Exciting things are going to be happening with my blog in the next few weeks (magical things, I’m so excited!). However, that’s not the point of this post. I’ve had a look through my previous posts, and despite this blog not being a diabetes-specific blog, a lot of my posts relate to my experiences with diabetes.
Something else that plays an important part in my life (I wish I didn’t) is my struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The day I first realised I had problems, is a day that I will never forget. Thursday 24th February 2011. At the time, I was working in a (horrid) library with the Lovely Libby. Probably the worst job I’ve had, but that’s a story for another day.
The one good thing about working in the library, was the fact that we were about 10 feet away from the pub. This was where I spent most of my lunch times. It’s a hard life. Now, this Thursday was no different from any other Thursday. Work was going terribly, but it was nearly the weekend. Come lunchtime, I ordered a pint of diet coke, found my regular little corner in the pub and sneakily ate my homemade sandwiches.
An hour and half later, I was in the most pain I have ever been in. Apart from a broken bone, I had never cried with pain, before. Until this day. I felt like a gremlin was trying to tear out my stomach, simultaneously squeezing it as tight as possible. The nausea that came with it, was horrible.
I don’t know how I managed it, but I left work and somehow managed to make it home. Crawling into my bed, I cried like a baby. What was this horrible pain, and what had caused it? I was gutted, as I had plans to go out to eat that night. Anyone who knows me, will know that for me to cancel a date with lovely food, something must be wrong.
Two days later, I was no better. The pain hadn’t eased, I still felt something was destroying my body. That Saturday then, my mum decided that enough was enough, and I needed to see a doctor. Sitting in A&E, hunched over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I was in too much pain to even worry.
The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, so sent me home with a set of painkillers. I felt tired, miserable and just wanted the pain to be gone.
After numerous visits to my GP, scans and a gastroscopy, it was confirmed that I have IBS. However, more than a few professionals have said that IBS is often used as a diagnosis, if nothing else can be found. It’s a last resort. This is frustrating, as I do feel I have been simply pushed aside.
Nevertheless, there isn’t much I can do. What’s annoying, is that I don’t always know what causes my IBS to flare up. I know I can’t eat bread or drink milk. BUT I can shove a huge pizza down me, and be fine. So where’s the logic in that?! I have a few suspicions about other intolerances – I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I can’t handle mushrooms or olives. This makes me sad, because they’re my favourites to have on a pizza. Coffee is another culprit, which is disastrous, seeing how tired I always am! I’ve tried keeping a food diary, and have seen a nutritionist, but my IBS likes to keep me guessing. I can have something to eat one day and be fine. I can have the same thing the next week, and I can have agonising stomach cramps for a week. Go figure.
7 months later, I was diagnosed with type 1.5 diabetes. If you ask me, my IBS was very much to do with the onset of my diabetes. I’ve spoken to a few people who have similar problems. I know it is said there is a link between diabetes and coeliac, but I’ve been tested 3 times, and I’m definitely not coeliac.
So now I have diabetes and IBS. Both are invisible conditions, and neither have a cure. Even though diabetes can have some ever so damaging effects on the rest of the body, there are days when my IBS is so much more difficult to handle. I’ve tried so many things to ease the pain, the cramps and the nausea, but it seems I just have to ride out the pain.
Does anyone else have IBS or stomach-related problems? And if you do, what do you do to ease it? Is there anything? I’m tempted to just go to Argos and ask for an exchange for a body that works!
EDIT: As I’ve written this, I’m currently suffering an IBS flare up thanks to Starbucks giving me normal milk, instead of soya milk. Booooo.