In my twenties I developed a sleep disorder that was not diagnosed until I was about 20 (young, slim, females are not the high risk group for sleep apnea-like disorders). During this time I had mild symptoms of IBS and fibromyalgia, both of which were probably related to the disordered sleep. I also have a history of severe allergies which has also developed into asthma as an adult. When my allergies flare up I have a greater tendancy to GI upset.After the sleep disorder was cleared up and the allergies were getting under control the IBS symptoms were less, although I did tend to have some loose stools during times of stress. During this time there was a little bit of cramping, but nothing really bothersome.In 1997 I was on a field study camped out along the side of a large hog waste lagoon. I may have picked up something there that didn't agree with me as when we got back I started feeling bad, ran a low grade fever for about 6 weeks, but it wasn't enough for me to go to the doctor over. During this time the cramps started and continued to get worse. After the fever broke, the pain was still there. The pain was triggered by eating, by walking, and by doing anything (like picking up things off the floor) where I used my abdominal muscles. My allergy shots seemed to be making it worse, so I saw my allergist about that and let him know that an ostomy bag was starting to look really good and I was about ready to remove my own colon by myself, and he got me a referal to Dr. Drossman.Prior to that appointment they got me into see another local GI doctor who did a sigmoidoscopy, gave me Levbid and later added BuSpar, which got me functional. I wasn't free of symptoms, but they were tolerable, which was a big step up from where I had been.When I saw Dr. Drossman he approved the medication and he told me about his clinical trials. I was accepted as a subject and ended up in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatment group in one of his studies. I wasn't able to handle the drug washout, and they kept me on while monitoring my drug use and switched me to Levsin SL rather than the longer acting Levbid. I was taking about 7-8 Levsin to make it through the day, along with 15 mgs BuSpar 2X a day at the start of the therapy. Also I was unable to complete some of the tests done at the begining and the end of the trial because they set off my symptoms to badly.About 1/2 way through the therapy something happened. I had a breakthough about some issues, but I don't know how this caused the results. In one week I dropped down to 2-3 Levsin SL a day and over the next week or two stopped taking the morning BuSpar (it makes me lightheaded in the morning, but doesn't bother me in the evening).As the therapy progressed I began taking less and less Levsin, and most of the time it wasn't to be functional, but to get rid of very mild cramping that I just didn't want to deal with. The stool consistancy had not improved much, but I didn't care about a few loose stools given that I was no longer in pain. I was able to complete all the testing at the end of the study.Since the therapy ended I have continued to improve. The stool consistancy went back to normal within three months of finishing the therapy (My internal hemaroids let me know about the return to formed stools, but they chilled out after a couple of days) and know I rarely if ever have an attack. I am down to 7.5 mgs of BuSpar at night, and hope that I may be able to go drug free soon. I am taking my allergy shots again, and they still upset the GI tract, so I may need to complete those before I can get off of the BuSpar entirely.K.