The coeliac screen came back negative. It was really strange I found this out today, because I had bad bloating and wind after lunch today, even though it was just spinach, gluten free pumpkin scone and a little hummus. So obviously going dairy and gluten free have not been the miracle cure I was hoping for.
I got the result when I was seeing a gastroenterologist today. He's pretty sure I have IBS and nothing more sinister, although he has booked a sigmoidoscopy and small bowel series. I've also still to have an MRI and he wants me to see a dietitian.
All in all, I'm feeling pretty depressed about my guts at the moment. I guess I was hoping I would have an issue with one particular food because I wouldn't have found giving up gluten or anything else difficult. I sort of feel like I'm no further on in finding relief for my symptoms, something I resolved in January I was going to do something about, however, this thing really is beyond my control. I've made plenty of changes to my diet and other areas of my lifestyle, but I suppose there is still more I could do. I just hate that I have to go so far out of my way to not have to think about my guts.
I can't say I'm looking forward to enemas, barium meals, and tubes up my rear end. But I suppose I have gone down this route now, I may as well see it through, even though it'll not tell me anything I didn't know already.
For my own comfort, I'm going to take another look at the changes I've made and try a little harder to implement some more.
1. Drink 2 litres of plain water a day. I always hit this if I'm exercising. I might only get 1.5 if I'm not, but I'm going to try to get this everyday, because sometimes I'm not as good with this at the weekend. It's easier at work where I have a routine of filling my litre bottle first thing in the morning, and again at lunchtime, and sipping away all day.
2. Have a good look at my diet, by way of a food diary. Experiment with different types of fibre and see if certain kinds cause problems.
3. Take a daily probiotic. My gastroenterologist recommended VSL3, which sounds great, but it's too expensive for me to take long term. I might take it for a while, then switch to a less potent (and cheaper) probiotic.
4. Stop eating a large evening meal, instead eat two small meals after work, one around 5 and one around 8. This is something I only do every now and again. I think it might help.
5. Eat wholefoods as much as possible. By wholefoods I mean very few ingredient, minimally processed things, so I count cold pressed unrefined oils, tea, coffee, natural nut butters, sugar free jam, tinned tomatoes, stoneground gluten free flour, tamari, miso, and other organic soya products with no artificial additives, as I find tofu and especially plain soya yogurt very easy to digest. This means being really well prepared, and setting aside a sizeable chunk of my weekend to prepare food.
6. Have another look at my exercise routine. I haven't done very much for about 6 weeks now, so I need to sort something out anyway. I plan on cutting way back on what I was doing before I got sick. I'm thinking going swimming 3 times a week, and running twice at the most. While I walk most days, I don't count it, I'm talking about exercise as in breaking sweat, but that doesn't mean "hardcore". I think a scenic run or a nice hike at the weekend will be the way to go, rather than covering a specific mileage in a certain time, i..e, taking the stress out.
7. Improve my posture and do some yoga poses to support the bowel. I spend too much of the day hunched in a bad chair.
8. Once all my tests are over, get a colonic. I keep meaning to do this!
Typing that has made me feel a bit more optimistic about the whole thing. No one thing works, and there's a different set of solutions of every IBS sufferer. But you won't get anywhere unless you try things out and stick with what works.
Sunshine burger, pureed tomatoes and steamed cabbage with lots of black pepper. That's a sneaky brown bread roll- a two fingers to gluten...I'm not sure where I am with gluten at the moment. I might eat some small amounts every now and again. We'll see.