This all started when I was in high school. I remember being at my high school boyfriend’s house and trying to use a bathroom no one would walk by because my stomach was on fire. If it’s still embarrassing for me now at 30, imagine what it was like for a 16-year-old girl. My high school girlfriends were appalled that I could use any restroom I could get to in a hurry and I never “waited” to get home. Let me explain something to you, there is NO WAITING when the urgency is so bad you start sweating and your vision gets blurred.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve driven 100 MPH on the highway or sped through a school zone to get to the nearest bathroom.
Funny story now but not at the time:
During college at Ohio Wesleyan University, I would periodically sign up for some psychology experiments to help out my peers. This particular rainy, cold night I had to get to the lab around 7pm to drink an entire can of Mountain Dew in 5 minutes and then sit with electrodes on to monitor my brain waves and heart patterns. As soon as I drank that can of Mountain Dew, I knew there was going to be a problem. The rumbles started and the cramping began. After 10 minutes in the chair, I asked to use the restroom. The girl running the experiment said, “sorry they are closed after 6pm and I’d have to start the experiment over again.” I tried my hardest and 5 minutes later I told her I was sorry but I really had to go. I ran out of the building only to find the adjacent buildings were also locked and I couldn’t get to a restroom. I had to hide behind a giant rock and a tree to relieve myself and do a different walk of shame back to my dorm room.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to leave a cart full of belongings in a store and run to the restroom. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve stopped at a random exit on the highway to the bathroom. I can tell you that I’m sick of it. I’m tired of being controlled by my stomach.
After that incident in college, my mom made an appointment with a GI doctor in my hometown. I had an exam (mortifying) and was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which I’m learning as I grow older this is just a fluff term for diarrhea or constipation get over it. There was no cure and I was supposed to take a pro-biotic and basically live on Imodium the rest of my life.
A few years later, my new doctor gave me a prescription fora drug that would help with the muscle spasms when the urges are so bad I don’t think I can hold it anymore. For those of you that don’t know this feeling, it’s like an instant onset of the flu. You get hot, cold, sweaty, your heart races, you shake and you just can’t help but be terrified that you are going to crap your pants. It’s very similar to the stomach flu only instantaneous.
Every time I eat at the Olive Garden, I use the restroom before even getting my car. This affects me THAT quickly after eating.
Another issue that tags along with poop problems are farts. I still think they are funny. I laugh if they are in person or on a television show. My husband swears I was born with the man fart gene. I’m pretty sure my farts have been genetically modified by the food industry.
It took me a while to notice the connection but anything with a lot of processed chemicals really will fire up my stomach. Notorious offenders are Weight Watchers Snacks, Skinny Cow Ice Cream treats, Dairy Queen and gum. Yes, gum. It gives you gas folks and makes you bloated. Think about it, you are basically swallowing tons of air bubbles into your stomach and those air pockets have to go somewhere!
One of my old coworkers was diagnosed a few years ago with Celiac disease. She urged me to get checked out but I didn’t believe my issues were as serious, this past year. I had severe lower abdomen cramps the entire Christmas 2011 weekend. I thought maybe I was constipated or had gas from a weekend of indulgences. My mom forced me to go to the urgent care to get it checked out before driving home to Columbus.
The doctor there freaked me out! They did x-rays of my belly and found tons of gas. My intestines looked like stuffed sausages but they were just filled with air. The doctor initially had us thinking maybe appendicitis but then she went on to say she was afraid I had a perforated bowel which would require and immediate surgery and sent us off to the emergency room.
After further discussion with the ER doctor about my history at St. Joe’s in Warren, Ohio – she ordered a CT to check around in there. The CT actually ended up showing that I had a large ovarian cyst rupture on one of my ovaries. But she also suggested I get allergy tested. I told her that I did that this past year and they did not find any allergies on the basic 90 panel test. And then she said it…. “Have you ever been tested for a gluten intolerance or celiac??” I’ve certainly considered the idea.
I decided to do some research and called Dr. Glen Aukerman at Ohio State Integrative Studies. That’s where my friend goes and I heard he is the best. My journey is just beginning. I’m ready to finally make some sort of change in my life and hopefully end this crazy 15 year journey and tour of restrooms. If this works, I will be forever grateful. If not, I will just keep searching for help for this problem and hopefully one day it will get better.
I plan on chronicling my journey for you on my blog here and hope that maybe one or two of you can find humor in my journey to finally end my fight with poop. (I’ll still talk about it though!)
Over the last 9 months, I suffered endlessly with depression, anxiety and frustration. I’ve gone 15 years with significant heath problems and no one being able to figure out what is wrong with me. All the doctors appointments and various specialists could have been avoided if I was just diagnosed correctly in the first place. All the times my mom called me a hypochondriac or my husband watched the cart while I ran to the bathroom in Target – for what? A simple diagnosis.
What has gluten? What is gluten? So many questions and I’m finding so little answers. What’s wrong with our food industry that so many people are getting allergies, diagnosed with Celiac and more. I’m finding that I can’t tolerate lactose either. This website is designed to help all of you who struggle with the same things. I want to support, encourage and educate the world with my research and knowledge on this subject. I wish someone like me existed years ago. I’ve been through so much in the last 4 years. I’m ready to help others down this gluten-free path.