Pre-warning, this could end up being a bit of a rant but if you want a real perspective on what living with IBS is like, keep reading. I wrote this post last night when I was having a reaction to some food I ate at lunch on Saturday. This post is about the struggles of IBS and a bit of an insight to what it is like for me to deal with my IBS. So no, when someone asks if a little bit is okay, it’s not. I hope this helps some people understand.
Here I am, sitting in bed, crying, at almost 11pm on a Saturday night, doubled over in pain because my IBS has flared up again. All because of some damn vegetables I ate at lunch. Sometimes I react almost immediately (lactose), sometimes it’s over 12 hours later, but boy oh boy do I feel it now.
Let’s start at the beginning of my day. I’m currently in a rut with my wardrobe. I’ll be honest, a lot of my clothes don’t fit me at the moment because of my not-so-hidden weight gain over the past year or so. I have a very small amount of clothes that fit or at least that I feel comfortable in. Anything tight on my stomach is a big no-no for me as it makes my stomach hurt so much more, especially when I’m having a reaction. When I’m having a reaction, I can barely stand the feel of the fabric of my T-shirt on my stomach, let alone a tight pair of pants. Anyway, moving on. I recently got rid of a whole garbage bag of clothes from my drawers that no longer fit and that bag is just sitting in the garage hoping to fit again one day. I know I should sell it or give it to charity but I keep thinking that the bag is something that should give me hope or motivation and instead it upsets me because even when I’m trying my hardest, my body still reacts against me.
Every time I look in my wardrobe I draw blanks. I have such a small range of clothes that fit me right now that I am now uninspired and frustrated every time I have to wear clothes that aren’t my work uniform or activewear. People have seen me in the same clothes countless times because that’s all that fits at the moment. And I can’t afford to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a new wardrobe, even if I am shopping at Kmart. I am only on a childcare wage after all (thanks a lot government). So every time I have to dress myself on weekends I try on countless outfits, trying to squeeze myself into something different, only to return to the same 5 outfit options that I have every time.
Today I had a training day for my Early Childhood job. At Morning Tea, when everyone is eating scones and muffins, I’m sitting there with my fruit platter (which is delicious by the way) picking out the fruits that I can and can’t eat because I react to foods high in fructose. I’m not jealous of the food everyone’s eating because I know the effect it would have on me if I ate it and also the amount of sugar in those products. I’m more so frustrated because I’m the odd one out. I’m the one with the long list of dietary requirements, the list no one can even remember without it being written down, including myself.
Now it’s lunch time, and the people with dietary requirements are supposed to have Lentil and Haloumi salad. At first I think delicious, but then I realise, no Ash, you can’t eat lentils. So I quickly grab the waiters attention and we decide on a different salad, which thanks to my own brain fart, is what caused my IBS to flare up. Two vegetables, beetroot and asparagus, in that salad specially prepared for me cause me to be in pain that I can’t even describe. I was fine most of the afternoon, my abdomen was starting to feel a little full, but I get like that when I have drunk over 3 litres of water, which I did today, and yet, I still feel dehydrated. I brushed it off thinking that it was just from the amount of water I had drunk. But, now I know it was my stomach bloating from my body not being able to digest those vegetables properly. My body was struggling to do one of its main functions. And now here I am, venting on this blog post, constantly sipping water thanks to my constant feeling of dehydration, trying to understand how my body works, or at least distract myself from the pain. At least the distraction is working…
As some of you may know the last month or so I’ve been doing the reintroduction of high FODMAP foods back into my diet. The first two weeks, I had no issues. Then the two weeks after that I reacted both weeks. And when I react to a food, it takes at least a week to recover, if not more. The food I’ve been meaning to introduce for about the last month is bread, but I am dead set terrified of doing it because I know what my body does when I eat those types of food. Seeing as the type of FODMAP that’s in beetroot, is also in bread. Go figure. For about the past month, I’ve had reaction after reaction to food, mostly out of my control (when we eat out at restaurants or cafes – don’t even get me started. Don’t call it avocado if it’s been mixed with sour cream… seriously). Anyway, I’ve just felt like absolute shit the last month and that’s why I think I have gotten sick this week. My body’s immunity is so shot to hell from fighting off foods it can’t digest properly that when it comes to its main job, preventing sickness, it can’t do it.
Anyway, I’m going to try to go to sleep now, which I haven’t had much luck with lately but I try. Once I’m asleep I’m fine, but getting to sleep, I toss and turn and roll until I’m comfortable, which can take up to an hour, depending on my pain level. So I’m going to try, like I do everyday, day in and day out. I just have to keep moving forward, no matter how fast or slow I go, forward is forward and that’s all that matters.