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My Irritable Bowel Syndrome Time Capsule

Posted by Jeffrey Roberts , in Health Activist Writer's ... 01 April 2012 · 1,863 views

April awareness HAWMC
As April is IBS Awareness Month, today I am beginning WEGO Health's 30-day Health Activist Writer's Challenge. I am going to post an article every day through the month of April. You can follow other health activist writers by using #HAWMC on Twitter or by following WEGO Health's Facebook page. All of my posts will be on my blog here. There is still time if you would like to participate yourself. Click here for more information.

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Today's topic: Health Time Capsule. Pretend you’re making a time capsule of you & your health focus that won’t be opened until 2112. What’s in it? What would people think of it when they found it?

My Irritable Bowel Syndrome Time Capsule

Envision it is the year 2112, one hundred years from today, and you are opening a time capsule that was sealed by someone who has Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I have read that the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both.

The first item that I find in the time capsule is a list of ordinary activities that I soon realize is a list of things that this IBS sufferer had trouble accomplishing because of their poor quality of life.

The activities listed were:

  • Spontaneously go out for dinner
  • Have a drink on my neighbor's deck to usher in this beautiful Spring day
  • Commit to a trip far in the future
  • Coach my daughter's soccer team
  • Attend an event with sparse bathrooms
  • Hold down a demanding full time job

I am sad to read the list and appreciate how fortunate I am that I can do just about anything I want to do without regard to my health. I also find a copy of IBS Explained for People who do not have IBS which helps to explain what this person must have been experiencing.

I next pull out a bag which looks like it contains medicine, but when I look closer I see lots of things that I used to find in drug stores. Anti-diarrheal medicines, pain relievers, the drugs Lotronex, Zelnorm, Amitiza, Rifaximin, Linaclotide, Elavil, Paxil, Cymbalta the probiotic Align and some fiber. It makes me laugh that there is a large container of fiber. Surely they must have known in 2012 that fiber doesn't really do much for some IBS sufferers, yet I recall that some doctors used fiber as their first line of defence for IBS. Still, I'm puzzled why it's in the time capsule given that the low FODMAP diet, developed by Sue Shepherd PhD prior to 2012, eliminates more complex sugars, and has demonstrated a greater relief of IBS symptoms and was accepted and recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS.

It's ironic that I next pull out a copy of the book Controlling IBS the Drug-Free Way: A 10-Step Plan for Symptom Relief. I flip through it and understand why the book was likely so useful. It refers to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and I see a note in the margin circled "The best self managed approach to coping with IBS symptoms that I have ever read." I was glad to know that CBT was helpful as it is still widely used today in 2112 to help people sort through their irrational thoughts. I also find a sheet printed out Ten Things to Stop Doing When You Have IBS. Cool! Someone did their homework.

The bottom of the time capsule is filled with something soft, you guessed it lots and lots of toilet paper. I squeal with delight about the toilet paper and plant large kisses on it! We may not have IBS in 2112, but I sure do like my toilet paper!!!!

Jeffrey Roberts, Founder
IBS Self Help and Support Group

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