State of Calm Worry

I have a doctor’s appointment today.  A follow-up with my gastroenterologist after a full year on her prescribed treatment for my irritatingly broadly diagnosed “IBS”.

For the most part, for about 95% of the time, I feel a pretty awesome amount of “normal” now. I don’t spend all of my driving time visually hunting for clues to the location of the nearest restrooms with the ever present knowledge that I WILL likely need it. I don’t eat in fear, knowing that 20 minutes later I had better be within sprinting distance of some sort of bathroom.  My stomach doesn’t let me feel and hear and squirm uncomfortably through every twisty turn my food takes on-route from stomach to exit-the-body-lane.  Instead of more than a dozen more than “quick” trips to the restroom I’m down to 2 or 3 in one day.  And for me that is an AMAZING improvement.  I have whole stretches of hours when I don’t even wonder if there is a bathroom nearby.  So I look forward to letting the doctor know just how much of a positive change her suggestions and medications have made in my life.

I am a bit nervous though because I so want to bring up the topic of weight gain.  Specifically the 50 pounds I have gained in the year since I started the meds, fiber increase and removal of all chewing gum from my diet. Especially seeing as how I’ve brought my eating roughly in-line with what qualifies today as the “healthy diet” because that is what works to keep my belly happiest and have also been consistently moderately exercising (minus about a month recently when my weight has, oddly enough, still remained constant).

I have had very good experiences with this particular doctor and in fact doctors in general of late so I have high hopes that if I can phrase it correctly; something along the lines of “Now, I have no problem with the size I have gotten to considering the vast improvement in my life quality over the past year. So if this is a result of the medications, fiber and plain old “food stays in my body longer” reality of my life now; that is truly fine.  I did just want to bring up that I have gained this weight and ensure that it is not a symptom that should be noted in more than passing with these medications.  I am fine having to buy larger pants if it means I can be as happy as I am now so I’m not looking for any diet tips; just making sure that it isn’t an indication of something wrong.”

But part of me is even wondering if it is WORTH bringing up at all.  I HAVE gained weight.  But for the past 6 months or so that weight has all but leveled off and I haven’t had to look into getting new pants for size problems in that time.  So I’ve been tossing the idea of trying to discuss this with the doctor back and forth.  The last visit with her really impressed upon me that she listens to me and is impressed with my desire to figure out what is wrong with my system and we are both actually interested in helping me to get back to “normal” so I shouldn’t be worried about her response to such a question.  But after years of hearing nothing but “Well I hear Weight Watchers is a good plan” anytime anything about weight is brought up in a health context; I still remain leery.

Am I worried over nothing?  Will I regret it if I DON’T bring the topic up to at least ask if it is normal?  Should I not at all CARE about the weight gain? (Is it somehow a betrayal of “FA” if I wonder about accepting such gains over a year??)

So yeah, feeling mostly calm with a slight hint of worry in anticipation of a simple follow-up doctor’s appointment.  Happy Monday!

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6 thoughts on “State of Calm Worry

  1. I vote for bringing it up. You already feel comfortable with her. You’ve already figured out a way to phrase your question in a positive way. It’s worth bringing up for yourself, because, as you say, it might be a bigger problem, it might not, but it’s your doctor’s job to figure that out, given all the evidence. And it’s worth bringing it up because you are prepared to have this conversation in a positive way, and that will help her to deal with similar issues with similar patients in a positive way in the future, even if the patients aren’t versed in size acceptance.

    But regardless, you’ll make the decision that you need to make. 🙂 Good luck!

    • Thanks for the thoughts OC, and suggesting that my bringing it up positively might help others in the future really did further solidify my decision to bring it up! Though I’m going to have to write it down as I wrote it so I don’t forget! 🙂

  2. I’ve had IBS for years, since my teens. Up til recently, I’ve never known exactly why, or what foods were triggering (because it seemed so inconsistent). But no doctor has ever been able to tell me why I had IBS: “Just a nervous system disorder in the gut.” They always assured me. “Take this pill. It should ease the symptoms.”. Pills weren’t effective for me. What finally turned things around was stumbling upon webpages that claimed IBS symptoms were almost invariably caused by food intolerances and sensitivities. I forget where I read that but it lingered in my mind for weeks. I found a naturopathic doctor who did lab tests for broad-spectrum food sensitivities and asked for that test. And the results were illuminating: I am gluten and caffeine intolerant, and also have mild sensitivities to corn and pork. That was a week ago, and since then I have cut out all wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and caffeine from my diet, and I HAVENT HAD AN IBS ATTACK since (until I ate an egg souffle this weekend, and the subesquent IBS attack 20 minutes later practically incapaciated me.)

    Anyway, my point is, your gastroenterologist is a surgeon and might never think to test for food sensitivities and intolerances, and might discount it. I would ask for such a test, perhaps a gluten tolerance test, in particular–gluten is EVERYWHERE in our society, after all.

    Anyway, IBS IS food triggered, and we can’t let our doctors discount that as “well, we don’t know why this stuff happens” when there are tests available to determine exactly what foods are bad for you.

    I do go on, so, good luck!

    • Thanks Rachel! I did get tested for lactose and gluten with “inconclusive” results. My own experiments in eating has let me know some big ticket items to avoid though that has helped with the pill but I will look at the broad spectrum test idea.

  3. I have 2 kids with food sensitivities. Because they are not outright life-threatening allergies, their sensitivities get totally discounted by most traditional docs. And yet cutting out the foods my kids were sensitive to made a HUGE difference in the quality of their lives.

    A lot of women with insulin resistance etc. issues are supposedly sensitive to gluten/wheat. I don’t seem to be, but I know plenty of women who have had amazing improvements in their lives when they take out gluten. If you are having IBS issues, you might want to check that out.

    Although the food sensitivity tests the naturopaths etc use are extremely woo-woo and drive the science geek in me NUTS, I did find with my boys that they got it right. I totally discounted the findings at first but decided to do a test with eliminating those foods in order to PROVE that those woo-woo tests were nonsense. Imagine my red face when the eliminations totally cleared up my boys’ symptoms, and restoring the foods brought them back.

    So while I still maintain a healthy level of dubiousness about a lot of stuff from naturopaths etc., sometimes these food sensitivity tests can be really helpful in figuring things out. Worth a try anyhow, and then an empirical elimination diet test.

    Good luck!

  4. Pingback: So, just who am I trying to impress anyway? « I AM in shape. ROUND is a shape.

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