It would appear that I have slipped back into intestinal hell. I'm having another flair up and after feebly trying to workout on the bike for 20 minutes last night, I got off the bike, changed, sat on the couch and proceeded to cry.
I was crying for a few reasons. One, I wanted to do the workout IG sent cause it was a good one. Two I hated that I got off the bike; I felt like I gave up. Last, I hurt, I'm tired and I'm frustrated; I had thought I could 'muscle' through this flair up.
I've been battling this intestinal thing for many years now. In my old life I would just go home, lay down and hope that when I woke up things would be better. Sometimes they were, and sometimes they weren't.
Nowadays I'm asking a lot of my body with my training. That is part of the reason the frequency and duration of these flair ups has increased. I could give up my IM goals and perhaps they would lessen, but then I'd be giving up something that I love and that has become my life. So now what to do?
I've been to two GI specialists, and have yet another appointment with one in April. As of yet, Western medicine has not helped. They've shrugged and said, 'We're sorry, but you don't have the top three intestinal disorders so we can't help you and you'll have to figure out how to make yourself well.' I've also been seeing a Naturopath, and that seemed to help for a time, but no longer.
Diets, yes, I've tried many things. Even the 'Thrive Diet' Kelsey recently mentioned. I've removed meat, soy, dairy (save for the odd chocolate binge), and wheat/gluten from my diet. I'm still not well.
Stress plays a role in all of this and it's a vicious circle. I have 'healthy' stress from training and racing, and I have unhealthy stress from being so frustrated that my body is not cooperating with me. I'm tired of so many things - having to be picky about eating (it's annoying for my friends as well), the embarassment of the situation when I have flair ups, the constant rumblings and movements going on inside me, the feeling of having the life sucked out of me, the frustration of not knowing how to fix this, the fear of how this is going to affect IMCDA, and the tears. I hate being a wimp.
A friend of mine recently gave me a book on intestinal disorders called 'Breaking the Vicious Circle'. I started reading it last night and have already finished it. It too calls for healing through diet, but this one is quite restrictive. I'm tempted as I'm willing to try anything if it will help, but in doing this diet I'm not sure how I would get enough nutrition in for training or during a race. Can one race while not taking in sugars other than from fruits? I don't know what to do.
On one hand this diet (that has been used on patients since the late 50's) will apparantly bring your system back to a 'normal' state if you stay on it for approximately two years. Hmm, I could have a 'normal' life in two years. On the other hand, could I really do a diet like this for two years? Then I think, all these diets seem to make sense initially, and sometimes they help at the start, but then I still end up at the same spot I was in originally. Which is where I am now.
I wish so badly that there was someone that I could talk to about this. Someone who races Ironman who could give me some suggestions on what works. Even someone that's tried the above and can suggest how I can race while following such a diet. I know there isn't though, because IBS patients all have different symptoms and treatments. So I'm on my own.
The really ironic thing about this was that when I was swimming yesterday I was thinking how cool it was that I ran the night before and was in the pool in the morning pushing on even after the flair up started. I was also thinking about others I know or whom I've read about who are involved in triathlon. There are those who have started later in life, those with children, those who are physically challenged, and those who battle cancer, ALS, and other life threatening diseases. I thought about the triathlete spirit and how we all face adversity in some way, shape or form yet we continue on even in the face of adversity. Yet another reason why I love this sport so much.
In some ways that made me feel guilty for getting upset over this and for giving up on the bike last night. In other ways it reminds me that with a positive mindset anything can be accomplished. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to find the positive when you are in a fog. I know the fog will soon lift and I will try another diet, or treatment with renewed hope. Who knows, perhaps this time it will finally work.
Peace out my friends.