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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did not join this forum for myself, but for my mother. I don't know what else to do and I'm desperate for help, advice, support, anything. She was diagnosed with IBS 9 months ago. She found out concurrently that she had a broken spine. She had an extensive 7 hour surgery last July to correct this problem and as a result has most likely lost her job. She has applied for permanant disability and is in constant pain from this problem in itself. I tell you this because I know stress is a trigger . . . I can't imagine anything more stressful than what she is going through. As for her IBS. She is 46 years old, and has been lactose intolerant since the age of 12. Her IBS was diagnosed via colonoscopy last year. I will add that the results of said test were absurdly normal. At first, with normal treatments, her symptoms were manageable. She was overweight to start with and the 20 lbs. she lost before diagnosis seemed like a godsend to her. About 4 months ago, for whatever reason, things went horribly wrong. She was suddenly unable to eat anything but 15 calorie sugar-free popsicles without immediately losing it in the toilet via painful diarrhea. She was still on painkillers from her operation, and I can't tell you what that month was like. She doesn't remember much of it. I don't suppose that popsicles support healthy brain function. She stopped taking her painkillers, hoping that would help her mental function, and I found something she could eat. I'm a vet tech, and I know it sounds silly, but when we have an animal who is having digestive upset, we feed them baby food. She had some success with the Gerber's chicken flavor . . . although all other flavors caused the bathroom issues. It did hold her over until she could see her doctor. His response to these problems was to say, "we need to find something you can eat", and "we need to decrease the stress in your life" and "you need to exercise". Mind you, her spinal surgery makes both the stress level high, and exercise very difficult, although her orthaepedist put her in physical therapy. So home my mother went . . . she'd lost another 20 or so lbs at this point. Another month or so went by. She tried to eat real food, she got so tired of the babyfood regimen. You can imagine how well that worked. She went back to baby food and popsicles after about four days of trying to use "mind over matter." She went back to her GI doctor. This time he requested bloodwork (all absurdly normal except for low RBCs) and a stool exam (all three samples of which came back with occult blood). I then found out from her that she had been running a consistent low grade fever for the last two months. By now, she has lost a total of 70lbs since the onset of this. She has been having blood with her diarrhea. And she is so depressed (despite being on 2 antidepressants since July) that she often forgets to eat the babyfood in addition to her popsicles. Her GI doctor has finally decided that "something is wrong. I don't know what, but we need to find out." He has recommended an endoscopy, which she will have on the 1st of next month. I am furious because I found a pamphlet from his office. The first paragraph that I saw? "Fever, bleeding, persistent pain, and weight loss are not symptoms of IBS, and may be indicators of something more serious." Why is he just now saying "something is wrong" when she has had these symptoms for months? Could it be that this isn't IBS? It is breaking my heart to see my strong, independant mommy, who raised my brother and I alone and put herself through nursing school in the process, go through this. If we're going somewhere, she won't eat for a day in preparation. She is weepy and depressed and has constant anxiety attacks. It is very difficult to hold conversations with her much of the time because she has trouble focusing and enunciating(I think at least mostly due to the lack of nutrition). We went to lunch for my brother's birthday 2 days ago, and she was in tears before we ordered. She is constantly freezing, no matter the temperature . . . and living in Southern CA, even this time of year can be pretty warm. I don't know why I'm writing this. It's not me that's going through this, and I almost feel guilty for posting, but it's not even 2 am and I can't sleep because I'm so scared for her. I call her daily, and go to her at least once a week, but I'm 40 miles away, and expecting my first child, and not of much help anymore. This is getting too big for me, and I've got no one to turn to. I guess maybe I'm just looking for support, or for someone to tell me that we'll get through this, or that this, in fact, may not even BE IBS as I suspect. Sorry for this immensely long post, and thanks for taking the time to read it.Jamie
 

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Hi Jamie and welcome. The first thing your mom needs to do is get another doctor, ASAP. This doc sounds like he's incompetent. I know I sound like a broken record but, if she lives near a big city, go to a university hospital where they know what they are doing. If there is blood going on it could be crohn's or another IBD. Is it red blood or black stools? She could also have had antibiotics kill all the good guys in her gut. I'm sure it has affected her mentally by now also, anxiety attacks, etc... There's so many possibilities and she needs to see a doc that can pinpoint what the heck is going on. At this point your mom probably does not trust this doc. I've been there with a bad doctor, so I'm betting she feels bitter with this doc right about now. Good luck and keep us informed please.Brett
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just wanted to let those of you who responded to my initial post know that preliminary tests are showing that my mother likely has celiac disease. Between this post and her endoscopy, she lost another 10 lbs. She will undergo a blood test on Monday to see if this is truly the problem. Thanks to those of you who took the time to respond.
 
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