Monday, April 11, 2016


Food is my enemy. The enemy of my digestive system. I've been seeing gastroenterologists for over six years now after nearly two years of problems. I won't get into what I think of gastroenterologists, except it's fair to say some are good and some aren't, but all of them can't solve many problems with anyone's digestive system.

I've been through nearly every test available to gastroenterologists to diagnose physical and some bacterial problems, all of which found a lot of related problems, but nothing about what's  been causing the problems, which has been a series of bacterial issues.

I use the word infection or overgrowth because it fits the symptoms, but hasn't past any of the tests for known infections and overgrowths, but I've learned those tests only focus on known problems, to which everything else is call Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS.

Which to me translates to them saying, "It Bets the Shit" out of me. And for all the conversations I've had, they, or some of them, recognize the symptoms are consistent with a problemd. The rest just dismiss them and me and prescribe probiotics, like it's the wonder drug on the digestive system.

[Note.-- Have you noticed the doctors and companies selling probiotics, never tell you the side or adverse effects of probiotics? They're not the cure-all for digestive problems, and too often exacerbate problems, as with me after trying 4 different ones.]

Even when they've had sample of the bacteria which clearly is the problem, the best they can do to identify it from the sample is call it "aggregate bacteria", meaning it's one of the many in your digestive tract which likely isn't normally there and they don't exactly know what type.

Anyway, long story, and not wanting to bore you, so I'll bore you with an example. As part of living with the problem I live on a restricted diet. a list of foods you can write on a 4x6 postit note with room for doodles. And every week or so I try a food experiment, some food off the list, and judge the reaction.

This last week's food experiment was small, a snack-size box of raisins. Yes, raisins. And as most, probably over 90% of them, go I was sick for 3 days. One gastroenterologist pretty much said since I took penicillin from age 3 to age 18, the age your body starts (at 2-3) and establishes the "normal" bacteria in your digestive tract, that mine was essentially shot.

Shot in terms it never fully established what is normal and from for the rest of my life since then have had problems with food, and worsened starting about 20 years ago, more so since 2008 after a long bout of the flu.

The gastroenterologist worked with me to find a way to have a diet I can eat and my body won't reject or have advere reactions, hence the postit note list. It's a balanced diet, and one I like, but also changes now and then, usually after the flu or simillar illness.

The hardest thing for me is socializing since food is almost always the center of the group, at some pub, restaurant, event or someone's home. Food is always there and pushed at people. The hardest thing is telling folks I can't eat anything there (that's a near 100% certainty now), and why I only drink coffee and on rare occasions, one beer.

My point? Nothing really, except to say, as others say, IBS is real and very personal to the person with it. It's nothing to make fun of or tell them it's not real. It is for them, they live with it. Respect it and what they say.

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