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Gwyn

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Gwyn

I am currently in my bathroom as I type this from my phone. 

I’ll be 35 in a couple months and I’m pretty sure I’ve had IBS since I was younger then 10. Or at the very least, I had the beginning symptoms. 
I would complain of ‘tummy aches’ and spent long hours in the bathroom as a kid wondering why it felt like I was dying. 
it wasn’t an everyday thing though and only seemed to really flare up whenever I was nervous or anxious. 
I wanna say it calmed down as I got older, though I would have these weird times where my stomach would hurt so bad that I would entirely give up on eating because it seemed that I was always getting sick after a meal. These would normally last a few weeks and then go away with the help of some OTC nausea medications and Pepto. 
I assumed I was developing a good allergy or something in my teens and early 20s. I didn’t have any kind of health insurance so I managed with OTC stuff for a while. Eventually the flare ups stopped, with an occasional episode here and there. 
Until I guess about a year or two ago. I recognized the symptoms and sort of just shrugged it off as “Oh it’s that thing my body does sometimes. Guess I’ll stop eating for a few days till it goes away.” Except it didn’t go away. I didn’t need to make myself stop eating, I had gotten so scared of food that my appetite was entirely gone. I started to lose weight all too quickly and I was spending so much time in the bathroom that it was affecting my job. Getting ready in the morning and getting to work on time was nearly impossible because I had to sit down every ten minutes and stay there for an hour. I started getting nauseous and whatever little bit of food I managed to eat would just come right back up. 
I assumed I must have had some bad flu or maybe food poisoning... that lasted a couple weeks longer then it should. 
By this time though, I had a job that offered health insurance and so I finally decided to go to a doctor. Especially since we had a couple cases of colon cancer in my immediate family— I was scared. 
I go, explain my history of what’s been going on and how it’s been acting up. How I was losing weight and just couldn’t bring myself to eat anything due to lack of appetite and the fear of it coming back out in some form or another. So they scheduled me for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, just to make sure there wasn’t any bigger issues we should worry about. So yeah, needles to say I was a complete nervous wreck. I had never had any kind of procedure done like that before. Hell I never even had my tonsils removed as a kid. The craziness surgery done on me was when I had my wisdom teeth removed. I had never gone under anesthesia before so naturally I wasn’t very excited. 
I was even less thrilled about taking the Prep the night before the procedure. 
But at the end of it all, there wasn’t anything signaling cancer. They took a few samples and removed a couple polyps. However they did discover that I had some kind of infection, though they couldn’t say for how long I’ve had it. 
So basically I was put into a schedule of medications over the span of 2 weeks to help get rid of whatever that was living in my gut. 
It was a rough couple weeks. I never was good at making medications and these hit my stomach pretty hard. I would feel nauseous after taking them, no matter if I took them with or without food. Though I was told it might have that side effect as these were a pretty high dose so I didn’t think too much of it. As far as I was concerned, 2 more weeks of this would be nothing and soon I’d be normal again. 
If you think this story has a happy ending— you’re wrong. 
A couple weeks ago, maybe about 3 or 4 months after my procedure, I get a call from my pharmacist. Turns out that one of my medications during that time was from an expired batch. I guess that would explain why I felt sick then and why I still feel sick now. 
Though I will say, it isn’t quite as bad as it was. I still have yet to return to my doctor for a follow up, since I just learned that my company will be letting me go soon. I’ll lose my insurance and with the global pandemic going on, I don’t know if I’ll be able to find another job with benefits. 
 

I’ve gone back to square one again. Being sick every morning and hoping to sleep it off the best I can. I take OTC medications like Pepto, Imodium, and GasX. I have noticed that when my IBS wakes me up at an ungodly hour of the morning, that taking a walk around the block a few times is enough to calm it down to a manageable level. Sometimes even laying with a heating pad will help in the short term. 
 

So here I am. Locked away in the bathroom on what should be a lovely Monday morning... yet I’m doubled over with a sickness that had no cure. 
I’m just looking to find some kind of hope through all this and I happened across this community. I know it’s not much, but I thank you all for being so outspoken with your own stories and I hope we can all find relief together. 

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Jeffrey Roberts

Dear Gwyn,

Thank you for sharing your story. You are definitely not alone when it comes to chronic stomach issues. Mine started when I was 7-8 years old. I'm quite a bit older now and I do have a better routine and have a whole bunch of coping skills.

First of all, you typed this on a phone. Wow! I'm impressed.

Second, I'm not sure that an expired antibiotic would be that much of a problem. I may be wrong, but it just may not be as effective, but shouldn't do any harm.

Third, you would likely benefit from looking into the low FODMAP diet as you likely have some foods that are aggravating you more than others. If you are able to figure that out, you might not have to go through periods of not eating.

Losing weight is never a good sign, so it's really good that you got it looked after while you had insurance.

You will get "better". You don't have to assume that this is normal and you have to live like this.

Jeff

 

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Gwyn

Hello Jeffery

As of this morning I had a quick conversation with my doctor via their online patient portal. He’s expressed the same insight, saying that an expired medication wouldn’t be affecting me in the long run. However it could be reason enough as to why my symptoms have been slowly coming back, since it seems that whatever infection I had may not have been properly taken care of. 
Unfortunately due to everything going on and my likelihood for easily getting sick, I’m terrified to even go near a doctors office let alone a hospital. So he’s agreed to have a virtual appoint with me next week so we can go over what’s been going on. 

I will definitely mention FODMAP thing, as I have been trying to be more careful with what I eat and how much. Perhaps he can recommend a nutritionist I can consult with. 
 

I’ll be sure to post an update after my appointment, in case anyone else is experiencing something similar. 
 

I appreciate the support. 

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Gwyn

Well I had my appointment yesterday. 

My doctor has requested that I come in for testing, just to make sure the infection hasn’t come back. From there, it seems that I have two options. 
Depending on the result, I may need to go back in for another procedure or they may very well give me another dose of antibiotics. 
In the mean time, he suggested that I try to steer away from dairy and other lactose products to see if that has any effect on how I’m feeling. 
 

I also mentioned to him, that I notice my symptoms get worse whenever I am nervous or stressed. I basically told him that I have untreated anxiety and so he did prescribe a low dose medication to take during the day as needed as well another medication to take at night to help me sleep. 
 

So it seems we aren’t any closer to figuring out what’s wrong with me, but I figured I would update anyway. 

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Jeffrey Roberts

The low dose antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication might help you more than you think. You'll certainly sleep better. 9_9

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Gwyn

Just a small update. 
 

I have started drinking more lactose free milk. I don’t drink a lot of milk on any normal day, I mostly only ever have a little bit of cream in my tea. The most milk I have at any one time would be the occasional bowl of cereal but that’s pretty rare. 

Though I will say I have noticed some improvement. I’m still careful of how much I eat and try not to eat too much before bed. 
 

The anxiety medication has put me somewhat at ease and I’ve noticed that I don’t wake up with such urgency anymore. 
 

Unfortubatelly though, it’s been a while since I have had a period and mine had finally decide to show itself for the first time in months and now my symptoms are all over the place again. 
I never considered the possibility of what menstruation could do with IBS. 

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Jeffrey Roberts

Menstruation brings IBS symptoms for a lot of women. It's just before at the time it starts. For some, it's the only time they have IBS symptoms.

On the positive side, a period is a healthy situation.

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