I*m writing from Europe and I don’t even know where to start this story of mine. I have lived with stomach issues majority of my life. The older I become, the worse the symptoms get, too. I’m almost 40 now. This issue does run in my family, on both of my parents side. Everyone in my family has digestion issues.
It started with issues with milk chocolate when I was 21. From there, it has spread to cover pretty much all food ingredients. Nothing is save but nothing is good either. Even wrong type of water makes me heavy and bloated. There’s no predicting what’s fine today and what’s not. It’s like playing Russian roulette but with food. Everything in my life revolves around food. Food, food, food. It brings me no joy, only misery and anxiety. The bowl rules my life with its iron fist and I can’t do anything else but pray this merciless God with a wicked mind to be kind with me.
I have tried all possible diets; lactose free, sugar free, a diet meant for sugar allergy patients (SCID), gluten free, keto, vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, soy free, processed food free, fodmap, high fodmap, low fodmap. I even went as far as living 6 months with 20 edible ingredients only. This included all beverages and seasonings, too. I still had problems and flarings; bloating, diarrhea, constipation, burping, heartburn, headaches, period issues. From all these a very strict keto was the best for me (I couldn’t digest everything keto recommends, like eggs, green vegetables and chicken) but it was emotionally and financially too taxing. Especially when it didn’t cure me.
I have tried all natural remedies, too, including mindfulness, mantras, meditation, fasting, detoxing. I make sure I get all vitamins and whatever my body needs from supplements. I don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t do drugs.
This year (2021) I had a doctor do all check-ups except a colonoscopy. A one doctor recommended it for me, but when my health started to improve mysteriously on its own, other doctor saw no need for it. I’ve went through all possible blood tests. There’s no celiac disease, no bleeding bowel, no blood in stool, and the inflammation levels in my body are above normal but only slightly. They did discover a severe iron anemia which is said to be linked to digestion issues. I don’t know if it’s the cause or the result in my case.
One of the doctors did prescript me a strong anti-acid reflux medication when I went to his office bloated like a pregnant goat and crying because I felt I was going to die. I started to take it daily and behold! 90% of my symptoms disappeared! In 6 weeks, I had only 2 flare ups, though the other one of them was a severe. Before the medication, I had diarrhea flare ups 2-5 times a week.
As you can see, the anti-acid reflux medication hasn’t healed me or taken away my problem. I still get issues. I’m feeling a bit disheartened because whatever I eat, I might get a flare up. Anytime, anywhere, even with the medication. Should I follow a strict diet or eat whatever the hell I want, when both give the same result? I wish I could eat without fear and worry.
I still don’t eat when I travel or if I have to be somewhere; from shopping to movies and from going to meet a friend to the other side of the globe to a visit in doctor. I can go fasting for days and I eat only when I have either arrived my destination or returned back home – aka I’m in the same proximity with a toilet.
Currently, I’m hoping the anti-acid reflux keeps working because otherwise I can’t work in a normal job. I’m hanging in a 0-contract job at the moment because I can work from home, from close to toilet. Financially it’s pretty much useless but health wise it’s the only decision I have now.
I’m dreaming of a better career and moving to a new country, where I think I might not be able to get a remote work but I have to list myself into normal job markets. I’m pretty horrified that I’ll come across as an unreliable employee if I get a flaring every month and then it takes 3-5 days to recover from it. Or worse, I’ll soil myself at work.