I am a really active person. In school, I participated in all sorts of sports. I was the captain of my volleyball team.
I went camping a lot. I think I am more healthy and fit than a lot of people I know.
I also try to eat the right types of foods. While my school friends gorged on junk food, I always had fruit and healthy stuff to eat. It was my choice.
As I was growing up, I kept up my activity level and my good diet. Then, after my 35th birthday, things started to happen.
I was getting a lot of stomach cramps. Sometimes those cramps would spread to the side of my body and to my back.
At first, I thought it was severe indigestion or gas. I would get these cramps, then they would go away. This happened more and more frequently throughout the year.
During my annual checkup a few years ago, I asked my doctor about it. He did some tests and took a scan of my stomach. After the test results came back, he said that I have irritable bowel syndrome.
I never thought that I would have that. I ate the right foods all the time. I exercised regularly. I do not smoke and only drink a glass of wine occasionally. How can this happen?
My doctor did not have an answer for me. But that does explain the sudden pains that I would feel after I eat sometimes.
My doctor gave some instructions on how to minimize the occurrence of my IBS. He said that there is no cure, and treatment is mainly for alleviating the symptoms.
He said that IBS can be triggered by certain foods, and he gave me a list of foods that I should avoid.
I can see that I have to adjust my diet because the list includes some of the things that I usually eat, like cauliflower and beans.
And yes, I have to cut out coffee. Caffeine can contribute to IBS. Oh, well. I just have to make due. I guess I have to drink decaffeinated.
I followed his instructions and was able control the recurrence of my IBS. But the other day, I felt that pain again.
I thought, “Oh no! My IBS is back!” The pain was not debilitating, but it kept me from going out to do my daily exercises.
I massaged my side a bit and I walked around slowly to ease the cramps. I hate it when this happens because it seems my whole life stops when my IBS is back.
All of my friends know that I have IBS, and they try to consider that when we go out for dinner.
I just have to watch what I eat and make sure that the foods I order will not irritate my stomach.
I sure miss eating a good barbecue dinner. I can get away with taking a bite of barbecue chicken, but anything more than that would be risking the trigger of my IBS.
Whenever my IBS is back, my friends know to not emphasize too much on food.
They do not want me to feel worse than I already do, so that is very considerate of them.
I really have to take things easy when my IBS hits again.
I wish that one day, there will be a know cure for IBS. Knowing that I have this condition and that it can flare up without any warning, it can put a damper on what I can do.
I do not feel as adventurous as I used to. I love to try new foods, but now, I have to be very choosy about what I eat.
When I have IBS, the pain can get unbearable. It starts in my stomach, but it can radiate across my whole body, especially around my back. Sometimes I feel like my stomach will blow up.
Eating yogurt usually soothes my stomach a bit, so I always make sure that I keep a good supply in my refrigerator.
When I go out, I bring along snacks that I can eat and I hardly buy anything off of the food vendors.
But I do miss those greasy hot dogs covered in ketchup, mustard and pickles. I have not eaten one of those in 10 years.
I also talk to other people who suffer from IBS. It is good to hear from people who know exactly what you are going through.
I found an online community where I check in occasionally just to vent some feelings or to chat with a fellow IBS sufferer.
When I feel down about this, I usually find this community very comforting and helpful.
The best thing I can do for myself is to keep a positive attitude and watch what I eat, and to always have things that can give me IBS relief for times with the condition returns.
I still work out, but I do not strain myself. Maybe one day, in my lifetime, the medical professionals will find a cure for it.
But in the mean time, I have to be diligent about following my doctor’s orders and take care of myself.