My story with illness started when I was approximately 2 years old. Because I dealt with so many ailments I’m going to list them under the range of years that they occurred.
2 years – 6 years – Tonsillitis and the introduction of antibiotics. How often my tonsils became infected I’m not sure. I do remember my mother telling me (who was a nurse) that she would hold my tongue down in the height of a fever to stop me from swallowing it. The introduction of antibiotics for me and my mother was, I imagine, a great relief. The tonsils finally came out when I was 6 as that was the age in the 1960’s that was preferred for tonsillectomies.
6 years – 9 years – Urinary Tract Infections, Bladder Infection, Kidney Infection, Liver Infection. Treated with more antibiotics. Knowing what we know now about antibiotics I can only assume that the amount of antibiotics that I had swallowed would have well and truly destroyed my gut which would have lead to the infections in the first place.
9 years – 11 years – I was labelled with psychosomatic conditions from as early as 9 years old, when I developed severe lower abdominal cramps that would double me up in pain. I had already been prescribed a number of antibiotics for infections in my bladder, kidneys and liver. This was around the late 60’s early 70’s. After a series of psychological tests I was then diagnosed with a spastic colon or medically known then as “spastic-colitis”. The understanding that the medical world had then of IBS was limited and the treatment often included but not restricted to courses of SSRI’s (Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). While I was not aware of the drug I was taking at the time (being 9 yrs old) I knew that I took 1 of these tablets once a day and was on them for the best part of 2 years. In fact I only came off them when after almost 2 years of chronic pain and no relief indicated from the “little white pill” I was charged into emergency surgery only to discover that my bowel had wrapped itself around my appendix. No kidding! Sounds like something from a horror story! No more little white pills for awhile anyway.
11 years – 18 years – Almost a period of remission. I say almost as I had no repeats of infections or surgery. However on a daily basis I dealt with bloating, twisting of the colon muscle, sore abdomen, wind, and a combination of constipation and diarrhea, fog heads, tiredness and headaches.
18 years – Bowel passage closed over – due to (according to the doctor I was seeing at the time) – not enough dietary fibre. Introduced more fibre.
19 years onwards – Still dealt with all the symptoms of IBS. Began the long and painful process of trying to find a cure and at best a management program to ease the pain and symptoms of this horrid condition. Trying different diets, methodologies, philosophies, vitamins, yoga, CBT (as one doctor told me – my illness was all in my head or at least my emotions) I also tried not eating anything to then eating everything. Yes for a brief stage I wrestled with Anorexia but fortunately it didn’t set deep enough into my system to become a mental state and I was able to rationalize what I was doing. And then I would have long stages of, as most people do when they are dealing with a chronic state of illness, – I ignored it! It worked some days and didn’t work on others. I tried ignoring it with past times like recreational drugs and alcohol both of which did no good at all except shutting out what I was tired of dealing with. In amongst this I dealt with all the secondary conditions that seemed to be associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome – sinus, PMT’s, muscle cramping, aches, pains, and food related allergies and intolerances. I was the Queen of Elimination diets and the “healthiest” sick person around.
30 years + – Time is ticking on and I’m desperate to be married and start a family. Dealing with depression and anxiety (another symptom of digestive disorders) this seemed like an insurmountable task. I had already had several long term relationships, been married and divorced! I finally marry and fall pregnant at the age of 35 years. Gave birth to my first child and suffered sever post natal depression. Have never agreed with prescription drugs for depression and chose other methods to get through this including; returning to work, exercise, and having some time to myself.
37 years – Anaphylaxis episode. Caused by a dried fruit and nut mix bought from the airport. Went to RPA Allergies Clinic where the diagnosis was not an allergy but my tolerance ability had tipped the scale and was now in overload. Another elimination diet. 38 years – Gave birth to my second baby. Had an emergency caesarian as the baby was breech. Recovered quite quickly all the while still managing the IBS. Anaesthetics do not help IBS symptoms as well as the post surgery antibiotics. Small joint pain mainly and large joint pain sometimes had surfaced after this surgery and plagued me on a daily basis. Some days I would feel pain from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I discovered that Panadol Forte would numb the pain and literally lived on it for 12 months. I make no qualms that when you have been in as much pain as I have for as long as I have you will often not give a dam what you take in order to escape the pain!
39 years – 41 years – By now we had made the decision to homeschool so was home full time with my children. Managing IBS sometimes through diet and sometimes not at all.
42 years – 45 years – Fell pregnant and miscarry 3 times in the next 2 years. Each time requiring a DNC plus post surgery antibiotics. My body completely gives up after the 3rd and consequently the last one. Wake up approximately 2 weeks later with Nuerological symptoms through the left side of my body and face. Symptoms subside but recommended by doctor to see a Nuerologist. By the time I get in (6 weeks later) to see the specialist his diagnosis is that nothing is wrong and an MRI at my age (over 40) is not advisable as he may find black spots that he can’t explain. Work with a physiotherapist to strengthen my pelvic area and core muscles as they are so weak from miscarriages and surgeries. Still have debilitating IBS symptoms. Rapidly losing weight. Decided to go with a medical approach and find the best gastroenterologist in my area and proceed with a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy. He took over 30 biopsies in my colon with the end result being nothing wrong with me other than I have IBS and I should keep away from the foods that make me feel unwell. Fortunately I had done some homework before I went back for the results and had searched on a hunch the subject of parasites. After doing a bowel stool analysis the result comes back positive (Dientamoeba fragilis). The specialists treatment – 11 antibiotics per day for 10 days. No way! Fortunately I know of another Doctor who can treat me but from a different approach. I take a treatment based on Chinese Wormwood and after 2 dozes of 10 days and another bowel stool analysis the parasite has been dealt with. So why am I still losing weight. Still have the aches and pains and still have diarrhea attacks. I find another doctor who has a theory about zinc and copper levels that he treats me for, however, it is the practitioner that works in his office that provides the breakthrough. Her diagnosis, Candidiasis (yeast overgrowth) fit with all the symptoms I had including IBS. I started on the B.E.D. (Body Ecology Diet) and 12 months later I was 85% better then I had ever felt in my life.
46 years – 49 years – It’s been nearly 4 years that I have been living relatively “pain free”. I’ve had to work at my diet, tweaking here and there and the cycles of IBS symptoms have gotten further and further apart to finally this year I have had none. Through all this I have discovered some wonderful treatments and remedies that have worked so well for me and I hope and pray that they will work for you as well.