The year is 2018 and I have now suffered from IBS for four years. In my previous article I talked about when it all started, now I’m going to talk about how I am today. I’m going to do this in a top 10 style, just so I don’t ramble on for too long. For a long time I was convinced that there was something more wrong with me, but after my last visit to the doctor, I have now accepted the fact I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Why did it take me so long to accept? Denial is a powerful thing. That is a pretty good place to start the top 10:
- Acceptance – I have accepted, finally, that I have IBS, in particular IBS-D which means it gives me the “back door trot.” It is something I am going to have to live with and I’m fine with that. I have accepted that I am not like other people who can eat whatever they want, I have to control what I ingest. I have accepted that eating out is going to require some planning a research. Acceptance has taken away the worry I’ve felt about my condition for a long, long time.
- Gluten Free – Gluten is my main trigger, and so I have to avoid it like the plague! All the food in my house, for me, is gluten free. I don’t ask my husband to be gluten free though, that just wouldn’t be fair on him. I do ask him, from time to time, to smell his food. This happens especially when he is eating something I definitely can’t, particularly fresh bread.
- Accidents – Accidents happen, still to this day! Sometimes I will eat something that just does not agree with me. The accidents happen mostly with gluten. I will go to a restaurant and they assure me something is gluten free, and it isn’t and I go and explode in their bathroom. It can also happen completely out of the blue. I will eat a meal that I know for a fact is gluten free, and yet I explode anyway. I’ll never find out what the thing is, and I just have to live with that.
- Gluttony – I watch what I eat, but don’t get me wrong I am still a greedy pig. I LOVE food! I eat what I want, when I want and how I want. Eating out is my favourite thing to do. As long as there is no gluten, there’s no problem. I will eat it.
- Weird – I have spotted some weird things that have come along with having IBS. For me it seems to be things in “twos.” I can’t eat something twice in a row. For example, I can’t have steak two days in a row. It absolutely kills me. I think that much red meat is just too heavy for my stomach. I can’t eat take out food two days in a row. I can’t eat pizza two days in a row. You get the picture. If it’s heavy food or fatty food, I can only consume it once.
- Family and Friends – I have the most amazing family and the most amazing friends. They always make sure that they have gluten free food in their house, or that I am catered for when we go out to restaurants. My mum and dad had to completely change the way they did their food shop when I still lived with them and they became very aware that I couldn’t eat just anything, and that wheat flour is in EVERYTHING! My best friend also has IBS, you should hear the conversations we have!!
- Work – Anywhere that I have worked since becoming intolerant, have been brilliant. In my current place of work, they have a gluten free toaster just for me (and anyone else who would join the organisation that has an intolerance). Gluten free snacks are always purchased if we’re doing any staff workshops, and they always make sure if catering is brought in, and the staff can partake in it, I have a gluten free option.
- Cooking and Baking – Since the IBS started I’ve found a new joy in cooking food. With being gluten intolerant however, I found that my love of baking dwindled. I think it was because I couldn’t use real flour, and I was afraid that people wouldn’t like the gluten free version. I am trying to change this though. My kitchen at the moment is a bit small for baking and I don’t have a mixer, but once I have a larger kitchen I plan to try and make more cakes and baked goods. I have started making pancakes again! That is a plus. Cooking is a real joy. I love making things from scratch and experimenting. I also do love a good gluten free recipe.
- Hobby – I’ve found a hobby in food and blogging! I really love my Instagram account. It has given me life. I love taking pictures of my food and sharing online for all to see. I have made contact with some really incredible people, and the recipes you get on insta are fab! (Follow me @gfheth)
I also love creating blog articles about food, IBS and life in general. I like to review things and what better thing to review than my IBS and food. Turning something that I once saw as negative into a positive has been a blessing. Not feeling the shame and worry anymore, and just being open and honest about it through this medium is therapeutic and brilliant.
- Happy – If you couldn’t tell, I’m very happy with my food and health life right now. I finally understand my stomach and what I can and can’t do. I was once so negative about it all, not able to see the lighter side of life, but now that I have embraced it, I am more positive and find the funny side in it all.
There you have it, the top 10 IBS things for present day me. If you’d told me 4 years ago that it would eventually be my attitude I would have told you to go fornicate with a rusty chainsaw. IBS Awareness month is a brilliant thing. Making people more aware of what it is really like to have your digestive system despise you is important. We need to take away to stigma that seems to come with IBS and say “hey! Everybody poops…some more than others.”