My GI story, part I

My whole life, or at least for as long as I can remember, I have had gut issues. I was that kid who had a stomachache every day and everyone thought I was making it up or didn’t want to go to school. Well part of that is true, I hated school……but I was definitely not making it up.

Symptoms:

  • Nausea (a recent symptom)
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Cramping
  • Upper & lower abdominal pain
  • Brain fog
  • Food sits like a rock in stomach too long
  • Feeling like death and sadness

In 2011 I spent a significant amount of time with GI specialists in Stanford and various other doctors to try and figure out what was going on. The only diagnosis everyone agreed on was IBS.

October of 2015 I began working with the IBS Treatment Center in Santa Monica, CA. It started out promising. They tested for food allergies and intolerances which out of 96 common foods tested, I came back with 2 true allergies (milk and bovine) and 9 intolerances. Another test came back a 1 on a scale of 1-4 (1 being low, 4 high) for Candida in the gut. So the doc put me on a very strict and if I’m being real here, soul crushing diet. I will never do the Candida diet ever again. I’d rather chew rocks into sand.

Cutting all of the offending foods out helped a lot. I thought the milk allergy would be the most difficult to work with, but turns out beef is. Gelatin in particular is in everything…gummy candy, capsules/gel coating on vitamins, supplements & medicine, it’s even nail polish remover, not that I’d drink that but it’s crazy how prevalent it is. It’s really eye opening and a relief to finally be able to look back and connect the dots to why I was so sick all the time. I was beginning to feel like working with the IBS TC was the key to overcoming IBS or at least get me to a point where the daily pain was manageable.

April 2016 everything changed. Mike practically carried me into the ER with severe nausea, upper right abdominal pain that wrapped around to my upper back and radiated to the right shoulder blade. I had a traitor gallbladder that had to be removed. At that point, if they wanted to rip out my appendix, they could have that too.

Surgery went great and I was home recovering when 2 days later I was right back in the ER (on my Birthday, don’t be jealous) with a bad reaction to the pain killers. Then that day ended with being released and my FIL buying a strong laxative. You guys, he didn’t even get me a card to go with it!! So rude, right.

God bless him.<3

Post gallbladder surgery chillin’ with my homie.

May – August 2016 I continued working with the IBS TC to figure out the underlying cause of IBS and helping my body adjust after gallbladder removal. We tried a heavy dose of probiotics, magnesium and added digestive enzymes with every meal. I went rogue and stopped following the soul crushing Candida diet for several reasons.

  •  I wasn’t convinced I had an overgrowth and my doctor couldn’t prove her theory, even with the test results which clearly stated “Yeast, not Candida albicans.” Nothing made sense to me.
  • It wasn’t working. I think anyone who cuts out all sugar (even from natural sources like fruit) will automatically feel better, but it was impossible for me to live a quality life that way.
  •  When I asked my doctor if it’s possible to have a different underlying cause, like SIBO, she said no, but maybe I had a magnesium deficiency. I call bullshit and fired her.

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I want to explain why I lost faith in the IBS TC. Along with the controversy I had with Candida, when I had a follow up with the doc over the phone, she recommended Ox Bile supplements to help aid digestion. Mike & I used a bluetooth speaker so we could all participate in the call and we looked at each other confused as to why she would recommend a bovine product when she diagnosed me with a bovine allergy? We questioned her several times about it and she got a little flustered and said she didn’t have my file up but would review her recommendations with my file after the call and email it to me.

So our insurance company was paying $160 for a 20 minute call and she didn’t even have my file up?? For $8.00 a minute, I would expect her to at least review and have my file up before the call. Now it’s not just about the money, it’s about the lack of sincerity and professionalism on the part of the doctor. I’m hurting, and am desperately looking for answers, but this particular doctor is too busy to open a file while she is on a scheduled call with me. Just come prepared and don’t get flustered or defensive when you’re not ready.

While I had a negative experience, I still believe the IBS TC has the right tools to treat & possibly cure IBS, but they don’t have the right person. The broad strokes were there, but when it came to the fine detail, I didn’t feel confident in her.

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Whew, I didn’t mean to go on a tangent there, but I promise y’all this, I will be 100% real and authentic. I have no filter in real life and I won’t have one here.

I’ll do a part II post that will bring you up to date soon.

Please share your GI story in the comments. I think it would be nice to learn from each other, or if anything know that you are not alone.  

5 Comments on “My GI story, part I

  1. I have had GI issues for most of my adult life. I have had all the tests, upper GI, lower GI, sygmoidoscopy and they all came back normal. I am lactose intolerant, so that was some of the issue. In 2000 I had my gallbladder removed- I had a golf ball sized gallstone in there- and that is when the real problems began. It would be so bad that on the weekends I couldn’t leave the house until after 2 pm to make sure it was safe to venture out. I was put on Cholestyramine in 2008 after I went to a gastroenterologist. That helped. Recently I went to a new doc and she advised me to stop taking the medicine and that perhaps the issues I was still having were gluten. So I have been trying to track my eats and movements and cut down on the gluten. It’s all literally a pain in the butt!!

  2. My husband has ulcerative colitis/ IBS and the thing that essentially has helped his gut was the low fodmap diet. He follows it religiously. It was terrible at first but after a month his gut didn’t give him any issues. My husband went from essentially the same symptoms to free of them. The biggest no no’s on the diet are garlic and onions. Which he ate so often before it. We thought he was allergic to tomato sauce but he really was just allergic to the onions and garlic that irritated his gut.

    • That is so good to hear your husband is doing well! My GI Specialist recommended the FODMAP diet as well, so I may try it out after we do some more testing.

  3. Pingback: My GI story, part II – Skinny Chick Blog

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