I have been going through debilitating intestinal cramps almost daily (usually in the morning) for about 15 years now. I am a 30 year old female and the symptoms are only getting more frequent and severe. Sometimes I will be in the bathroom for about an hour in the morning in crippling pain, other times I can be back and forth all morning dealing with the same issue. I’m a teacher, now in my 6th year, and I cannot remember working one year without this issue. To avoid missing my classes at work, I arrive at 6:30 AM. I do not start working until 8:00 AM. I wake up at 4:20 AM to get ready for work and give myself an hour to use the bathroom at home, if needed. I am exhausted from having to plan my life around these terrible symptoms. IBS has made me a very paranoid, panicked, and anxious person.
These are the tests and procedures I’ve had done: 3 endoscopies, 2 colonoscopies, a pillcam procedure, upper and lower GI X-rays, CT scan of the abdominal and pelvic region, uterine ultrasound, pelvic ultrasound, and last-a surgery to check for endometriosis which ended in a small complication, landing me in the hospital for a week and still with no answers. I have been told by every doctor that my insides could not be any healthier in appearance. I have no signs of celiacs, crohns, colitis, or any of those bowel disorders/diseases. I have also done elimination diets, which proved to just make me lose my sanity completely.
I am sure most of you with IBS feel the same way: How can pain this intense and severe not be caused by something terrible? I have a hard time myself believing that food causes me this much pain. I barely make it the whole 15 minute ride to work in the morning without having to use the bathroom. Ive called out of work when I was right in front looking for parking because I needed to use the bathroom urgently. I question everything I eat, and then other times I just eat it anyway because I am always suffering regardless of how careful I am. I love work and enjoy what I do but feel like I can’t do it to my full potential because of my disability.
Going to NYC, which is 10 minutes from my house is a close to never visit because the traffic makes me doubt if I can actually succeed in getting in and out of the city without needing a bathroom. I wouldn’t wish this problem on anyone. It constantly makes you doubt what you can do and you always find yourself creating excuses to avoid situations that you would normally enjoy. I also wake up at an ungodly hour just to use the bathroom before anyone else gets up or walks into work so that I have my privacy and time. The worst part is when employers hear IBS they don’t treat it as a serious problem when it is awful. I am currently taking dicyclomine once a day in the morning. It doesn’t help much but I like to tell myself it does.