IBS Be-Gone!: Day Thirty

So today is my first day off the probiotics. I weighed myself this morning and discovered that I am 128 pounds, which means I've lost 7 pounds in a month. This is quite significant. I have not been this thin since college. It feels very strange. I guess I really was consuming more sugar than I realised. And I guess sugar really does make you fat. As for the IBS, I don't know if it's gone. Over the course of the month, I ended up having 2 “incidents” wherein I experienced the painful constipation followed by the painful, crampy, inopportune conclusion thereof. This is significant because, prior to starting the probiotics, I was experiencing this sort of thing twice a WEEK.

It's too early to tell exactly how far I've come. I've been reading a book called “The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution” which was put out by the IBS Treatment Center (located, conveniently, in Seattle, WA!). I only finished reading it yesterday and it placed several concerns in my brain about what the actual source of my IBS might be. It lists 3 causes.

1) The bacteria imbalance caused by too many antibiotics (which is the cause that I had suspected, and why I went on the probiotics in the first place).
2) Parasites. (Pretty sure that's not the case).
3) Food allergy. According to the book, it's not just things like gluten and lactose that can cause IBS symptoms. It's ANYTHING. Some of the cases they discussed included a woman who's symptoms were cause ENTIRELY by an allergy to coconut and plums. That's it. Those 2 things. She hardly ever ate coconut proper, but there is coconut oil and coconut derivatives in all kind of packaged foods. As was the case with all the food allergy people, as soon as she eliminated these things from her diet, she was 100% cured.

Having a food allergy would SUCK beyond suck. Especially if it's something like gluten or dairy. I already have to limit what I eat because of my vegetarianism. Going out to eat was kind of impossible during this past month. And I LOVE going out to eat and HATE being a high maintenance diner who must ask about every ingredient in every dish on the menu.

The IBS Treatment Center (and their book) suggests that one get tested for all of the IBS causes. The food allergy test is a blood test. The bacteria and parasite tests are stool tests. I would gladly get these tests to ease my mind if it weren't for one thing: expense. The IBS Treatment Center is sort of an alternative-mediciny type of place. They don't take health insurance (in fact, they seem to have some sort of personal vendetta against insurance companies) and their tests are VERY expensive. They want you to do a package deal with a consultation and follow-ups and tests. A standard package “deal” is $1095!! That is a lot of fucking money. If I forgo the consultations and just go with the tests, the bacteria test STARTS at $142 and the food allergy test STARTS at $310. I suppose I can put it on my credit card, and it would be great to know a certain cause for my problems but I've seen a lot of alternative medicine quacks in my day. My mom has sent me to a lot of them. I've been Reiki'd (aura cleansing, essentially), a practice for which my mom has spend thousands of dollars and to no avail that I can see, yet she still swears by it. I've taken homeopathic sugar pills for colds only to stay sick until I took some fucking Dayquill. I've consumed gallons of Kombucha tea at my mom's insistence, barely able to keep the stuff down (it's rancid) and not feeling any better. Some people, my mother included, might argue that it's my skepticism that makes these things not work. And don't get me wrong, I don't think that Western Medicine in infailable either. But I think a healthy combination of the two is the way to go. Trouble is, the two groups HATE each other. If I went to a Western doctor, he would (as he did before) tell me to keep taking the over-the-counter stuff. There's no cure for IBS and you're basically fucked for life so keep taking the medicine and deal with it. A Naturopath would tell me that said Western doctor is an asshole who is poisoning me for profit and then, apparently, charge me $1000 for THEIR treatment. How do I know how much of what school of thought to buy into? I'm confused and a little frustrated. I'm still tempted to get the food allergy blood test and see what they say. Again, I find myself wondering how people who make even less money than I do deal with things like this.

Anyway, my current plan is to finish out the week, slowly re-introducing yeast and (SMALL, healthy doses of) sugar back into my diet and NOT taking my over-the-counter meds and see what happens. If I'm still having problems, I guess I'll start saving some dough and call the hippies.

But ain't nobody going to touch my aura.