Thursday, March 31, 2016
It's been awhile since I posted on either blog. Life got quick and compacted - travel, sickness and even lots of inspiration all vying for my attention. I got off rhythm with posting, which happens, like so many aspects of our lives.
But the big thing has been resolving, finally, or so it seems, my twenty plus year struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed in my twenties, but have had symptoms since I was thirteen. At the time, a doctor simply told me not to eat what bothered my digestive system. Basically the diagnosis was a default - since I didn't have cancer or Crohn's, or other possible severe diagnoses, IBS was what they called it. I cut out gluten and dairy, known culprits. What threw me off, however, for years after, ever since, is that sometimes when stressed or at other untraceable times, I get sick anyway: constipation, painful trapped gas, stabbing pains.
Recently this began alternating with diarrhea, something I don't usually have trouble with. That made me really sit up and pay attention. No. Uh-uh. I started adjusting my diet according to general guidelines put together from friends and nutritionists - no raw veggies, no red meat, lots of water - the kinds of things suggested for folks who have delicate constitutions, let's say. Some of it helped, but not entirely.
Then I finally googled "What to eat when having an IBS attack?" I think because I hadn't had so many problems for so long before, I had never really looked for this. I looked for gas relief, I looked for gluten allergies, but never actually for an IBS diet. It turns out there's an entire helpful empire out there, mainly headed by a woman named Heather, who has had it since she was little:
I started to apply her principles and things got better quickly, with a few hiccups. Then I traveled to San Fran for Karuna Training and got either food poisoning or the stomach flu. That took me completely off line for almost a week, when it came to digestion. However, since then, my system feels better than it has for years.
Something feels really clear to me - I am 38, turning 39 in two months, and I am no longer willing to eat french fries if they will give me pain later. I am no longer willing to drink coffee if it is going to mess up my digestion. Having a system for understanding certain relatively universal triggers in the great mysterious morass of possible irritants is a huge blessing. I am grateful that her suggestions appear, so far, to align with my needs. It makes it relatively easier to make changes, and to have some kind of logic to adhere to. Over time, I'll try adding some things back in and see if they work. For now, I am enjoying a smooth ride.
Digestion. I often use it as metaphor, tell people I am "still digesting" ideas or conversations or programs. It has been crucial in my life - especially for how often it goes wrong. Just imagining now what it could be like if I didn't have it in the back of my mind all the time, or as a physical pain presence blows me away. Just a taste of freedom from that distress is exhilarating.