Posted 11 September 2002 - 02:29 AM
I have had IBS as long as I can remember.. although I was only diagnosed in May. I remember my mom always giving me gravol before any car ride over 1 hour long, I remember my grandmother coming to get me from day camp 4 days in a row because they fed me food with MSG in it (a now known trigger). My most horrible experience though, was goign to Quebec on a three-month exchange, before being diagnosed. My mom suspected it, she suffers from light, very mild IBS. However, I never made it to the doctor before leaving on the trip. Quebec is a new culture, a new food, a new school, and a new language. I didn't know anyone, and I didn't know any "slang" language. The first few weeks were okay, everyone played it easy, but then, the food started to get to me. My host mom cooked food with high fat content, and meat was always part of the meal. She also had a thing for cheese, and milky sauces. I was really lost in school, and I didn't really know anyone except the German exchange students and they didn't speak my language. One night, we went to McDonalds (or McLaxatives as they are known in my house) for dinner. The plan was to go get some groceries and a movie afteward. I didn't make it to the grocery store before I knew I was going to be sick. I didn't know the city well enough to find a bathroom, and I didn't know how to explain my problem in french. I asked my host mom to take me home, and she did, but she was frustrated. I never did make it to the bathroom, and spent the evening washing my jeans by hand so that she wouldn't find out and ask me questions I didn't know how to answer. This happened twice durign my stay, and now I am petrified of going out where I know there is no washroom close by. I called my mom both times, crying, and on my birthday I finally told her to call my doctor and make an appointment. I don't know how well you know the canadian health system, but it was a full month after I returned home before I got into the doctor. I went through hell adjusting back to NB food, and the english language, and the classes that I was behind in. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS-D, and put me on Modulon. She advised me to discontinue with the Immodium, which I was reluctant to do. I've always carried Immodium with me wherever I go, I cannot leave the house without Immodium hidden on me somewhere. However, I did go a week without it, but I started carrying it again when I realized that Modulon doesn't always work. This summer was a breeze. I managed to get 3 weeks of camp in with only being sick once (and the camp nurse understood and let me stay in the nurses hut). The rest of the summer I had my car and was able to come home when I felt ill. But now, I am back in school for my final year. The first day started off wrong, with stress everywhere, I had a messed up schedule etc.. Plus, I had forgotten about the rule that says we cannot leave class for any reason. This means that my teachers will not let me out of class. In the afternoon it's normally not a problem. I usally have a problem in the morning. I do not eat breakfast, because it is guaranteed to have me sick by 10 am. I walk to school, and usually about halfway there, I feel sick and I feel like that little train "i think i can i think i can i think i can". I have already failed my required math course once, because of so many absences. I have discovered though, that if, in the morning I make a point to go to the washroom first thing, and then take my pill, and then do my morning stuff, I usually feel alright by the time I walk to school. And when I start to feel sick, I try the image therapy they use with cancer patients. I tell myself that I am stronger than this disease. My best friend tells me that she knows when I am not feeling my best because I walk around saying "I am fine, I am fine I am fine, I am normal, I am fine" under my breath. I make myself think about times when I've felt perfectly healthy, and I tell myself that nothing is wrong, nothing is hurting. Most of the time it works, it's excellent for when i'm in class. Another thing I use is a time scale. I guess I've turned slightly obsessive-compulsive in this, I have to know exactly when the activity I'm doing is over. That way, say i'm in class, I can say "okay, I have 25 minutes left in class. He will be teaching for 15 of those minutes, and I am okay for 15 minutes. If I am not okay in 15 mins, I can go up and quietly ask to leave the room" Then, as the 5 min increments pass, I congratulate myself. Usually by the end of class, I feel better, because I distracted myself. It works with any activity, anywhere. THe only time I don't feel in control is when I do not know when the activity will end, for instance if it is a party, or when I am going to the beach. Normally, I set time limits for myself. "I will be home by 9:30pm, I will have to be home in time for dinner". Anyways, that is my story, I hope to be posting more here, I love this board.