In early 2010 I caught a textbook case of gastroenteritis (AKA the stomach flu) and my stomach was never the same.
Something about that illness seriously altered the way my insides behave.
The summer of 2010 I began having issues such as loose stools, stomach pain, and chronic nausea. My stomach issues became less chronic over the course of the summer, and for weeks at a time I would feel ‘normal’. My issues however began coming in ‘episodes’. It would start with a run of constipation, followed by periods of diarrhea/stomach pain. This led to a fear of going pretty much anywhere. I was afraid to eat out, I got anxious just going to the mall. So, I went to the doctor, and he diagnosed me with anxiety. I was placed on a small dose of anti-anxiety medication, which didn’t help.
Occasionally my episodes of loose stool would wake me up urgently in the middle of the night (thankfully this hasn’t happened in a while). It even happened on vacation in 2012 when we were in a camper with no bathroom. Anyone ever try to hold that kind of movement in while running across a dark campground to the public toilet? Probably not. So, it’s safe to say that it’s one reason I won’t go camping again. It’s also a reason I am now so afraid to travel.
Thinking about travel makes my stomach hurt. Literally. Sharp pains, cramps, the whole works. Then, I can’t think of anything else, which zaps my energy and willingness to do anything spontaneous. One of the only ways I can do anything when I feel this way is to load up on anti-diarrheal meds. I used to take Imodium but that backed me up badly, so I started taking Pepto which calms my nerves and doesn’t stop me up. I digress.
In 2013 I visited a Gastroenterologist who performed an upper endoscopy, and a colonoscopy. Some benign polyps, but no signs of anything ominous. I was put into the all-encompassing category of IBS, although never officially diagnosed.
This has been my life for the last six years. Off and on episodes of loose stool followed by sharp stomach pains, lack of appetite, and nausea. It affects all aspects of my life and has led to me being labeled as ‘no fun’. I used to be fun. I want to be fun again. I want to go on a road trip and not have to think about how long until the next rest stop, and without fear of my stomach misbehaving. Will I ever get there? I’m not sure.
I have an appointment with a new GI doctor tomorrow, and I know he will want to run tests. As much as I don’t want to do them I will, because I do want to figure out what’s going on. I may not be normal, but I want my stomach to feel ‘normal’ again.
Will keep you updated.