Hey, everybody. I'm 27, a second-year master's student, and I also teach first-year composition (yes, I'm an English major). Anyway, I'm IBS-C&D, have been for about four years, but just received the "official diagnosis" this week. I can really empathize with what all of you have said. In fact, I have class later today and am wondering exactly how to warn my professor that I may need to run out of class (it's a bad day--anticipating the switch from C to D). I second the suggestion to contact disability services at your school. Most universities I know of take compliance very seriously, so if you're uncomfortable talking to individual professors, going through disability services might be your best bet. I'd urge you to think about talking to your professors, however. You know their personalities better than I, of course, but you may be surprised. I know my students tend to think I'm very strict (and in some ways I definitely am), but I'm also human and have a heart. Of course, I'm in an English department, and we English types are notorious for being a bit eccentric.
On the other hand, the field is also very competitive, and there's lots of posturing (too many Ph.D.'s and not enough jobs will do that to a field). So maybe our fields aren't too different.In terms of how I get through classes, I'm actually fairly fortunate (if that can ever be said of IBS!) in that my symptoms almost always happen at night, after classes are over. However, when cramping does hit during a class and I absolutely can't leave, I do lots of deep breathing and try to focus on one point (the professor's face, the wall, whatever). That seems to help beause it calms me, and my IBS is always triggered my stress (the more I worry about having an attack, the worse the attack gets--you know the drill). That's just a little thing, but it really seems to help me get through until I can get to the bathroom. I have had a lot of trouble with getting sick while at professional conferences, however, and the best way I've found to deal with that is just to spend some time alone in my hotel room, relaxing. If I get too wrapped up in attending every single session and meeting anyone who could ever hire me, I'll get sick for sure. I have to make myself slow down.I love grad school, too, and am doing really well, but between school and my health, it's definitely stressful! It's great to have this board and know I'm not alone, with school or IBS.