WATCH THE VIDEO HERE !
I credit SO much of my success of being able to THRIVE with my IBS to the Clinical Trial that I was so incredibly fortunate to have found. Which is why I had offered to "be the face of the trial" a few months ago when I finished my last session. Little did I know I would have the opportunity to be on the news, but also share my story with others, in hopes to help them find relief with the trial!
So what exactly is this Clinical Trial I decided to be a part of this past year?
The Clinical Trial wasn't a walk in the park though, it involved A LOT of paperwork and effort on my part as well. If I wanted this to work, I had to put in work as well. At first, I was quite skeptical, but after slowly starting to see improvement, I became a believer. NOW, I am not "cured" of my IBS, and I still experience symptoms/flare ups/have to take extra medication from time to time, but the frequency of these occurrences, and my ENTIRE attitude has changed so drastically. I can thank the Clinical Trial and my change of attitude to wanting a happier and more positive life for this.
Still doubting? Think I'm making all of this up?
Click READ MORE to see an assignment I had to complete for the Clinical Trial LAST Summer.
Notice how different my attitude towards my disorder is from then to now. The change in me is real.
- Did you watch the news video? Leave a comment below!
- Would you go on TV about a condition you have?
- Did you click read more? Thoughts?
IBS Controls My Life - June 2013
IBS – three letters that control my life. From the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep most days, my stomach is always on my mind. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I’d like to change the name to something else – It’s Bull Shit. At twenty-two years old I feel as if my life revolves around my intestines. I get anxiety over going places early in the morning because if I don’t go the bathroom before I leave the house, then I won’t be able to go at all and then I’ll be uncomfortable and probably bloated all day and that might cause a flare up. I wake up sometimes two hours earlier then I need to just to make sure I can go to the bathroom and sometimes the stress of wanting to go will make me not go at all. I eat healthier than anyone I know, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I avoid all gluten, wheat, dairy, and gas producing foods, drink only water, have plenty of fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly. If I happen to eat junk food, have my meal schedule be altered, try a new food, go out to eat, or miss too many days of working out; I fear a flare up could ensue. I have wasted so many days spent chained to a toilet due to the countless laxative cleanses I have had to do. I’ve missed out on numerous nights with my friends because I was too sick to partake in the activities or hated the way my body looked due to a flare up. I work extremely hard for my body and consider myself to have a very in shape and toned frame, something I am proud of, yet only get to enjoy my progress once in a while. More often than not, my flat as a board stomach is distended, causing me to look six months pregnant. My skin feels as if it’s being ripped apart and on the inside, that’s what my constant flare-ups do to my self-esteem. I cannot fit into my clothes when I have a flare up, I had to buy my teaching pants a size up so I can still wear them to work when I am sick. I don’t feel good about myself when I have a flare up. I have no energy or motivation to do anything, I just feel defeated. Since Spring 2011 my intestines have waged war on me every two weeks. It is mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. I feel as if I do everything I possibly can for my stomach and yet, it still hates me. I joined this study as a last hope effort to try and alleviate my symptoms and regain control of my life.
In Kindergarten, the janitor made frequent visits to our class because I would regularly throw up, never quite making it to the toilet in time. After I had thrown up of course, I would be fine, sitting in the nurse’s office begging to go back to class. At age seven, I got my first endoscopy and missed two weeks of school because I was so sick. Growing up, for me, there was a lot of throwing up. Waking up in the middle of the night, getting sick, and then being fine in the morning. At fifteen, I got my gallbladder taken out but the random throwing up continued through out high school. I was told that I had IBS, was given a prescription for Nexium for the burning in my stomach and lived off of Pepto Bismal. While feeling nauseous wasn’t fun, my symptoms were manageable, I could eat what I wanted, as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted and never had to think twice about my bathroom habits. IBS was just something I had, and up until my sophomore year of college, it wasn’t so bad…
Spring of 2011 was when my IBS symptoms spiraled out of control. I don’t remember how it started exactly, but the next thing I knew my stomach was the size of a beach ball and an X-ray done at a local Immediate Care showed that I was F.O.S. – full of shit as the physician’s assistant who couldn’t have been more than a few years older than myself, put it. I didn’t understand how that was possible, to be “constipated” and backed up, even though I was still going to the bathroom. Fast forward two years later and the same exact thing still happens to me all the time. Despite going to the bathroom, I still become “backed up”. I used mineral oil and miralax to help myself go to the bathroom and for a period of time that worked, until it happened again. Despite being on the laxatives, I became “backed up”. When I went home for summer I started amitiza, and all was wonderful. For a small period of time I was symptom free, I even felt well enough the following school year to stop my amitiza and nexium, I enjoyed the colors of fall flare up free following a high fiber diet (thirty grams a day) but my happiness was short lived. As the months went on, my symptoms came back, but worse. Despite the amitiza, and the use of mineral oil at night, my flare-ups were relentless. From January to March I was in a constant state of distension, uncomfortable and crying from the feeling of my skin being stretched so taut and not being able to fit into any of my clothes. I had an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, a colon pressure exam, all came back “normal”. I cut out dairy, but it didn’t make a difference, and then came the burden of trying to eliminate gluten and wheat due to a suspected “gluten intolerance” which ended up being Celiac Disease. After a few weeks, my symptoms dissipated, my stomach shrank down, and I was feeling normal again. I was ecstatic, it was spring again and I finally felt like myself. I thought I had been “cured” until summer came. The summer before my senior year of college was absolute torture with my IBS – I was taking ten different pills a day, yet still experiencing flare-ups every two weeks. In addition to my flare-ups, I developed unbearable stomach pain that sent me to the emergency room, twice, only to be sent home with “stomach pain cause unknown” and “colic”. I sat teary eyed in my doctors office saying I couldn’t handle living my life like this, at the time I was taking: Nexium, Digestive Advantage for IBS, a Protocol Peppermint Pill thirty minutes prior to each meal, Xifaxan at breakfast and dinner, Amitiza with each meal, and mineral oil at night time, yet the extreme bloating and distension coupled with constipation raged on. I had developed hemorrhoids that needed to be laser treated from trying to go to the bathroom so much. My doctor and I were grasping at straws, thinking it could be stress and anxiety related, he gave me a prescription for Xanax, I never ended up taking more than two pills from the entire vial. As summer faded and fall began, I grew tired of taking so much medication yet not seeing any improvements, so by Christmas time I was off all medication besides the Nexium and Amitiza. I was introduced to Linzess in January 2013, and was confident that this could be “the one” to end my vicious cycle of flare-ups. I was wrong, I would suffer through out the course of the school year, even the week of my graduation, battling bi weekly flare ups still. Alone the Linzess wasn’t enough, I began to take the Linzess and Amitiza together per my doctors orders when I felt a flare up coming on, the goal was to try and “treat” the flare up before it got worse or developed at all. Tripling up on my medication made me feel awful, fatigued and unmotivated to do much on top of already feeling sick.
IBS does not only control my life, but it is often detrimental to my relationships. In a culture where food is a very social thing, I often feel isolated and alone. I try and avoid going out to eat or for drinks because it might “bother my stomach”. Others don’t understand why I have a laundry list of things I can’t eat. Instead, they think I’m being dramatic or worse, accuse me of having an eating disorder. I don’t like having to over analyze every morsel I put into my mouth and what the potential consequences could be! I feel very fortunate to have the support of my mom and dad, boyfriend, and a few close friends. Other than my tight knit group, most people are completely unaware of the daily struggles I have. Most people are ignorant to IBS and how life crippling it truly can be. God forbid I mention that I have it and people’s faces contort in disgust. If that is their reaction, then how do they think I feel living with it every day?
A life without IBS? I don’t know what that would even be like, probably a lot less stressful! I wouldn’t have to plan things around my stomach, but rather I could plan less! I wouldn’t have to worry so much about food or plan my outfits around the size of my stomach. I would feel comfortable in my own skin every day. I wouldn’t have to track how many times I went to the bathroom and its consistency. I could eat without fear!