Monday, 26 September 2011

The story so far......

A little over a year ago I was your typical mid 20's Aussie girl. I was finishing up my honours year at uni, had just moved out of home and just started an exciting new job. Food was one of my biggest passions - cooking, baking, dining out, sharing food stories with friends....the list goes on. I ate healthy, I loved whole foods, but also had a soft spot for all things dessert-related. It was very rare for me to turn up to any sort of social event without something sweet to share.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, everything changed. Anyone with GI problems will know the symptoms, and I have read so many blog posts/discussion boards/forums where I feel as though the author took the words straight from my mouth. Abdominal pain, extreme bloating, the dreaded C's alternating with terrible D, gas, brain fog, blood, night sweats, hot flushes, exhaustion...and so on. I have no idea if there was a trigger: I can't put my finger on any one particular event or illness that set the wheels in motion for the following miserable months. All I knew was, something was very, very wrong. I couldn't eat anymore - everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I ate made me sick. I started to miss work, stopped wanting to go out and see my friends, and many hours per day thinking about how crappy I was feeling.

The first GP I went to thought all of my symptoms might have been related to reproductive issues as my period had been missing for around 5 or so months. This lead to a referral to a OB-GYN, who decided that I most definitely had endometriosis (attached to my intestines of course) and there for needed a laproscopy and hysteroscopy. $3000 later, I was told I was a 'picture of reproductive health' and sent away to continue feeling confused.

After this experience, and getting frustrated with diagnoses of IBS, or 'it's all in your head', I decided to try some things on my own. The first was gluten free. This made me feel so much better for about 2 weeks, and then everything slowly went back to how they were. Next was fructose, as my new GP suspected I might have fructose malabsorbtion. As with GF, the low FODMAP helped me to feel better for another couple of weeks. I thought I was onto something. But unfortunately the effects were once again short-lived, and I went back to feeling terrible in no time.

After doing some further research (I spent hours per day on the internet trying to figure out potential diagnoses), I stumbled across a site about small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Knowing that I could have the breath test for this done without a referral, I called up my local testing centre and booked in an appointment. Two weeks later it was confirmer - I had SIBO. I can't tell you how happy I was to have a diagnosis....even though it wasn't a particularly promising one. All of my research had indicated that SIBO was notoriously difficult to get rid of (especially if you are prone to C like myself), and prone to relapse even if treatment did work.

This is where SCD comes into the picture. I discovered that one of the most effective treatments for SIBO appeared to be a diet that restricts carbs, especially sugar. I ordered BTVC off Amazon, and eagerly awaited its arrival at my work. Finally, a month later it arrived and I was ready to start the diet. By this time, I was already eating SCD legal, but hadn't completed the intro diet or been introducing new foods in any sort of systematic way. The GI specialist I saw refused to prescribe me antibiotics simply due to the fact that C was my main symptom rather than D, and this was the final push I needed.

So this is where my first post ends. Tonight, I am preparing all of the food I will need for my 3 day intro diet. I can't wait!