For the first time ever, I went to an appointment about my IBS and didn’t leave 10 minutes later, in floods of tears. While that might not mean much to you, to me, this was a BIG deal.
I usually find myself flustered after the doctors have exhausted every test, talked through every different type of medication, told me to reduce my stress levels, do regular exercise, watch what I eat and then run out of things to say, that I leave my rushed appointment in tears. I’ve never felt like I was getting anywhere with the professionals.
You see, I’ve tried all the medication. Seriously, all of it. Mebeverine, Colpamin, Buscopan, blah blah blah. None of it worked for me. I play netball and take zumba classes, regular exercise checked. I now meditate, do sleep hypnosis and attempt yoga to keep my stress levels in check. I have a pretty good grip over what I can and can’t eat. I tracked down Symprove and struck up an awesome relationship with the team there. I reached out to Sam, aka the ruler of the Gut Health Empire and together we’re planning gut health empire takeover. My point being, these are all things I’ve achieved on my own.
So when I went to the doctors about a month ago, got past the blood test and stool sample (I can’t even begin to tell you how many I’ve had over the past 10 years), and practically begged to be referred to a dietician who specialised in FODMAPs, I was pleasantly surprised when I got a text confirming my appointment. Because I genuinely put it to the back of mind, thinking that it would never bloody happen. That’s how much hope I’d lost.
My IBS BFF (hola Sam!) has had great success following the low-FODMAP diet and while I’ve been following it loosely on my own, I want to be educated further. I want to know the ins and out. Exactly how much broccoli can I eat before my stomach blows up. Why can I only eat the green part of spring onions but not the white? How do I even go about reintroducing foods I’ve otherwise ruled out?
I went to the dietician with a mix of anxiousness and belief and had the best meeting ever. I was incredibly honest and said that really, I’ve found what works for me, without the help of a doctor. We raved about Symprove together (the only probiotic that’s clinically proven to work don’tcha know), we spoke about my diet, my understanding of what I can and can’t handle and if I’m getting enough calcium with my diary-free diet.
We spoke about my main triggers; dairy, gluten, onions, garlic and anything acidic. She weighed me, measured me and marked my poo off on a chart. We went through my symptoms; the bloating, the excruciating cramps, the urgency, the diarrhoea, the nausea, the extreme lethargy…
She was so positive, I found myself really opening up. She said she was impressed with everything I’d figured out and said that I’d be a perfect candidate for a FODMAP group at my local hospital. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to cry happy tears.
I left my appointment with a spring in my step and the biggest grin on my face and immediately rang Al and my mum to tell them everything.
I’ve now had confirmation and start my 6 week FODMAP course in January. A new year, a new start for my IBS and I.
If you take anything from this post let it be this, keep going. Keep pushing your doctor for more options, demand more and demand better. Beg them if you have to to meet a dietician. If I can get to this point after 10 years of living with IBS, then you can too. I’ve got your back.
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