Free-From Heaven reader and indie writer Kelly Wilson shares her free-from story, and how she manages her IBS symptoms…
By Kelly Wilson (www.kellywilson.moonfruit.com)
My life train has scraped along the tracks of realisation.
I did not have any idea that there was any remotely serious problem until I was seventeen. This was not a result of few signs and little warning – my symptoms worsened progressively and immensely. I simply possessed none of the thorough understanding that I do now. Without that, I was unable to provide a detailed and accurate description for my doctor to understand earlier.
Unfortunately, I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
I have experienced every common and rare symptom, including abdominal cramps, spasms, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, headaches, backaches, bloating, loss of appetite, etc. Whilst enduring these, of course I have felt unhappy and restricted. However, the bigger picture is feeling afraid, isolated, peculiar, misunderstood, judged, frustrated, and upset. This condition is hardly considered a valid excuse for missing PE or job time, but it has presented me with continuously straining and debilitating challenges in education and work.
People can be extremely ignorant when they know little but possess many opinions, and inconsiderate when they see only what you show externally but speak unfairly without thinking. The embarrassment when attacks materialise in public is intense and admitting to being a victim of a disorder with a large stigma attached is incredible and shameful.
I once consumed cake and pizza, but in moderation. My suffering was ludicrous. Eventually I eliminated these but to no avail. Nobody deserves to eat atrocious food yet struggle regardless. My precisely described symptoms enabled my doctor to diagnose me without blood tests or hospital visits. That was certainly not because they were unnecessary. It was merely so clear from listening to the tales of the agony and misery that I endured. Many forget that food and drink are not the entirety. Remember stress (any emotion at an elevated level, or stress literally itself), negative or persistent thoughts, hormones, sleep deprivation, viral or bacterial illness, and exertion during exercise.
Recently I maintained a one-month food diary, monitoring everything that entered my body daily. I highlighted all recorded moderate and severe flare-ups. Such attacks identified on certain days conveyed my food problems gradually. I excluded each individually, in order to notice any differences. Along the way I used medication – which was later swapped with a natural remedy – to see whether, and how, irritation and reactions could be calmed.
Nobody ought to confuse IBS with Coeliac Disease. The aforementioned is linked with malfunctions of sensitivity chemicals, communication chemicals, muscles, nerves, brain activity, and impulses. The latter-mentioned is auto-immune – white blood cells attack gluten. IBS should not be mistaken for general bowel problems, appendicitis, menstrual cycles, sickness, food poisoning, or cancer. However, this occurs too often. For me, the first four possibilities were posed wrongly.
All major supermarkets stock ‘Free From’ products and even restaurant chains offer such menus. However, they do not offer many products in number or variety and there are still reams of organisations that have not joined the cause. Items that one can purchase are highly expensive, must often be homemade, and options for socialising locations are limited. This makes shopping and dining as time consuming, expensive, and infuriating as cooking oneself. Few appreciate deprivation, because until they experience it, they do not realise how much pleasure and freedom matter and why.
Although I made the right manoeuvre after much illness (researching the condition in total depth) and I omitted one element – demanding support from more medical professionals in person – I did not resort to a FODMAP diet because I used my body’s frenzies, despite its confusion and disorientation, for clues of what to abolish. Numerous adored items made the journey of flight out through the window.
Even presently I have not discovered every issue. However, I do my uttermost to remain calm (which is a nightmare when building a writing career) and I never exercise whilst experiencing outbursts. Besides these occasions, I exercise sufficiently within my body’s demonstrated comfort zone, and I avoid food that threatens to unleash high fat, sugar and acid contents – or any alcoholic, carbonated and spicy ingredients. Now, I could feel better, but I am adequately content.
My advice through vast knowledge rather than medical qualifications would be to experiment with yoga, ensure to have personal free time, avoid contamination, and beware unexpectedly wheat-containing food (burgers, gravy, oat cereal, sauces).
1/3 people supposedly experience IBS symptoms during life. Is it not a medical condition as opposed to a list of symptoms? When it is chronic and severe, it is certainly an illness. However, live a normal life – substitute your diet for the free-from sector, venture out wherever you desire but share your concerns with others and transport medication, and do whatever you wish but always in moderation and consider learning from my previous mistake: force experts to help.