Diagnostically misdiagnosed

Hi! My name is Lisa and I’ve been Marneen’s friend since 1999. Marneen knows I’ve been struggling with health issues since before we met, and he asked me to share my story and experiences with my illness through his website. I’ve had digestive issues dubbed as IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, for most of my adult life. I suffered for many years, and I was told after my initial diagnosis to avoid fried foods, spicy foods, dairy and vegetables in excess. First of all, I wondered what COULD I eat, but since that was clear, it was also a bit vague as to the logic behind the reasons WHY those things were suggested to me. IBS could have many issues. For me, primarily, it was an upset and sour stomach. On the rare days that I was healthy, I thought to look back at my diet from the day before and still scratched my head as to why I was blessed that day, but cursed the other days. In hindsight, I should have kept a diet diary.

Fast forward to 2007, when a co-worker (who suffers the same fate each day) suggested I go see a Gastroenterologist. You see, when I was first diagnosed with IBS, I was young and naive and too embarrassed to speak up for myself and to ask for a second opinion. I really wish I would have, because all those years were wasted in degenerative health and perhaps I would’ve had an answer–the RIGHT answer–a whole lot sooner.

The Gastroenterologist saw me for two months. He took stool samples, blood tests, asked questions, and ultimately gave me a colonoscopy and then an endoscopy. When my blood test results came back, the doctor said, “You may have Celiac Disease.” (What’s that?) “It means you’ll have to live on a gluten free diet for the rest of your life.” (What’s that?) “I’m not exactly sure how to tell you what you can and cannot eat. You should go see a nutritionist who can tell you all about it.”

But at that moment, when the doctor gave me a diagnosis (You mean there’s a NAME to what I have?!) and it meant I didn’t have to take any drugs, just change my DIET (You mean there’s something I can DO about it?!), I was so relieved, so happy, I nearly pinched myself in disbelief.  I wanted to laugh, cry, and hug my doctor all at the same time. My journey with him was over, but he will always be my hero.   Actually, I have been meaning to send him a thank you card, for this man literally changed and saved my life.

And now, if you ask me, IBS stands for It’s BullShit.

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