IBS and Me

Just over three weeks ago now I completely overhauled my food intake and my diet. I wish I could say that this was simply about vanity or the need to lose weight but really it’s so I never almost poop myself again in public. Let me explain:

Back in October the Gay BF and I were taking a road trip to Montréal. Everything seemed hunk-dory. We were on the 401 in the middle of no where when I said it, “I have to go to the bathroom NOW!” We had recently passed a rest stop and another one was at least 45 minutes away. The nearest exit was 20 km from us. I started to panic considering that my lower intestinal track was indicating that I did *not* have 20 km before this situation was going to get disastrous. I tensed every muscle in my body, I started to sweat, my head was pounding and I couldn’t speak (I was terrified to take my focus off not soiling myself & the car seat). I began to worry that I would soon be pooping in the ditch beside the 401 (keep in mind I don’t camp and I’ve never even peed outside before). The Gay BF was chuckling at first, I’m sure I was quite a sight but when I informed him the potential existed for me to sully his car, it stopped being so funny. Finally there was an exit and the promise of a Parks Canada park a few kilometres away from the highway. We stopped at the first place we saw, a motel with a store. I walked up and almost cried when I read the sign that said no public washroom but I went it to try to beg anyway. The owner wasn’t having it. She did direct us to the park just down the road. By this time I am visibly shaking, my muscles are screaming from the tension and I am fully convinced I am going to poop my pants. We get to the park and I leap from the car before it stops dashing towards the washrooms when two men standing by a sewage truck inform me they have just closed the washrooms. I was *this* close to just letting go in front of them. Tears are in my eyes and the one man tells me there is a washroom just up a trail. So I speed walk, too afraid of what running might do at this point. I get to the icky, bug covered outhouse and I start to paper the seat but I didn’t have time. Crying, shaking and pooping on that dirty, cold and wet outhouse toilet – I lost it. My entire body was heaving and contracting. 20 minutes later I emerged. Still crying. Shaken. My insides feeling raw and unsettled. While that was the worst of it, I also blessed the kinda gross bathroom’s at Smoke Meat Pete’s with a visit before we made it into the city proper. All in all. That road trip was disastrous.

I tell you that story so you can understand how and why I’ve made all these changes. That day was the line in the sand for me. I’ve had IBS-D  at least since my early 20s, maybe earlier but in the last few years it has become so problematic and disruptive to my life. I’ve grown use to eating something and heading to the bathroom 20 minutes later. It’s just the way of my life. Earlier this year my doctor gave me medication which is supposed to slow down my spastic colon so I don’t have the urgent feelings. It helped but still it wasn’t enough. After that road trip I knew I needed to do something more. This is where Google saved me. Looking up IBS diet lead me to the FO(O)DMAPS diet.

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym for

Fermentable
Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans)
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
and
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt) (1)

I read that and said, “huh?”

But the more I read, the more I came to understand that perhaps there were a lot more factors influencing my IBS than I thought.

Then I found a list of foods and it started to make more sense. Going gluten-free and lactose free seemed difficult at first but I was also amazed to find out that my tummy wasn’t a fan of foods that are *supposed* to be good for you.

FODMAPs Checklist 

So after getting through the holidays, I bit the bullet and emptied out my kitchen. All the gluten, all the lactose, all the fruits, veggies and prepackaged crap was either given away or thrown away. So for over 3 weeks now I’ve been baking my own gluten free muffins and bread. I’ve been eating much cleaner. Trying to stick to acceptable foods (there are more than what’s on that list). I ordered 3 cookbooks. I’ve been cooking. nothing fancy but satisfying and tasty meals. It’s been a costly endeavour but my Tummy and improved in a way I could never have imagined before.Yes, I still get a little discomfort now and again – it’s not perfect – but if I eat something, I’m not immediately looking for the nearest washroom anymore.Relief.

(1) http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet

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4 thoughts on “IBS and Me

  1. The ways in which not only I get you but commend you cannot be expressed solely in words. IBS has been a plague upon my life for the past three or so years and although I haven’t made as drastic changes as you, I feel like the time has come where I need to. Well done, love!

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