The stomach cramps began on Wednesday. At the time, I thought nothing of it, other than a bit of gas, as my meals that day had been a bit spaced apart, and I had only had two of them. Both were comprised of a Subway footlong tuna sub. My standard was always no cheese, the 8 grain honey oat bread toasted prior to the tuna going on it, lettuce, heavy tomatoes, heavy black olives and light onions. In fact, until the moment of this writing, I was trying to understand what about that could have possibly set off the worst bout of IBS I have ever experienced, and I just couldn’t figure it out. Now, I’ll grant you all the junk food I had for several days at McDonald’s the week before; which, by the way, is not my typical choice in body fuel.
It had simply been a matter of convenience for a few days; a matter which I had just caught myself on two days before and decided to stop. If I had to grab a bite out, then I’d much rather go for something a lot closer to healthy, so Subways was a slightly better choice, but only if you avoided about half of their menu items. My usual choice when going there was always the tuna. I used to also choose the turkey, but ever since they changed it a few years ago from actual deli turkey slices (the real stuff) to the current turkey choice, which looks like luncheon meat; I have steered clear of it. It no longer looks natural, and if I wanted luncheon meat, I’d be interested in the baloney, and various salamis which are like the garbage of their menu choices.
So I simply stick with the tuna when I visit their stores. However, I’ve never had any sort of violent, gastrointestinal reaction, until now. The difference, I think, was in the fact that the server did not remove the tuna when I mentioned that I wanted the bread toasted without the tuna on it. She stated that she simply wouldn’t toast it for long. Thing is, I’ve never had tuna with mayo already in it, heated up. I would tend to think that the mayo being heated may not be a good thing, and that was my concern when she heated it.
That evening, I began to have a reaction. I had had a foot long sub, which I split; half at a bit past noon, and the second half a few hours later, which is not unusual when I’m out for the day. That was all I ate that day, and that is the night the cramps started. Like I stated, I never realized, until now, that that was the point when this week of hell began. First, I chalked it up to just some passing gas. By the next day, my thoughts went to a bug attacking my system, and I said that I must be having one of those 24 hour viruses. So again, I wasn’t really too attentive to the fact that my gut was really angry. I continued to eat whatever appealed to my tastebuds without any regard for the hell my stomach and intestinal tract was experiencing.
I treated myself to Haitian Griot with rice and beans and plantains on Thursday, and Chinese food on Friday. The cramping had not stopped, but eased from an ongoing situation to periodic bouts of extreme severity. I had used up the remaining antacid liquid gel, as well as the last of my Pepto Bismo by Saturday morning; and I still had not locked on to the fact that this was not a bug in my system. And, it was extending far longer than 24 hours.
At that point, I went to the store to get some Mylanta, because past experience taught me that Mylanta was a good antacid and it had always settled my stomach. I haven’t had the need to use that product in quite some time, because I was conscious of trying to balance the ph levels in my gut, and had never had such a severe issue to contend with. The problem was that the bottle of Mylanta was advertised as being a product for heartburn. I wasn’t suffering from heartburn; and I hadn’t purchased that product in so long, that, against my better judgment, I considered what the bottle said, and did not purchase it. Instead, after much deliberation, I went with another familiar, but seldom used name…Imodium. It said it relieved Diarrhea, gas and bloating, which were the symptoms I had, so despite that it was more expensive, I went with that.
It did slow down the first symptom, but the bloating and gas got worse, because I was still being an idiot and eating food that aggravated the situation, like my leftovers from the Chinese food. By Sunday morning, I was so uncomfortable that finally, I decided to juice something as opposed to eating. I had been drinking a detox tea from Friday night, and I had also been taking Charcoal to try to draw out toxins that may have built up. I was doing that since the Pepto had run out, figuring that the Charcoal might absorb some of the acid that was sparking so much gas buildup. I really am not sure how effective that was, but I did get some relief from the detox tea.
Typically I juice Jicama for stomach issues as it is purported to be very effective as a stomach and digestive tonic. However, I added a bit of radish and one banana for sweetener. It didn’t taste bad, but the fact that all of these items were frozen may be the reason for the revolt and angry assault that happened in my gut some 30 or so minutes after downing it. Mom visited that same afternoon after church, and, seeing my level of discomfort, she went and bought me both Gas-X and DulcoGas, which are both 125mg of Simethicone to relieve gas. She was also going to get Tums but I dissuaded her. Granted, these products may give me some temporary relief, but ultimately, they aren’t a good choice in dealing with IBS.
After previously doing some research on IBS, I realized that essentially, I had already been doing pretty well in modifying my diet, not including that week of McDonald’s. I had given up dairy two years ago because I was tired of excess mucus production in my body, which wasn’t helping my sinusitis. I had also added sauerkraut in small doses, was predominantly using coconut oil for cooking; and had changed my table salt use to either sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or Bragg’s Amino Acids. I also started juicing a little as part of my efforts to rebalance my gut, and had bought Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar right before I ran out of my probiotic, and increased my intake of good fats and nutrients from foods like avocados, and olives.
Naturally, the thought that this might be a real bad IBS flare up was the furthest thing from my mind until this morning, after I awoke still in pain. In thinking about this, I realized that if it were up to my mother, I should never be sharing this with the world. All such info should be hush-hush. However, this site is about pain problems, and typically, I have found solutions because of and due to my own misery or mistakes with pain issues, as well as that if my clients. Who else to better teach us what not to do than experience? Some listen and pay attention to their body’s signals, and others don’t.
I find myself somewhere in the middle; tending, usually, to listen more and address and manage current or forecasted hot zones, but slower about being more proactive in general maintenance, despite more frequent urgings within to practice and do better. But the point of all this is that too often, we are our own worst enemy, causing our own pain in accordance to our chosen lifestyles, interactions, daily thoughts and resulting choices. The vast majority of us already have issues building in our tissues from habits and patterns long past, in addition to physical mishaps that may have happened on our life’s journey. But then we add fuel to the fire, and escalate the situation to a whole other level by choice. That choice is either to partake in things we know we shouldn’t, or to ignore the things we should partake in.
There’s a list of things I could bring up at this moment, but that discussion is for another time. Frankly, I’m amazed that all this turmoil and pain that I caused myself, did not result in severe back pain; as disturbances in the force of the digestive system can very easily result in severe back pain, as this article explains. Needless to say, as soon as I recognized the real issue, what initiated it, and modified my food intake in consideration of all the complaining my gut had been doing, my symptoms decreased greatly. I think my lessons are, listen to your intuition, and go with your gut.