself. I don't want to hate myself.

Do you feel like you know who you are? Or does your little green monster rule your life too?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gaining weight & ending the fear

Obligatory "I'm such a bad blogger" paragraph! School has been keeping me ridiculously busy, I've taken on almost double the hours I've been working, and well, I guess I just didn't really know what else to say on here.

You know how when you go out somewhere & get really bad service? What do you want to do when you get home? Give the restaurant a really bad rating & a critical review, of course! No? Well, maybe that's just me. What I'm saying is that when things are good, there's not much to say. But when they're bad, there just isn't even enough room to get everything out! Since I've been feeling better, I just didn't really know what to post about on this blog.

On my other blog, I've been participating in Nablopomo which has taught me to pull topics out of my ass when I have absolutely nothing to talk about. Who benefits here, you guys, of course! ;)

Ok, to the actual post. If you're like me you have a bad relationship with food. You might even fear it like I do. I just cross posted a post (see below this one) I wrote for my other blog about worry. As I eat, I'm constantly worrying about what's going to happen once the food starts getting digested. Will my body be able to handle it? Am I going to have to rush to find a bathroom soon? The thoughts are endless. Wait, check that- they WERE endless. But, honestly, after reading only half of this book, I worry so much less about how the food's going to affect me & I know, like a normal person. The thoughts are still in the back of my mind, but I don't let them control how I eat.

This fear of food has had some pretty bad effects on my health. Since this bout with IBS started, I've lost 15-20 pounds that I haven't been able to put back on. At the end of last semester, I was feeling so weak & kind of losing hope of ever feeling normal again. That's when I decided to go see a nutritionist. Obviously, after fearing food for almost 4 years, I'd forgotten how to eat like a normal person. As hard as I was trying to put the weight I had lost back on, I just couldn't do it. I mean- what is there to eat other than cereal, rice & pasta? I sure as hell couldn't remember.

Seeing the nutritionist might have been my best decision in the past 4 years. She gave me two measly pieces of paper that have changed my life. I'm now only 5 pounds away from where I want to be & I feel great! She gave me a simple list of foods (you can find it here- it's a link to a PDF file that you can download) grouped by type that are calorie dense. I found that I'd been eating the same types of food, but I'd been choosing the ones with hardly any calories. I started picking foods that I knew weren't trigger foods from this list & tracking my progress on Calorie Counter.

Even if you're not trying to gain weight, there are some great options on here to remind you about healthy foods to try out. Try to eat as big of a variety from this list as you can to help train yourself to eat normally again & develop a healthy relationship with food. I've been really working hard at trying to put an end to my fear of food & gaining weight since May, and it's been tough. After eating like I did for so long, it took a while to get to the point where I could open the pantry & pull out something I'd never tried before instead of just reaching for the cereal.

You might be at the point I was just a year or two ago. You might feel like there's absolutely no hope. That you're going to be stuck at home, next to your bathroom, just in case. Or that you're going to die eating only cereal & rice. One good thing about IBS is that it usually cycles. As bad as it might be now, it will probably get better. Oh great, now I sound like those movies- "It gets better," but it really does. Maybe in a few years I'll feel like absolute shit again & basically be chained to my bed, but I'm not going down without a fight again.

I really hope you guys can take something away from that food list like I did. And seriously, if you feel any type of stress when you eat, buy that book & do the exercises inside. If you don't have the money right now, at least just start a worry journal. Simply writing down every single thing I worried about (you can bet my hand cramped up quite often) made me realize how pointless it all is- completely unproductive worry- & that it's only making things worse.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I tweeted last week about a book I bought that is all about controlling your worry. It might be the best damn purchase I've ever made.

I'm about halfway through it right now, and I've already cut my worrying in half. If you're a chronic worrier, you know how bothersome it can get. It seemed like I was always amped up and so tense. I'd constantly have thoughts going through my head that would make me anxious. Don't get turned off by that word- anxious.

When I first went to see this therapist, she called what I was feeling "anxiety." Everyone knows that there's a stigma attached to anxiety, so I kind of pushed it away and ignored her. I kept calling it stressed instead of anxious. She must have noticed this and pulled out her DSM IV. Welp- it's definitely anxiety. Whatever it's called doesn't matter. I feel how I feel and that's that.

Anyway, since she suggested these books (there's a stress one too), I decided to order them. I started the one about worry the first day I got it. It has a lot of exercises to help you implement what you're learning. One of the first things it has you do is start a worry journal. I started keeping mine on Google Calendar so I could track it more easily and not have to dig out a notebook every time I worried.

I was SHOCKED after the first day. I worry so much more than I had realized! The first step to decreasing my worry and eventually my stress level was just being aware of how much it happens. The next step was actively thinking about what I was worrying about- was it productive or unproductive? Almost all of my worry was unproductive and completely worthless.

I'm now getting to the part where it starts telling me how to control my worry, and I'm really excited. I can't believe how calm I feel compared to this time last week. The best thing about it is that you don't even need to see a therapist to stop worrying. This book, as long as you really do the exercises, can help you decrease your worrying.

If you ever wish you could just shut your brain off for a second or that you could worry less, this book is definitely something to think about. It's cheap- about $11 and about 140 pages long. Here's a link, or just ask me if you can borrow it when I'm done.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

About my last post

I got bored (surprise) and was reading back through my last post. I realize now that I may have been a bit too optimistic while writing it.

While stress is a causative factor when it comes to symptoms, it's not the only one. A few years ago, when I had just been accepted to pharmacy school, I didn't have near as much stress as I do now. Life was almost easy, but I still was constantly sick. Sometimes I was too sick to even get out of bed except for when I'd go to the bathroom. Even if I had said "to hell with it" back then, it wouldn't have mattered- I'd have still been sick as hell.

Trying to not worry about it and almost ignore it has helped some, but I have noticed I'm still avoiding my trigger foods. So even though it may feel like I've been able to forget about it lately, my subconscious is still very aware and is kind of managing things on another level so that I don't always realize.

I find it very easy to be optimistic when I am feeling good, so now that I'm not feeling so great I kind of got a wake up call. This disease is so up and down and apparently I let my mind get ahead of itself and think, "I'm feeling good! Managing this disease is as easy as just forgetting about it!" If I would have read a post like my last one during one of my bad weeks I probably would have unsubscribed if the poster thought that it was as easy as that! I sure hope I didn't lose any of you in my "blinded by optimism" post :D While stressing less about IBS may help decrease some of the symptoms, it's not going to make you feel 100% well.

Hope you all have a great week...fall is here!

Monday, August 30, 2010

School + stress = NO worsening of symptoms?!

Obviously school has started up again, but this semester has surprised me as far as my IBS symptoms go. Usually as I start to get stressed, my worst symptoms get even worse and make me absolutely miserable.

While I have had a bit of a problem getting out of the house for my early classes, this is nothing new for me. I've never been a morning person, and school just makes this obvious. Luckily, I hardly ever had to get up early during the summer, so I just didn't have to deal with my symptoms. But I've made it to every class and so far haven't spent any "sick" days/nights in bed.

This next part may sound a bit crazy to some of you. I honestly think the reason I'm feeling better is because I said to hell with it! To hell with restricting myself to where I'm basically only eating cereal, to hell with worrying about the consequences of eating, etc. Don't get me wrong- I did NOT go crazy and consume large amounts of pizza, hamburgers, or fried chicken. I'm still making conscious decisions about food, but I'm no longer worrying myself crazy about the specifics of everything. I really think this has decreased my stress and that's what has held off my usual back-to-school symptom spike.

You know how that mosquito bite can drive you bat shit crazy while you're studying? But when a friend calls with some juicy gossip and you lose yourself in conversation- what happens? You completely forget about the incessant itch. That's my reasoning here. I'm forcing my problems to the back of my mind. As I said before, this does not mean I think I've wished away my IBS or anything like that. I still have loose stools when I eat certain foods. My intestines still feel like they'll never relax. But I've forced myself to accept this as my new "normal."

As we all know, stress is a huge factor when it comes to our disease. What sense does it make to stress over IBS symptoms? I decided that answer is none at all, and it's paying off! Let's hope this trend continues at least until midterms. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New post!

**Please forgive my grammar/spelling/form...I haven't written for a LONG time**

Something happened a couple of weeks ago that was so exciting...a reader emailed me! I don't have the typical IBS blog. I don't offer you guys very much advice or give you awesome recipes to use like this blog. I mostly just blog about my life and experiences in the hope that someone out there reads it and thinks, "Holy crap! I thought I was the only one who felt that way!" I try to be extremely open & not hold anything back. Anyway, my point is that I'm happy that someone finally read this thing and found they could relate. I really like hearing from readers and other people with IBS.

There are so many of us out there, but very few of us are comfortable enough to really share what's going on with our health. Even though we all have different symptoms, we can all relate.  We're like the depression of GI diseases. Get what I mean? A lot of people didn't used to believe that depression was a legit disease. They thought it was all in their head- that there wasn't a physiological cause for it. Since researchers haven't found a physiological cause for IBS, a lot of people think it's just in our head also or that we're just using it as an excuse.

In my case, I've had a hard time getting my family and acquaintances to believe me. Up until about a year ago I think they actually believed I was anorexic. Because they can't imagine food affecting someone the way it affects me, I had to be anorexic. Why else would anyone avoid food? As for people that are pretty much strangers to me- they feel like they can say whatever they want. (If you haven't read the long version of my skinny rant, click here.) Over the summer I had an internship at a hospital and had one of the craziest things said to me. One of the techs at the hospital actually asked me how I make myself vomit. I just stood there for a second trying to piece together some type of response. All I could get out was, "WHAT?!" His response, "Well you're bulimic, so how do you do it?" I told him I was NOT bulimic, and he said, "Ok, well anorexic then. Whatever." I was fuming mad...I mean so.freaking.mad. Even after I explained why I'm so skinny, he still acted like he didn't believe me.

Now I know that IBS is not as serious as, say, cancer. From what I know, it's not life threatening. However, that does not mean that it's not life altering or that it doesn't seriously decrease my quality of life. A teacher of mine recently suggested that I get in touch with the Service for Students with Disabilities. He suggested this because I had to miss a couple of in class assignment due to being sick and stuck in the bathroom. At first I was completely stunned. Disabled? Me?

When I think of a disabled person, I think of someone without a leg, or someone with a speech disability. I definitely don't think of able-bodied me. But when I started reading through the information on their website, I realized something...and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I am disabled. I have a disease that holds me back from doing things that normal, healthy people can do. Things like getting out of bed the morning after having a slice of pizza and being able to get to class for a test. Or something fun like going on a class float trip.

Having IBS is not having the occasional upset stomach. That happens to normal, healthy people. What happens to us is not normal. We have a disease. I used to back down and say, "Well I have a syndrome...they don't really know what it is." You know what would happen after that? People would respond with, "Oh yeah, that happens to me all the time. It's the fast food curse." While I don't want to sound uppity and respond with, "You have no idea what this is like," that's what I feel like saying. People without IBS don't go around with constant cramps in their stomach, don't get trapped in the bathroom when even loperamide doesn't work, and they don't have to avoid over 1/2 of the foods that make up a normal diet just to feel somewhat like a normal person. They don't avoid going to restaurants. They go out and drink on the weekends. They definitely don't sit around thinking about how they're going to make the word "diarrhea" as socially acceptable as vomit. They eat salad. They eat nuts. They don't have to plan out trips depending on where bathrooms are. What I have is a disease, and I won't deny that ever again.

Scientists haven't figured out what causes IBS (yet), but I'm positive that they will someday. They will find a physiological cause. I even think that IBS will lose it's name and be defined as a set of more descriptive diseases with some common thread. My hope (goal, even) is that people will recognize it as a serious illness even before they find the cause. Hell, if I can make 100 more people realize that it's not ok to laugh and ask, "Your bowels are irritable?!" when I tell them I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I will feel like I've accomplished something.

What I ask of you, reader(s?), is to not be afraid to tell people what having IBS is like. Maybe some of you don't feel as strongly as I do, and you're not sure it's a disease. That's fine. But try to help others understand what we have to go through. Don't take the easy way out and say, "I have a tummy ache." You don't have to tell them that you had uncontrollable, raging diarrhea last night, but at least try to explain it in a slightly more detailed manner so that they can see that's it's something real and something that seriously affects your life. No one else is going to stand up for us and get the ball rolling with IBS research if we're not going to stand behind them. I can't be the only one who thinks it's crazy that after all these years they still have no idea what IBS really is...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finals are over!

And thank god! I'm honestly not sure I could have taken another day. I'm so mentally exhausted it's not even funny. Surprisingly though, the end of the year was actually better than the beginning for once. Usually, I start off the year completely stress free and just sail through the months. Then, finals get here and I FREAK OUT! I can't believe how stupid I was to sail through and slack off so I now have to study super hard to get the grades I want in class.

Well, this semester was different. After losing my grandma, I failed a test and freaked out all semester about it. I literally thought my life was over. But then I was sitting down about two weeks before finals figuring out what I needed to get on the final to pass the class (a C is passing in this class- anything lower is a big fat F...and I'd be set back a whole year). Anyway, I put all my grades into a spreadsheet (this class is very confusing points-wise) and I sat there stunned. There was NO way I only needed a 69/120 to pass the class! So I re-checked everything and sure enough, it was right!

Even though I didn't need to freak out about any of the 5 finals I had, I still stressed a little bit. I mean FIVE big tests in one week is insane. My brain is complete mush right now. My body held up pretty well though. I was stupid and pushed a little too hard a couple of days and paid for it, but it was no where near as bad as when I was stressing out hardcore all semester.

I'm hoping that now that class is over, I can focus on getting myself back into shape- gaining some weight and muscle. I also really need to work on my cardio. Is that how you say it? I never know. All I know is I can only run like a yard before I can't breathe and that's no bueno.

Now I have all the time I need (until my rotation in June) to make all the doctor appointments I want and get a few steps closer to HEALTH. I'm hoping I can accomplish at least that by the time I start school again- just to be a little more healthy than I am now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am so incredibly pessimistic when it comes to my IBS. I learned this after Lindsay blogged about being content about IBS. Then she tweeted and asked us to share something we liked about our IBS. 

It really got me thinking, What do I like about having IBS? I laid in bed that night trying so hard to come up with something positive about having this disease. And when I say hard, I mean HARD! I must have thought about it for a good 2 hours straight. You know what I came up with? Jack shit.

However, I did come up with a boat load of things I hated about having IBS. I thought about everything it had stolen from me in the past few years. Now, this was really bad timing. My boyfriend and I had just had a long discussion earlier that day about things we missed about the way our relationship used to know, before my IBS rared its ugly head again.

So what did I come up with, you ask? Well....
  • I'm no longer able to be "intimate" with my boyfriend like we were before. I mean most days I don't even feel well enough to kiss him! 
  • We used to go on little dates weekly to our favorite restaurants around town. I miss those so much because we also miss out on a lot of the conversation we used to have.
  • Movies are a no go because no matter what (even if I've eaten well) I start to feel sick about halfway through the movie. I think a huge part of that is in my head- I'm nervous about not being able to leave, so I cause symptoms. Either way, movies are out of the picture now.
  • Standing up sucks because I can't eat well enough to maintain my nutrition. Now every time I stand up, I have to stand still for 30 seconds or more so I don't fall over.
  • Cereal, spaghettios, bagels, cereal, spaghettios, bagels, cereal, spaghettios, bagels. UGHHHHH. Enough said?
  • I can't gain any weight. This is not only annoying but also pretty scary. When I have episodes, I tend to lose 5-10 pounds from losing so much water. My weight drops down to scary levels too often. Not to mention, I don't like having shrimpy arms and bony hips. 
  • Constant gassiness. Annoying for obvious reasons- but it also hurts like hell and is extremely uncomfortable. Also, see my first bullet point...
  • It has taken away my social life almost completely. Trying to explain IBS to new people is difficult and embarrassing. Most people don't get it and they end up saying, "Well just have a salad!" Ugh. So now I just avoid social situations so I don't have to explain and feel out of place.
    • Also, has anyone else noticed how social gatherings ALWAYS involve food and/or alcoholic drinks? IBS nightmare!
  • I used to be the one everyone depended on. I'd cover shifts, always show up, always show up on time, and never have to call in to work. Now I need my shifts covered, have to cancel on plans all the time, show up to things late because of unexpected stomach problems, and call in to work so often. I hate that. It makes me feel pretty damn worthless and like I'm letting people down.
  • I spend quite a bit of time hating my life. I guess you could call it depression, but it really only has to do with IBS. My life - IBS = LOVE IT. My life + IBS = HATE IT
  • I used to have bad periods. Haha, I had NO clue.
  • Oh, I forgot to mention my horrible symptoms.
  • It has made me more lazy and way less productive. I spend more time laying in bed with a heating pad than anything else nowadays.
  • I used to get up early on Tuesdays or Fridays and volunteer serving breakfast to homeless people. However, if I try to wake up before 8am my body hates me and I have symptoms for no good reason. No more volunteering :(
  • I used to enjoy food, now I fear it. 
  • Altering other people's lives. This might be the most depressing thing of all. My boyfriend doesn't enjoy life as much anymore because all we do is sit around. Although he has all of our friends that he could hang out with, he's caring enough that he wants to hang at home with me and make sure I'm ok instead of going out with them. Even though he has decided this for himself, I still feel bad about putting him in that position in the first place.

I'm sure I could go on and on and on, but I won't bore you. And I'm pretty positive you get the picture. IBS has screwed up my life royally. While other people try to look at it optimistically, after more than a decade of dealing with this shit (haha), I'm done with optimism- it hasn't gotten me anywhere. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fun facts

I haven't felt like writing a long post in a while, but I don't want another IBS blog to "close down" so to say. So I'm going to do a few little fun facts that I've noticed lately:

  • I base my eating habits on my stomach gurgles.
    • If I try something new, I take a bite and wait 5-10 minutes. If it doesn't make any "bad" gurgles, we're good. If it does, either the boyfriend or the sink gets the food
    • When I'm eating and my stomach starts to gurgle, I put the food down until the gurgles go away. If they don't go away- food to the boyfriend/sink.
    • This has seriously improved my symptoms since I started doing it. It seems ridiculous, but I think of it as letting my stomach deal with what it has and not overloading it. Sounds like a good idea to me.
  •  When I'm not sure if I should keep eating, I stop. If I've ever gone past that point because "I think it'll probably be fine," it's ended badly. 
  • My stomach/intestines make noises my boyfriend's don't after we've eaten the same meal. They're drastically different. While mine sounds more like a constantly rushing, large stream, his sounds like a spurt every once in a while.
  • Drinking a meal that has a high potential to do damage to your stomach is better handled with a Pepsi or rootbeer. I know a lot of people can't have caffeine, so I'm sorry! But I've been able to handle it again in the past few months.
    • One of my huge problems with hard-on-the-stomach meals is gas. If I have a caffeinated beverage, I burp a lot more afterward. This really helps relieve a lot of the pressure and pain from the meal. If you can handle it, you might want to try it- unless you're lady-like and don't burp :)

Well, that's all for now! The end of the semester is approaching quickly, and I'm trying to stay ahead of everything so I don't get too stressed out. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Update...and a taste of my future

Carrots are a no go. They didn't quite make me sick like my trigger foods would, but still...a no go. I'll leave it at that.

Today in class, I had a moment. I guess I should start from the beginning...I got to class and sat down. I was talking to my friend then she says, "Where were you? I tried calling you." I knew she wasn't talking to me, so I looked up. Her friend had just gotten to class and had apparently been at our Health Center. She had been studying earlier and felt sick, so she went to get something for it. While she was there, apparently she threw up. So now I have a person standing right in front of my desk that just threw up.

What do you think I did? My insides were screaming, "RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!" but I had to sit there. I had absolutely no good reason to leave, as our test was about to start. So I just sat there. I can't tell you how nervous it made me (and still makes me right now). But anyway, getting to my moment...a little bit later I was sitting with my group working on an assignment for our next class. I was paying attention to how I felt since I was worrying about getting whatever made this girl throw up, and I realized...wait for it...I felt GOOD. For the first time in who knows how long, I could talk with other people without getting a dull pain in my stomach. I didn't feel worn out or the least bit nauseous. I didn't have any gas or even any gurgling in my stomach. There was no headache or even the inkling of one. I was hungry. And I wasn't even having any cramps.

In that moment, I almost closed my eyes just to take advantage of it. To try to freeze it in time. If I could have sat there in that seat, feeling like that, for the rest of my life I might have just done that. Obviously, it didn't last for very long and I'm feeling a little cruddy after dinner. But still...I'm so grateful for that hour or two that I got today. It allowed me to flash back to how my life was before I had to start dealing with all of this nonsense. It also made me a bit sad because of how good that felt compared to how I feel day to day, but I'm not going to focus on that. I'm going to focus on getting back to having that feeling all day every day. I WILL GET BACK THERE. I just have to. It felt too good :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Me and carrots have a strange history. Someone told me (when this bout of IBS started up) that carrots were good to help stop the diarrhea. So I ate so many carrots that I'm almost certain I turned a slight color of orange. After about 2 weeks of eating carrots like a meal, it turned against me. Any time I would eat even one carrot I would be stuck in the bathroom all day/night.

So, why am I bringing this up? I got a craving for carrots while I was at the store today. I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Seems that a new symptom of my PMS is nausea. I don't know if this has something to do with my IBS or what...all I know is that it's horrible. It's also really strange- it's not the type of nausea that makes me feel like I'm going to actually throw up (THANK GOD!), but I just feel uber nauseous.

Luckily the nausea is only present the week before and the week during my period. I really wish that there was some type of anti-nausea I could take that has zero drowsiness. I took Dramamine last week (half the regular dose), and the drowsiness was unbearable. It was a good thing that I was ready for bed because it hit me hard & fast. It was like a blanket was being pulled over my eyes. It did wonders for the nausea, but I was absolutely worthless for like 30 minutes before I pretty much lost consciousness.

As someone who's deathly afraid of anything vomit-related, I can say that I almost prefer the nausea over that severe drowsiness. Almost.

Here's to hoping the next two weeks go by quickly!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meds for IBS?

The only meds I've ever taken for IBS are mostly over the counter. I've used Pepto, loperamide, and GasX very regularly over the past few years. When this episode started they put me on Prevacid and that worked for about a week.

I got a prescription for hyoscyamine a couple of years ago, but never actually took it. Even though I'm a pharmacist-to-be, I still get scared when I read about side effects! I'd really like to try those now because the spasms have been my primary complaint lately. And spasms usually lead to diarrhea for me, so stopping those would be AWESOME.

What other meds have you been on that helped (or hurt) your IBS? Please leave me a comment or tweet @IBSRachel and let me know! Also let me know what kind of side effects you've experienced. If you don't wanna share all on here or on Twitter, you can send me an email:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's Official

It's official- I'm down to 120 pounds. This is the 3rd sob attack this week thanks to the scale. That means I've lost 15 pounds in about 2 weeks....2 MISERABLE weeks.

Just to make sure we're all on the same page- I do NOT want to lose weight. In fact, I've been working very hard for the past 2 YEARS to gain back 10 pounds I lost when I first got sick and get my weight back up to at least 135. Now, 2 weeks of a flare up have ruined 2 years of work.

I don't even know what to do. The episode I'm having now has brought a new symptom- nausea. That's not something I know how to deal with. With diarrhea, I'd take Loperamide, wait a few hours & be ok to start eating blandly again. But with the nausea, I don't ever feel like eating. All I've had for the past few days is a couple of bagels, rice and some cereal. How the hell am I supposed to get my weight back up if I can't eat anything? Even drinking water makes me feel even more lousy.

While we're on the topic- if you're going to take anything for nausea, make sure you have some down time! I took Dramamine last night and it knocked me out. I've never been drowsy like that before, and while I was happy it kept the nausea at bay, I was worthless! I had to get up at one point to go to the bathroom, and I stumbled the whole way there, could hardly see anything, and really don't remember most of it. Quite an experience. But it did work, and I'm thankful for that. The only bad thing is now that I'm awake, it's starting to come back. I have a week's worth of studying to get done today and there's no way I can be knocked out like that again.

I'm almost hoping that this is just some version of the flu and that it will all be over soon. This is the third day I've been nauseous, so I'm hoping it will be coming to an end soon. As soon as it does, I'm going nuts with junk food (tolerable junk food that won't cause another episode, of course...sigh) and putting that weight back on ASAP. I know there are so many people out there that would probably be super jealous of me losing 15 pounds in two weeks, but this is scaring the shit out of me. I just hope that it stops here and doesn't go lower. If I get into the teens (hundred-teens), I don't know what I'd do. I haven't been that skinny (read emaciated looking) since middle school. And I was shorter in middle school so it didn't look funny/sickly.

Wish me luck :/

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hormones & IBS

As if hormones morphing me into (more of) a raging bitch & giving me cramps from hell wasn't enough, it also makes my IBS symptoms ridiculous! I can't eat anything this week that doesn't upset my stomach. Even cereal!

I need to get to the gynecologist & get on one of the birth control pills. But first I need to learn how to swallow pills without choking on them! And after that, maybe I'll get a little peace. Or I'd just be happy if it didn't get worse once every month. I could find joy in that. :)

Anyone else have problems during that time of the month?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sometimes I wonder... my body is still even functioning. My body has been reacting to pretty much everything I eat nowadays, so I've started eating a ridiculously bland diet.

I usually have a bagel for 2 out of the 3 meals of the day and the other usually ends up being Spaghettios or a PB&J. That's how it's been for the past month or two. Obviously, I'll throw in a little something to mix it up if I'm feeling like an adventure...but my diet has mostly consisted of those 3 things.

So how does it still run correctly? When I take multivitamins, I feel all sorts of horrible, so I don't get vitamins/minerals from those. There's quite a bit of protein in Spaghettios and I'm sure some vitamins in the other things I eat, but I seriously doubt there is enough to keep my body going.

A lot of the time, it doesn't really feel like it's going to keep going. What do you guys do to make sure you're getting enough of everything while taking care of your GI tract at the same time?

I'd really like this blog to become a conversation tool for IBS people so please leave me comments and join in the discussion!