I realize this is not a “pleasant” conversation and most people don’t want to know about it, but I figured I would write about it anyways. Who knows, maybe someone who will read this will see that they are not alone and won’t feel so different from everyone else in the world who doesn’t seem to have these problems. When you have to take laxatives on a daily basis because your intestines don’t work, life is pretty shitty (pun intended). Your whole world revolves around a bathroom being nearby. You don’t dare go anywhere that you can’t run to the bathroom if and when the meds work (because at some point in your life this will happen) and you really truly don’t want this to happen and there’s no where to go except your own pants. Talk about a true walk of shame.
Let me go back a little ways and give you a glimpse into why I suffer like I do now. As far back as I can remember I have always suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). This is an affliction that will throw your intestines into a hellish nightmare that rockets you from severe diarrhea to constipation that makes you feel like you have rocks in your intestines and cork shoved up your bum so you can’t get anything out! People who are usually diagnosed with this are those who tend to stress and worry about everything. I guess you could call us “control freaks” because we strive to have control over every aspect of life and even though control is an illusion we drive ourselves mad trying to obtain it anyways. My father was murdered when I was 6 and I immediately took on the role of “the worrier”. My mom did her best to make sure I didn’t but I still to this day remember waking up one night and going out in the kitchen to find my mother sitting at the table, the lamp over head on and the table covered in bills. She had her adding machine there and was smoking her cigarettes and trying to figure out how to pay for everything. Even though I was young I was smart enough to know that there was worry on her face and fear of the unknown in her heart. I asked her “Mom.. are we going to be able to pay the light bill?”. She told me that wasn’t for me to worry about, that was her job and that my job was just to be the baby of the family and enjoy my childhood. She told me one last thing before sending me back off to bed that has stuck with me forever, and to this day I still hear her saying it even though she’s been gone for 15 years now. “Don’t borrow trouble baby”. I understood what she meant but it never stopped me from doing it. I think the sadness of losing my dad and the fear of losing my mother set in so deeply that I was destined to be the one who would worry about everything.
Now fast forward many stressful years to the point where I have become diabetic. This came on as gestational diabetes but because of my weight and my unhealthy eating habits (can we say self medicating) it stayed as Type 2 diabetes after my first child was born. They put me on Metformin and let me tell you, that pill will fuck you up! Sorry about the F bomb there but that’s the most accurate way to describe what the pill does to your body. I stayed in the bathroom. To say I had severe and explosive diarrhea would be an understatement. I would go so much that I would literally be weak and dehydrated because of it. I didn’t lose a pound even though every bite of food I put in my mouth or every sip of water shot out of me like a bullet from a gun. In fact I continued gaining weight, a side effect from the medicine. After years of being on that putrid medication I ended up on insulin too. Oh what fun that was! After having my second child (being insulin dependent through the entire pregnancy) I reached my all time highest weight of 280 pounds. My IBS was severely agitated by the excess weight and the massive amounts of medication I was on. I drank gallons of water on a daily basis but still found myself having trouble going. I started using suppositories to make myself go, and when I first started using them they would work.. Almost instantly.
A little over 4 years ago, after 18 months of jumping through hoops I opted to have the Gastric Bypass surgery. My surgeon explained to me that the bypass would be the best solution for me, that with my severe Gastric Reflux and diabetes the bypass would resolve those issue’s the fastest and should have them gone forever. There was however a small percentage of a chance that the reflux would become worse as it had in some patients. Well guess who is that .001% patient??? That’s right. this chick right here. My diabetes is even trying to come back (even though I’ve kept the weight off). Since my surgery my intestines have pretty much shut down. I’ve been poked and prodded, tested from mouth to anus. I’ve been scoped and X-rayed. I’ve had nuclear test done and CatScans and Barium Enema’s and the works. They cannot find why my intestines aren’t working anymore. It’s heartbreaking and embarrassing and has affected every aspect of my life. This past January I had a 4th surgery in less than 4 years (the original surgery was botched and we are still trying to fix several other issue’s along w/ the intestinal ones). This surgery was to check to see if I had a twist in my intestines because that is something they can’t see without actually going in and checking by hand. It turns out I did not have a twist, but while the surgeon was in there he took out a lot of scar tissue and fixed a few strictures. He was left just as baffled as every other treating doctor to why I have the issue’s I do. At his request I stopped working and filed for disability ( like I said there are several other medical issue’s happening right now) and frankly my previous boss was a jerk who would yell and scream at me if I missed 2 hours for a doctors appointment.
When I filed for disability I had to explain the many issue’s that I have going on so that they could get have a full understanding of the hell I go through. This is the daily routine for just the intestinal issue’s.
Wake up and take a Linzess with a cup of coffee that has a scoop of Miralax in it.
Wait for the effects to happen. Most of the time I will get the stomach rumbles, the lower abdominal pains and the bloating followed by the mad dash to the bathroom where I have been known to have to sit there for literally hours! While sitting there I’m not just resting, my body is expelling what it can with continuous wave after wave of pure liquid lava. My stomach hurts to the point that I am doubled over and I sit in that position for so long my legs fall asleep. There have been times that I have started crying because I didn’t think I would be able to stand up and the embarrassment of having to call for my husband or one one of my children to come help me stand up is crippling to me. When I was still working I would have to get up at 4:30 am even though I didn’t have to be to work until 7:45 am. I had to have enough time for the laxatives to work so that I could make the drive without them working on my way in (there was nothing but tree’s for most of the drive into work). There were times that even though I would go at home it would hit me again on the way to work and I’d have to hold it in until I got there then make a mad dash to the bathroom. There is really nothing more embarrassing then pooping at work. I know everyone poops but that doesn’t mean you want to do it at your job.
Sometimes however the medicine doesn’t work. I will go through the pain of the cramping and the rumbling stomach and the “urge” to go but nothing will come out. On these days I have to resort to the steadfast enema’s, (I have even gotten to the point that these don’t always work either. I just end up shitting out the clear liquid).
Now after several hours have passed I can start my day. I can usually tell if I’m going to have a “bathroom” day or if I can actually get out of the apartment and run some errands. I try not to go anywhere far from home and I always make sure there is a bathroom where ever I’m going. In the early afternoon I have to drink another dose of Miralax mixed into what ever I am drinking that afternoon. Then in the evening I take my 3rd dose of Miralax. If any of you have ever taken this then you will understand what I mean by this medicine will give you the Mira-shits! What are the mira-shits you ask? Well it’s when you go to the bathroom and every time you barely poop, it’s a sticky mess that you have to wipe 9000 times to try to get it all so you don’t stain your underpants. You can never truly “empty” your bowels. It’s a horrible horrible thing to suffer through.
The last visit to my GI doctor I was actually told by this moron “Do you know you’ve been on laxatives for 4 years now?”.. Really..you really just asked me if I knew the hell I have to go through on a daily basis?????
This is what I truly wanted to do to him when he asked such a dumbass question! I told him “Yes.. I do know that I take laxatives every day and have for 4 years now but without them I can not shit on my own and you guys can’t figure out why”. His response was.. and yes I’m quoting this because this is the hell in which I live “Well..we know you need them to go but you really need to get off of them. We don’t know what else to do for you though, but you can come back and see us anytime”…. gee thanks. No seriously doctor dumbass, thank you for pointing out that I’m abusing laxatives and that it’s causing more damage but that you know without them I would die and you can’t tell me why my body is doing this, but I can come back and see you whenever I want. Maybe I’ll just make an appointment and we can do lunch one day?
Now you may be wondering why I would write about this, why put out that embarrassment? Well like I said, someone else who is suffering may see this and feel comfort in knowing they are not alone. Maybe someone will read this who suffered through it and figured out the cause and will have some helpful advice. Who knows! I just know that I’m too young to have this many things going wrong and I’m truly worried. My mother died of colon cancer so I was already put at a higher risk of having it.. now w/ the issue’s I have I’ve more then tripled the likelihood of getting it. I get to go have colonoscopies every year for the rest of my life now (which by the way I woke up during the last one.. that was fun). It’s hell. I pray that no one should ever have to live through this, okay well maybe there is one or two people I’d wish it on but that’s it. Hey, don’t judge.