My 30 year struggle with IBS-Part 1

My story

A few years ago, I discovered Naturopathic health,  functional medicine and essential oils and as a result, I got some amazing results in my health.  Yesterday I was on a call and the presenter said something about being unhealthy when we're young and then corrected himself and said the will maybe that was a bad example because we are a group of health coaches, we were probably all healthy then as well.  

 …” NOT”, I was a hot mess and was certainly not healthy   A friend said that she could not imagine me like that because she thinks of me as a picture of health now. The truth is up to 4 years ago, I was a mess.  I had a lot of health issues, and it kept me from doing the things I loved.

So today I wanted to talk about my story and what motivated me to make such drastic changes.  The thing is they were not “drastic “ changes at the time, they were little changes that added up to drastic results.

If you do not believe me, go check out the pictures on my website, or strobe back on my Facebook profile.  If you stroll past all the pictures of my daughter TKD, you will see some of me holding a camera.  You might have to look hard to tell it is me.

I will be 52 years old in a few days and have been suffering from severe IBS and digestive issues since I was 20, 32 years….. it took me 27 years to find the answers.  27 wasted years of living in the bathroom.  I do not want that for you or anyone that you know, so it is time for me to step up, pull up those big girl panties and share what I know so that you do not have to wait 27 years for your results.

What I discovered 5 years ago was that Food reactions, such as Gluten & Dairy can be one of the causes of all autoimmune issues.  All of them, not just IBS, IBD or other digestive issues.  All of them.  I remember when I first realized what the “expert”  said, I thought he must be on crack on something, it can’t possibly be that simple. If it was, everyone would know, But it is.  3 of the root causes of all autoimmune issues are Food Reactions, toxins & infections.

Food reactions can be very different for everyone, but the most common are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, sugar, peanuts, & processed foods. Another really popular one is nightshades, What the Heck is nightshade?  don’t worry, I did not even know what that was either, it’s: potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant 

Toxins are a problem mostly because #1, they destroy the good bacteria in your body, especially your gut and #2 the are something called ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS.   An endocrine disruptor is a HUGE topic and I have no doubt that we will talk about it A Lot in future episodes, for now, I will let you google it or go check out some videos on my website.

Infections can be lots of things but for me, it was parasites, candida and something called SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth).  5 years ago I started working with a naturopathic doctor and we discovered that I had a massive Candida overgrowth.  Turns out that some functional doctors believe that Candida and IBS go together.  Dr. Amy Myers says that the causes of IBS are: Leaky gut, SIBO, Candida, parasites, food sensitivities and stress.  I would have to agree, in fact, ALL of them have been an issue for me.

Like I said earlier, I suffered for many years but what really pushed me over the edge was when my daughter started having digestive issues just like me and in grade 6 she missed about 75% of her school year. When my son was diagnosed with high functioning autism about 6 years before that, I asked about the connection with gluten, especially since my mom was a celiac, or I thought she was.  I only found out a few years ago that she was actually just gluten sensitive. I wish I knew that it would have helped. 

I ignored my instincts then and listen to what his doctor said instead of listening to my own intuition.  He told me, yes it would help but it was a lot of work and is too much stress to do that. It would put a lot of extra stress on the family. I bought his BS, hook line and sinker.  I was not going to do that with my daughter.  There had to be a connection.

For 10 years I had been trying to get a celiac diagnosis and even time they said that the biopsy was negative, not once did they tell me that gluten sensitivity was even a thing or that I should look into it.  In fact the opposite…keep eating gluten you are fine!!!  There is no reason to look at gluten.

Eventually, our regular doctor said, just try going Gluten Free and see what happens.  she said In a month or so, I should know.  It was 4 or 5 DAYS.   

I could not believe it.  I felt like a whole new woman, how could I have not realized it and just tried it anyway.  All those years of suffering for nothing.  Just because I did not trust my own instincts.

Knowing what I know now it is so clear, the signs were everywhere, I just did not know how to read them.

Not just gluten, however, stress was also a big one.  When I was 20 I was under a lot of stress at a job I was in, in fact, my Dr at the time told me to quit or I might give myself an ulcer. I worked in retail at the time and we had to work alone many mornings or evenings.  In the one store I worked, if I left the storage room door open, bathroom door open and ALL the lights off, I could sort of see out into the store and tell if a customer came in.  I spent most of my days that way,  it was both physically and emotionally traumatizing.  I Always worried that someone would catch me or I would lose my job.  It destroyed me emotionally and physically. 

When my company transferred me to Fort McMurray, my store did not even have a bathroom, we had to go across the mall to the Lady Footlocker or down to the public washroom.  For someone suffering from IBS, that is like the worst thing possible.  How embarrassing, everybody in the mall must know.  How do you even look them in the face?.  Of course, that is just the story in my head.  No-one probably even cared. I even resorted to carrying or hiding wipes in bathrooms so I could clean up after myself.

Last fall Global news said that 44% of all people with IBD quit or lost their job because of the disease.  I totally believe that I was one of them.  It plays deep on your psyche and self-esteem.

Flo’s story

I am not the only one in my family with these issues.  My aunt Flo, my dad's sister,  had a lot of the same issues and did most of her life and it is her story that really pushed me over the edge.  I was motivated to change things for my daughter but Flo motivated me to do something for ME.

I used to take her to her doctor appointments and one day we had one with a GI specialist in Edmonton.  To my surprise at the appointment, she had already decided what she wanted him to do.  Things had gotten so bad that she felt that the only way out was to have him do an ileostomy.  If you do not know what that is, it is bypassing the large intestine and attaching basically a bag, for her it was right at the junction of the small and large intestines.  For the rest of her life, she would poop in a bag & have to clean and keep it properly attached.

At first, he was not in favour, that was a very drastic solution.  No one ever ASKS for this.  I sat there in awe.  I had the same diagnosis that Auntie had, there was no way in hell that I would CHOOSE to have that done.  If I had to …..fine, I would make it work, not no way I was giving up that easy.

That procedure started a massive decline in her health, It did not help because she had not dealt with what was causing the issue in the first place.  Now it was just causing MORE issues,  but in a way her procedure …… saved me.  I became more dedicated to finding a natural-path and answers. 

 Then one day when she got taken into the emergency.  They could not find anything wrong and the ER nurse suggested that Flo should look for a naturopathic doctor that specialized in digestive issues. Pardon my language, but … No shit, if we had one of them, we would not be in this dam situation.  She would not have had to have that procedure. Lucky for us, She knew of one, and she was close by.  The next day I made all three of us appointments.

Like I said earlier, we found out that I have a huge candida issue, and she suspected the gluten was not the only food causing problems.  We did a test called an IgG test and found out that even though I had been gluten-free for years, my gluten levels were high, very high. How is that even possible?  I had to dig deep into my shampoos and beauty products to find other hidden sources.

I got great results very quickly and I was very motivated to make the changes that I needed.  It turned out that Flo’s test results were similar, she had Candida issues as well but not as high as mine and gluten and dairy we defiantly an issue for her as well.  She tried hard to change but it was not easy for her.  She had a tough time understanding that she had to be 100% Gluten Free and with her health poor, making all her own meals was not easy either. 

A few years ago, we found out she had Endocrine Cancer. It settled on her liver, her spine and her breastbone. Remember, I talked a little bit earlier about endocrine disruptors. That made me even more motivated to find out what all the chemicals and the toxins that we're exposed to do to us, and how they affect our bodies. She fought hard to change and tried many things that helped her a lot. But unfortunately,  Flo passed away a few years ago.

 And it really motivated me to keep digging and learning about how these things all affect us.

 I tell you our story because I know that there are many people out there that have digestive issues that need to know that they're not alone. And there is hope. Life does not have to be that way. 

You can control it and you can repair the damage. I am walking proof of that. And also because people need to understand the severity of it. It's not just IBS, I have so often been told, it's just IBS suck it up, Yvonne. Everyone has little digestive issues.

IBS or other digestive issues can completely destroy someone's life. It's time to stop judging,  you have no idea how they might be experiencing behind that closed bathroom door. Give them some understanding and some hope. If you know somebody affected by an autoimmune condition, share a tour story with them. Let them know there is another way, another way to look at things. Look for the root cause and do it now before it gets worse. 

Do not wait for someday, someday might not come. Today, however, is right here. Make a decision today to make one small change. Then tomorrow, make another one. And then the next day, make another one. And the next day makes another one.

 Every little change, you make matters. You are worth the effort. You are worth making the change. Think about how amazing it will be if you don't have those issues anymore. 

Change can be hard, but it is only as hard as YOU make it.  It's all in the attitude that you have. 

You were worth it. This is your time for an upgrade.

People also asked me specifically what I did, I did a lot of things, a lot of little things that added up to the big things. So stay tuned for an episode coming up because we'll talk more specifically about that as well. 

Thank you for reading. Remember, if you liked what you heard, please go to Apple podcasts and give me a five-star review. We have some amazing guests coming up on the podcast. I have been so blessed and I am so excited to share some of these people with you. giving me a great review will help me get and attract even more amazing people and also help other people find the podcast. 

Remember, it takes one small change to create a huge snowball effect on your health. the hardest thing is to just start. It's like pushing a snowball down a hill. At the first, you have to get the ball rolling. But once it starts rolling, it creates its own momentum and amazing things happen. 

I Hope amazing things happen for you.

 Enjoy your week.


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