Saturday, January 28, 2012

Uncooperative Intestines

Exactly one year ago, I realized something was wrong with me. A friend and I went to pick up some lunch before our second-to-last performance of the show we were in, but I noticed that I still felt weirdly full. I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast that morning (which was most likely a bowl of oatmeal, or an omelette).

But it was lunch time, and I needed to eat something before my long afternoon. So I had a minuscule bowl of chicken and dumpling soup. Immediately afterwards, the fullness feeling intensified. I felt like I had just finished a Thanksgiving dinner!

After the afternoon show, we had a little over an hour before we had to be back for the final evening show. I was still full, even after the intense dancing, but once again I thought I had to eat something. So I made a small salad.

When I thought about it, I realized I had noticed these feelings throughout the entire week, but they seemed to be getting worse. I knew no other way to interpret these feelings than, "I'm eating too much." Why else would I feel full all the time?

Unfortunately, this caused a period of several months in which I continued feeling more and more full, consumed less and less, and lost more and more weight. It wasn't until the end of March when my aunt made a comment to my mom about my Facebook pictures that I realized something was horribly wrong.

(FYI: No worries, I have since gained that weight back.)

I told my mom about how I thought I had been overeating because I always felt full. I spent a long time on Google, and when I found several sites stating that a feeling of fullness is a symptom of ovarian cancer, we made a doctor's appointment.

The doctor actually laughed when I told her my suspicion. She eventually sent me to the GI specialists, the thyroid specialists, etc. Everything they tested came back negative, which means I ate radioactive scrambled eggs for nothing. ;)

It's been a year, and as I write this post, I am feeling incredibly, miserably, frustratingly full after eating a nutritious and delicious bowl of oatmeal an hour and a half ago (and you've seen my oatmeal recipes, so you know they are a perfectly reasonable portion size). You'd think I would have gotten used to the feeling by now, but it's just as frustrating as ever. Sometimes, I become so disgruntled that I sincerely believe the only solution is to fast for the rest of my life, but then the voice of reason tells me to eat through the pain.

As you can imagine, this problem is especially annoying to a food lover like me. I will often be in the kitchen preparing an elaborate meal for dinner, and I'll sit down with something like this or this (which were both amazing, by the way), and I'll still feel full from LUNCH. But I have to eat anyway.

But this weekend, my mom and I figured it out. It's my IBS. Duh.

What particularly baffles me is how none of my doctors could come up with a solution this obvious. Instead, they scheduled me for appointment after appointment to perform upper endoscopies, elaborate x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds--y'know, all the things that help them make lots of money.

So I've identified the problem, but what's the solution? I'm already doing all the steps to reduce my symptoms (small but frequent meals, exercise, high fiber, no caffeine, etc.), but it's still affecting me. This must stop!

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