My husband has been asking me how I feel on a scale of 1 to 5 every day for over a month now. It’s his way of troubleshooting my illness(es). He isn’t entirely convinced that IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is the correct diagnosis, and neither am I. We could be in denial, but one way to try and figure it out is to troubleshoot the system.

The system being, in this case, me.

So I’ve started to track symptoms on two tabs of a google spreadsheet. I tried using an app, but I just couldn’t stick with it. I found it very discouraging to open an app and record every time that I had a bowel movement. And to make sure that every time I had a symptom that I open up the app and record what kind of symptom it was and the corresponding intensity. That’s like a full time job right there, without getting paid.

So I’ve got one tab with a list of my common symptoms down one column and dates across the top row and I just mark when I have the symptom on the day. On the other tab, each date has a place for notes. The symptom columns should help me track cycles and patterns and the other tab allows me to get more specific with timing or mood or food.

I do feel like there are some general cycles that I’m experiencing, but having the data will be better. More data is always more better.

I’ve also signed up for an online forum for people with IBS. I haven’t really started using it yet, but I signed up. I figure I can compare what I’ve experienced with what other people have experienced and see if there is some difference that would point to me not actually having IBS.

I think both my husband and I don’t want it to be IBS because there really isn’t a fix for it. You adjust your diet, reduce stress and basically deal with the symptoms as they come – and they come no matter how “good” you are at being chill and eating only foods that don’t bother you.

I mean, I’ve cut out alcohol, coffee/tea and carbonated beverages (except for Alka Seltzer). I hardly eat dairy (except for kefir, which is chock full of probiotic goodness and low in lactose). I do yoga at least once a week and I get a massage once a month. I exercise a lot. I drink tons of water. And I still have symptoms. It’s frustrating as all get out and I really just want to fix it.

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