For those who don’t know, I have some GI issues. I have struggled with poop and pain issues for years. In 2018, they stopped poking, prodding, and testing…. They diagnosed me as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Basically I will have pooping and pain issues for the rest of my life that will probably get worse the older I get. Super exciting stuff.
To be clear, I have always had diarrhea. I have always had pain. But eventually the pain took a backseat and the diarrhea became water and uncontrollable – the bane of my existence. That was the point when I went to try and get help. I kid you not, I lived through hell for years before getting help because the people around me and my doctors minimized my pain and the toll it was taking on my everyday life.
My bowel movements were sudden – like lightning strike sudden – no uptick; no warning! And they were water – pure sparkling brownish water! If you have had diarrhea of any kind in your life (and I know you have), you know that you CANNOT HOLD IT BACK. It is go time; you become a marathon runner with every step putting you closer to sudden and extreme embarrassment.
With that said, imagine going grocery shopping – never knowing when a movement would strike – but knowing you will have about 7 to 10 that day alone, not counting overnights… Having to fast starting the day before – no eating or drinking at all – just so you can go grocery shopping and maybe have just one or two trips to the bathroom (and make it there without incident too I might add). I couldn’t get into my car and drive for any length of time without fear that a movement would hit suddenly – there is never a place to get quickly enough when you have a sudden bowel movement in your car.
I learned to pack an empty ice cream bucket in my car for sudden movements. Explain yourself to a cop at your window as you are casually pulled over on the side of the freeway spilling your innards into an ice cream bucket. Wet wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, two large bath towels, several washcloths, a bucket of water, hand sanitizer, and extra clothes are all part of my self-care car kit. Imagine packing that just to get from your house to your work, and you only have a five minute drive.
I couldn’t go places. I couldn’t hang out – everyone had to come to me just so I could tend my GI issues in the comfort of my own home. The sounds were horrible. The smells stacked embarrassment upon embarrassment. And the misses were basically life-altering… I always had candles burning or incense or wax cubes going… JUST to blot out the smell of the constant in my house: shit. If I said UH-OH, my kid helped look for a restroom or ran out of the path between me and the bathroom. She knew what was about to happen. My pooping even screwed with my kiddo.
So all that is then… Do I still keep my car packed with some stuff incase there is an accident? Oh lord yes. Do I still have pooping issues? Unfortunately. Is it still a mad dash to the restroom when the urge suddenly appears? OMG YES. (I am pretty good at it now tho haha!)
But it is better. I finally got a doctor that listened, and while they have stopped looking for the causes, they did find me a medication that takes me from 7-10 diarrheas a day down to 1-3 diarrheas… MUCH BETTER. I can also control myself better because they aren’t that glorious water of the past. That makes work so much better (I have amazing co-workers and an amazing boss who worked with me through some of the worst of the diarrhea hell!).
What gets me though is that I used to just HAVE TO GO. Now, with these meds, I start getting all crampy and painy – and can be in this state for hours before the urge to go actually hits me. I talked to my doctor about it because it can sometimes double me over the pain is so strong, and she says IT’S NORMAL. Seriously? As she explains it, apparently everyone has pain preceding a bowel movement to some degree to let them know they are going to poop. Mkay, wtf kind of shit is this? I never had this before but now have it magically appear upon taking a pill?! I think something isn’t right here, but if the historical pattern holds true with my doctors, I will have to wait about 5 years before anyone takes this seriously and starts investigating it. I’m not dead, so I guess I will ‘whatever’ this situation and move on.
I think it is looking bright minus fighting for 5 years to be taken seriously about this stomach pain. I am okay with having diarrhea so long as it doesn’t rule my life, and right now, I am going out and doing things with friends and family. It is pretty damn glorious what I can do now because of a pill versus what the past 3 to 5 years of my life has been. Hell yes. I’ll take this ride and keep moving forward!
Do you have pain or GI issues? What do you do to help yourself? Did you have to do a diet change (one thing I never had to do as I basically stopped eating and still had diarrhea)? What, if anything, finally helped you out? If nothing yet, is anything in the works to try and figure out what will?