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Jan 14

My Journey

Eating a low FODMAPs diet or completely free of FODMAPs is a life change for anyone, however for me, it was the journey getting there that deemed the true struggle.  The advances we have made in modern medicine are astounding, but somehow, doctor after doctor, told me there was no concrete reason I was painfully sick after every meal.  I honestly forgot what it felt like to not have a stomach ache.  I was lucky enough to then go see my current Gastroenterologist.  He was the first doctor who was not primarily concerned about the current symptom at hand, but rather recognized a connection between symptoms.  Hearing him say that we were going to find the root of the problem was music to my ears.

 

At age 20 most people have not had 2 colonoscopies, countless doctors’ appointments, several regimens of multiple extremely strong anti-biotics, along with various other tests all for one problem that had yet to be solved, I had.  My symptoms and problems, in my mind, probably started as a baby.  At 8 months old I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, I had an intussusception, meaning parts of my intestines were overlapping.  Although my surgery was successful, considering that no doctors know why I currently have some many stomach/intestinal abnormalities, I believe this is the root of my problem.  Beginning in high school my primary care physician suggested I cut out wheat products, although this helped, it did not eliminate my problems.  In college my symptoms got drastically worse and ranged from extreme bloating, constipation, and diarrhea to multiple stomach ulcers and severe rectal bleeding.

 

Some doctors believed it was Crohn’s disease, however although most of my symptoms aligned and there was obvious inflammation of the colon, it was not in the same location as Crohn’s or Colitis would be.  My current Gastroenterologist suggested I take a hydrogen breath test, which tests your body’s level of bacteria.  My tests did not come back fully conclusive, however he believed my symptoms matched enough that this would at least be somewhat of an answer for me.  He knew I was tired of hearing nothing was wrong with me when clearly something was.  I was yet again put on a regimen of anti-biotics and was instructed to immediately begin eating a low FODMAPs diet.  I am now 22 and after feeling like I have struggled my entire life, the very first day I ate free of FODMAPs I felt like a new person.  No, it is not perfect, there are instances I still feel sick, and I still crave all the foods I miss.  However, not having to worry whether or not my night out would be ruined by me rushing home is quite the sigh of relief.  Slowly but surely my mom and I are experimenting to develop not only substitutions, but new recipes as well.

 

A good friend once told me that you can’t think of only replacing food because nine times out of ten you will not be satisfied, but rather learn to explore and love new options.  I know every situation is different, however I can relate to the struggles of many and I hope you find a lifestyle that helps you to feel like you again!

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