What do I know now that I wish I had known when I was first diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? First and foremost, the fact that I am not alone in my IBS journey.
When I was first diagnosed, I knew nothing about irritable bowel syndrome. Turning to the internet and reading everything I could find about IBS, I found some of the information useful, and a lot that was not. I learned that there are different types of IBS. I was introduced to the low FODMAP diet and the importance of exercise.
Since I also have gastroparesis, I had to work on a diet that included foods that were safe for both conditions.
I found supplements that help IBS. I had been taking probiotics since my first colon resection. Adding digestive enzymes, folic acid, magnesium, peppermint oil capsules, and soluble fiber did help. I also take medication for gas.
Being a myIBSteam member has been like someone throwing me a life preserver. The most life changing thing for me has been a daily glass of prune juice that was suggested by a member. That, in combination with the soluble fiber, has allowed me to have daily bowel movements. I was taking a laxative every three days, now I haven't taken one for two months!
Members who were strangers now feel like friends. They are a very caring, supportive, and knowledgeable group. When they don't have an answer, they have a hug, and that means a lot.
I still have daily abdominal pain, for which I utilize a heating pad when needed.
When going on the myIBSteam site, there are always members who suffer more than myself. That helps me to avoid the "poor me" attitude I had before.
When I first started replying to member posts, a member posted, "Hope, please." I thought long and hard about my response. I didn't feel like I had a lot of hope, but then I realized I did.
Hope for a cure. Hope for medication that is effective and affordable. Hope for days that are pain and symptom free. There is hope when living with IBS.
This article was written by myIBSteam member Janette as part of the My Perspective series. Janette enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with her family.
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