Overseas Diagnosis

AGS | 8:06

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"Almost immediately, I stopped feeling pain."

IBS Colonics Diet Colon Spasms Antispasmodic

Story Transcript

So for most of my life, I've dealt with IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I wasn't really aware of what was going on with my body for quite a long time. It wasn't until I actually went to get colonics. I started getting like colonics and this woman was like your bowel is like overgrown with yeast and it's feeding on sugar and, and all this stuff because I was just having like massive amounts of pain and gas and like lots of poop and things like that. Not a glamorous existence. And it was like through her that I started learning a lot about gut health, and I basically took myself off eating any kind of sugar or gluten or processed foods and things like that for like several months. And I think did like a reset of my gut health. And after that, I went gluten-free because even though I didn't test for celiac, I would have like weird reactions to wheat a lot of the time, both digestively and also like in my like skin. So that was for about like four years of my life. And then back in 2015 my mom passed away from cancer and obviously it was like a super super stressful period of time in my life. And she passed away in September, and in December, I got my period and all of a sudden I started feeling like this sharp pain in my lower right abdomen during my menstrual cycle, and that happened for like the next several months.

And then the following year, about the same time that my mom had died, my husband and I were preparing to go travel the world for 10 months. We were like leaving both of our jobs. We had put everything in storage. We had been like saving for three years, and I know this seems like insignificant, but my cat, like one of my cats named Rawr Rawr, in August, got diagnosed with cancer. And I was like beyond like sad about it and upset because I was like really like it's around the same time that my mom died last year from cancer and like can I not escape this disease? And then we were also leaving, so I had to figure out like care for her as well, and it was a total mess and it was about that time that the pain I had been experiencing in my lower right abdomen really flared up, like where during the day I would have these attacks where I couldn't do anything except like lay down or sit very still. And I like really, I changed my diet again, and I like just took out everything I could think that was possibly irritating it like dairy or anything. And I decided to finally go to like a gastroenterologist. But I did this like only like a week and a half before I was supposed to leave the country. And around that time the guy that I went to, the doctor that I went to was like, Okay, we're gonna do an MRI of your entire abdomen and we're gonna give you a colonoscopy. And I was like, okay and did both of those things and didn't find anything. And basically at the follow up appointment with him, after both of those procedures, he was like, Oh, it's probably nothing and it'll go away on its own. And meanwhile, I was like still in a lot of pain. And I'm like, Oh my God I'm gonna be like traveling with this. And I did. I actually traveled the world in chronic pain like for the next 10 months, not understanding what was going on with my body and having it impact things that I could do.

So like, my husband and I went to Scotland and we actually climbed Ben Nevis like all the way to the top, which is one of the more insane things I've done because I'm not like an avid hiker or anything. And you know I was really anxious because I just thought, Oh my God, am I gonna have like an attack on this hike? And I was really kind of waffling. My husband really wanted to do it. And I was like, I don't know. I was really dragging my feet. And you know, I did it. I pushed through, and I don't, I don’t remember that I had an attack or anything, but it just like really dampened a lot of the experiences that I could have had. So then, after that, as if we didn't go through enough transition, we decided to move to Paris, France. And we did that like pretty much right after we were done traveling, so we didn't come back to America. But I was still getting the pain quite regularly every day. I didn’t go for walks very much. Like when I went walking, I had to take it really slow. I had to walk, like I was elderly, you know like I had some kind of like, I don’t know, massive back problem or something, and it really sucked. And finally I was like, Okay, you know what? I'm just gonna go to a gastro here. I'm gonna see what they say and get a second opinion.

And I went to this doctor. You know, fortunately, there's socialized healthcare in France. So I was able to you know see a specialist for like 125 euro, which is a lot, like he was one of the more expensive ones, but to us it’s like not actually a lot. And he did something that I hadn't experienced with the first gastroenterologists, but also just doctors in general, where I was able to sit down with him and I was like so afraid that this wouldn't happen, but he listened to everything that I had to say. He listened to my entire history with this problem, which I thought was like chronic appendicitis. I was like convinced I had been on like IBS forums and like it was like similar symptoms because everybody's like there's nothing else on that side, blah blah blah. But I was able to sit down across from this doctor and describe everything that was happening and he really actually heard me. And then he just did like a physical, like outside exam on my abdomen. And when I sat up, he said, I think what you have is a spasming colon. And I was like, Really? And he said, and I said, Well, okay, how do I treat that? And he said, You know, basically antispasmodics. And he's like there are several ones that you can try, and if one doesn't work, then you can try another one and you can control it like this. I don't remember if he said that it would go away, but he definitely was like, I think this is what it is and you could at least get on these pills to help control your pain. And so he gave me a six week course of one. I don't remember what it was, especially because it was in France, it’s probably different medication. And I took it for six weeks and like almost immediately, I stopped feeling pain and I was like really cautiously like, Oh my God, is this real? Like am I really not in pain? Or you know, feeling like, Oh, I’m gonna get an attack like any minute, like this isn't gonna last. And really, after the six weeks, it was for the most part, gone or very diminished. And then I ended up getting pregnant not long after that. And for some reason I think that really cleared out my system too. But I never had any issues after that again. And it was kind of amazing. So, that's my story.