In honor of IBS Awareness Month and in picking up an old tradition of FODMAP Life, I’ve brought back “Your Story”, a place where we share our stories of digestive disorders and diseases.
I’ve been reaching out to my email newsletter subscribers and have asked them to share their stories of living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and about their experience with the Low-FODMAP Diet.
As you may know, no cure (as of this writing) exists for IBS. I have IBS, and since finding the low-FODMAP diet, my symptoms have never escalated to the way they did before. However, it doesn’t mean that I am completely symptom-free. Sometimes it could be food or even stress that triggers IBS-C or IBS-A for me. The positive side of this story is I don’t allow symptoms to control my life.
I love myself more. Sometimes that means positive self-talk. I choose to think that positive thoughts serve me, my gut, body, and mind well.
I don’t focus on the negative. I choose to visualize a place of peace within my gut.
Yes, I am more aware of which foods trigger symptoms, but I also know which life situations can potentially set off my gut. Life is life, and sometimes it’s tough! However, it’s rare if symptoms catch me by surprise. I’ve found that deep breathing, guided meditation, and positive thinking can rid my gut of symptoms faster than life before the low-FODMAP diet – that’s when I felt hopeless with IBS.
Now I choose to be optimistic.
I also have Hashimoto’s disease which is another story, but something that also benefits greatly from positive self-talk, a healthy diet, and the right care (six doctors later…).
So with that, I’d like to introduce you to our first story for IBS Awareness 2018 from “E.A” of Wisconsin. She’s been through so much, yet she has a very encouraging outlook on her life with IBS. Please read below.
“I am 77 years old and have been plagued with IBS most of my life. As a child, I remember being worried if I had to give a presentation—always had to use the bathroom just before, etc. All my life, I never felt well in the morning, likening it to the morning sickness I always had when pregnant with my children. After my children were in grade school, I went back to work as a secretary. Mornings were always bad, with cramping and gas, bloating, etc. It was awful when I had to sit in an early morning meeting to take notes. I would sometimes have to excuse myself to go to the bathroom during the meeting. My doctor thought I had lactose intolerance, which was correct. So, I eliminated lactose and have been on lactose-free milk for years. However, I still had problems. They escalated when I began having accidents. The worry about this caused a lot of anxiety. As with most people who have IBS, there is little time between a stomach twinge and an accident. A year ago, things were so bad that I decided we would never travel again and I didn’t want to go anywhere, even out to dinner or socialize with friends, as the anxiety was just not worth it.
“Being desperate, I went on the computer to check again to see if there were any new meds, etc. which I might research. That’s when I hit on the Monash University’s information and the Low FODMAP plan. I read all I could on it, bought a book on the plan and then presented it to my doctor. He was in agreement with me to try it and put me in touch with a dietitian. It’s been a year and two months and I feel I’ve had a miracle performed for me. I have been so comfortable and am enjoying life again. I am very diligent in checking ingredients on everything I purchase and eat. When I go to a restaurant, I go armed with a small container of my homemade salad dressing, a slice of gluten-free bread and even some lactose-free sour cream. As I keep working on this plan, I am finding more and more products that are FODMAP friendly and learning to adapt my own recipes.
“I’d recommend trying the FODMAP plan to anyone willing to try. It isn’t easy at first, you have to give up a lot of things you love, but it depends on whether you want to be comfortable or not.”