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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Brand new to this forum. Thought I would share my story. A little background on myself: 31yr old female, slightly overweight (but hopefully not for long), former pack a day smoker but have been down to less than two packs a week for the last year. It all started about 3.5 years ago when I had my first panic attack. It came out of nowhere on my first day at a new job. I was fine all morning, then suddenly began to feel like I was coming down with the flu or something. Felt light headed, nauseated, hot/cold flashes. It was really scary. I immediately went to the ER thinking I was sick. After hours of waiting, the doctor told me I didn't have a fever and seemed healthy. He said my symptoms were pretty vague so he gave me a few valiums and that was that.

When these attacks kept happening (mostly when I was at work or in social situations), I diagnosed myself as having anxiety. My twin sister has been suffering with anxiety issues since high school, so I was familiar with the symptoms and they seemed to fit. I decided that I did not want to rely on medication to feel better, so over time I learned how to manage my attacks and after about a year or so they had practically vanished. But along the way I had noticed that I'd developed some unpleasant digestive issues that came and went. I associated them with stress and with my poor eating habits at the time. I also used to drink beer on a regular basis and wasn't very physically active. Ironically, I weighed about 30 pounds less back then.

Fast forward to about eight months ago. Everything was good, work was stressful but I was doing well at coping, in a stable relationship with a great guy. I was still smoking but only at work, so still less than two packs a week. Very rarely drinking anymore, maybe one or two beers a week at the very most. And I started working out regularly. My boyfriend and I moved in together and we both continued to eat healthy and work out. Around that time, however, I noticed that my bathroom habits changed. I had never had a regular schedule, but suddenly I seemed to always have an urgency to go to the bathroom within an hour of waking up every day. It would come on suddenly as I was getting ready for work, and often I would end up having to go two or three times before I even left the house. Usually it would go from fairly solid to less and less solid depending on how many times I had to go. I didn't think too much of it, thought it was just a part of getting older.

Fast forward again to around December 2013. I was still having the urgency every morning, but it was beginning to intensify. Sometimes I would have to go as many as six or seven times between waking up at 6:30am and noon, meaning I was having to take a lot of bathroom breaks at work. Some days I felt physically ill along with it. My stomach would be gurgling, I wouldn't have much of an appetite, I'd feel cold and then hot for no reason. I had been watching what I ate, sticking mostly with home made chicken and fish dishes and avoiding fast food (aside from a few slices of pizza every couple week.) I started to think that maybe it was lactose intolerance, even though I'd never had an issue with dairy before. So I cut way back on my dairy intake, hoping I'd see some relief. No such luck, however.

It was around this time that I started noticing small amounts of bright red blood and mucous in my stool. It wasn't always there, but it happened enough times that I was starting to get very scared. I made an appt. with a GI specialist, and after a brief consultation she scheduled me for a colonoscopy. The prep day was absolutely horrible, but the procedure itself wasn't bad at all. She found a very large polyp in my sigmoid colon (30mm) and removed it. Luckily it was hyperplastic so no cancer worries, and she didn't find any evidence of other conditions like Crohn's or colitis. On Monday she diagnosed me with IBS and started me on Librax twice a day to help manage the symptoms.

I also have been suffering from acid reflux this past year, so she has me scheduled for an EGD this Friday. Hopefully there won't be anything serious discovered during that procedure, and she'll prescribe me something to take care of the reflux as well. I'm taking a week off work between now and the procedure to give me time to adjust to the Librax. Hoping it's effective as my work has been slipping lately due to this IBS situation.

That is my story! Not sure what to expect now, just trying to educate myself as I know this is something I'll probably have to live with for a long time. Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated! Glad to know I'm not alone in this :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update - Had my upper endoscopy last week, doctor found several developing ulcers and confirmed acid reflux. Haven't gotten the biopsy results back yet. Thinking about finding a new doctor, mine is good at the actual procedures but she barely speaks English, she hasn't given me very helpful instructions on what to do about my ulcers, and it takes her a long time to return my phone calls.

Since my procedure, I've had two non-consecutive bad days. Woke up in the middle of the night both times with the gurgling volcano feeling in my stomach, had a very hard time getting back to sleep. Took some Pepto but that didn't do much. Been taking the Librax twice a day, along with Prilosec OTC and my probiotic. Also been tracking my boring diet, but can't seem to find any trigger that would explain why some days are good and some bad.

Had to leave work today and come home due to my upset stomach and nausea. Doctor finally called me after three days of me trying to reach her. I explained my symptoms and she didn't really ask any questions. Just told me she was going to prescribe Carafate and also order a catscan of my abdomen. I'm starting to feel like her practice cares more about scheduling expensive procedures they can bill insurance companies for than actually treating/curing their patients. I'll probably go ahead with the catscan, but almost feel like it isn't necessary. All my current symptoms seem to indicate ulcers and acid reflux.

Found out my aunt had similar issues and started using Mastic Gum and Manuka Honey. She found them to be very effective. Since I trust Mother Nature a lot more than pharmaceutical companies, I am going to give both of those a try. If any one has any advice for me, it would be much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I believe that is what the biopsy is testing for. I've read a lot of horror stories about the antibiotic treatment they use for it. I just want to feel normal again.

Afraid I might lose my job because of this, and with it my insurance.
 

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mb83-You might want to look in to being tested for C-diff infection. It is caused (a lot of the times) by taking antibiotics that wipe out both the bad and the good bacteria and leave you with a c-diff infection. You're experience sounds a lot like mine. After going to many doctors, the University of Chicago, and the Mayo Clinic, for 2 1/2 years, I finally convinced my General Practioner to refer me to an infectious disease doctor. Although I had been tested for c-diff by the GI doctors, I was retested by the Infectious Disease doctor (I think they use a more sensitive test) and within a matter of days I was diagnosed with c-diff. C-diff gives off toxins which gives you those "sick" feelings you have described. Anyway, after several tries of antibiotic treatment specific for c-diff and received an infusion from the research department that was supposed to keep the c-diff from returning, I was finally scheduled for a fecal transplant and have been symptom free ever since. It is definitely worth looking in to. I'm glad I didn't just decide to "live with" my so called IBS symptoms. I've gotten my life back. I hope you do as well. Hang in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your advice. My boss as actually suggested I could take short term disability leave, but I don't know the specifics of what it entails. Also, it's a little complicated because I'm the Exec Assistant to the CEO of a large organization and she is concerned about my long term ability to do my job. So am I lately, hoping the treatments start working soon. Otherwise I might end up jobless and without insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Refuse to live this way - thanks for your input. The only thing my current specialist tested me for was Celiac disease, apart from everything she was looking for but didn't find during the colonoscopy and endoscopy. I'm the type of person that is rarely sick, apart from a random cold. I can't even remember the last time I took antibiotics for anything, but it's probably been at least two years. I just hope I can find a doctor that thinks like a detective and wants to solve this case. My current doc doesn't really seem to care that much.

Appreciate all your feedback! And glad to hear your feeling better :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update - Got my test results back and they were negative for H Pylori. There was inflammation, they say it's gastritis. I'm taking four giant sulcrafate pills a day for the ulcer, two prilosecs for the acid reflux, two Librax for IBS, and going to keep taking the Mastic Gum twice a day as well. Never taken so many pills in my life. I'm hoping they start to work soon as I had to call into work again today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Updates: Well, I switched doctors earlier this month because I really didn't like the fact that my original specialist barely asked questions and was hard to get in touch with. All she ever seemed to do was prescribe pills and procedures. My new doctor is great. He took detailed notes on my history, made copies of all my previous paperwork and test results. Even called me personally the day after my appointment to let me know that my lab work came back normal. After reviewing the results of my endoscopy, he does not believe I have ulcers and told me I should stop taking the sulcrafate for now. He prescribed me Prilosec, which I take twice a day along with the Librax and probiotics. I've definitely been improving, still have bad days but nowhere near as bad.

I did end up deciding that since my job was causing me a large amount of stress, it might be time to move on. I gave my notice and am finishing up my last few weeks with the company while looking for a new position. Hoping to find something with similar pay but a lot less stress and overtime. Might get some offers this week, fingers crossed!

As far as my symptoms go, I still get the acid reflux now and then but it's not as severe. The Librax seems to help with the IBS-D. I have noticed though that I'll be constipated for a day or so, then wake up with some cramping and end up going three to five times within a few hours. And the BMs have been huge. It's definitely better than having diarrhea all the time, but still kind of frustrating especially now that I have all these interviews lined up. I'm wondering if there is another pill other than Librax that might be more consistent. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this. Maybe it's related to the cleanse I had to do for my colonoscopy.

All in all, life is improving slowly but surely.
 
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