While I've always suffered from food allergies, my gut troubles really began my junior year of college. I was attending fashion school, simultaneously completing my bachelor's degree at a traditional 4-year school, and was holding a 3-day per week internship at a top fashion publication on top of my classes. To say I was a busy 20 year old was an understatement. Combine that with moving into a dorm that was the size of a cracker box with 3 other girls and you can kind of imagine how any stomach problem could go from zero to 100+ real fast. I didn't even know it then, but I am an HSP (highly sensitive person), so as you can imagine, this highly sensitive belly was not happy.
REWIND - Let's backtrack a bit here. By 19/20 years old (the age I was my junior...a.k.a. gut freak out year) we had already established my severe dairy allergy and my corn sensitivity. Because of my allergies and slight OCD separate dishes and separate sponges from my living mates were totally necessary and those came with some major "she crazy" vibes. I've since learned to embrace this about myself, but was not there yet then. So this was definitely a stress point. Oh, and let's not forget about the long distance boyfriend (who we will not speak any more of, as it was not Nic, the handsome man who makes his appearance in my Instagram stories from time to time).
Now that you're caught up, back to the gut story -- 2 months into my NYC experience I got to the point where my digestion was so slowed, and my bloat was so awful I literally could barely eat anything. So as all mommy's girls do, I called my own mommy freaking the f*** out one morning. That morning was the straw that broke the camels back. I had tried laxatives, magnesium drinks, the whole shebang and nothing was flowing. If you didn't already know, Mommy's are miracle workers. From across the country (in California) my mom made me a same-day appointment with one of the best gastroenterologists in NYC. I was in a cab and on my way before I could even get nervous about going to the doctor...I'm not a fan of the doctor, blood, or needles. Since I had coffee (duh) and managed to eat a few bites of apple that morning -- here's where it gets graphic -- they had to give me not one, but two enemas and were unable to sedate me all the way to take a look up my rear end. To be completely honest, the experience was kind of traumatic, for reasons best not to explain here. Even though things got messy the doctor and his team were really great. He explained I had IBS-C and this wasn't abnormal. It was just something I would have to learn to deal with to ensure a 2 week stop of food would never happen again. He told me to try taking the gluten out of my diet and put me on fiber pills, nightly Miralax, probiotics, and a heavy dose of magnesium. His advice was extremely helpful and got me through my crazy, but totally exhilarating NYC moment (a year). I returned home to California for the summer and then moved back to the midwest to finish up my senior year of college, in my very own apartment thank you very much. I've never been good at sharing #halfanonlychildsyndrom and the added stress of roommates, aside from my lovely boyfriend is more than my stomach can take. After a case of the stomach flu, I decided I didn't want to be on the fiber pills that were crazy orange colors and laxitives. I knew that couldn't be good for my system. That's when I started taking triphala. I had been doing some research on organic options and stumbled across this amazing ayurvedic blend. Ever since my discovery, I've been almost totally gut issue free as a result of following a gluten-free diet, taking a probiotic with breakfast and my other vitamins (like b-complex) and then the high dose of magnesium and triphala** in the evening.
It worked like a charm...until it didn't. Like everything in life, your body is constantly changing. If you've been following me on social at all. You would know that the past couple months have been flare up central for me and I have no idea why. It started slowly. For the past year, instead of my normal IBS-C, which meant getting totally constipated and having to relieve my body with an enema or the waiting game, I started throwing up. Then those about once-per-month vomit spells (sometimes in line with my period, sometimes not -- kind of thought I was onto something for a bit there) turned into gnarly sulfur burps. If you've ever had these, you know how disgustingly miserable they are. These bad boys lead me to stay away from cruciferous veggies and high sulfur foods. That brings me to the point I've been at for the past couple months, terrible bloat with no constipation, and sometimes major discomfort. Discomfort to the point where I can't do anything. I can't think about conquering the day, I can barely think about getting out of my pajamas...and if I do, it's to put on high waisted yoga pants. When it got to that, I knew I was out of my league. There's only so much "self treatment" one can do when they need to live their life. That's when I went to see the doctor and started my most recent gut journey.
To be continued with updates from my CT scan, colonoscopy, and MRI asap.
If you have ever experienced similar issues or are going through a guy journey of your own, I encourage you to share about it in the comments below. If you have questions or want to learn more about something I mentioned feel free to leave those there too or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be well and don't forget to smile!