As part of the IBS Audio 100 program that I’m doing, the author asks that you rate your symptoms before starting, at the 27-day mark, and then again at the 100-day mark. After I completed the first 27 days, I decided that I should probably actually track my symptoms every day since I was mostly going by how I felt that week (which was fine), but I didn’t really have an overall sense of what I was feeling. There are a couple of apps specifically for IBS, but the one I chose is Cara because it’s pretty comprehensive.
Right, so, I have been tracking my symptoms and food for 38 days now, and here’s what I have discovered:
- I am always stressed out
- I always have a headache
- My stomach always hurts/is bloated
The last one wasn’t that big of a surprise since that’s why I’m using the app in the first place. No, the big surprises for me were the first two. First of all, how am I stressed out EVERY DAY even right now when I’m on vacation? Second, I thought my headaches were under better control than that.
I already talked to my therapist about the stress, so I’m not going to focus on that right now. But I do want to talk about the headaches.
About ten years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic daily headaches. Two years ago, I quit using ibuprofen because I recognized (finally) that I was suffering from rebound headaches (or medication overuse headaches) as it says on the site. When that happened, I got an acupuncture mat and my doctor prescribed meds as a preventative, so I could get ahead of my headaches instead of trying to defeat them after they occurred.
So, you know, I thought I was doing all right.
What actually happened, as I found from doing this symptom tracking, is that the severity of my headaches lessened but they didn’t go away completely. I have a very high threshold for headache pain and, now, I only take Tylenol (off the ibuprofen, remember?) if I have throbbing pain and feel like my head might explode. So, basically, if I can’t ignore the headache, I get on my mat or take medicine to make it go away.
The app has told me that I don’t have fewer headaches–I just have gotten better at ignoring them. In other words, I am in pain every single day and just hadn’t realized it.
I was thinking about this today because last night, I had a throbbing headache. I hoped it would go away with sleep (it didn’t, and, quite frankly my headaches rarely do). I hoped getting on the mat would help (it did, but not completely). And I have a lot of work to do today but no Tylenol in the house, so I had to take ibuprofen for the first time in two years. Because I couldn’t ignore the pain any longer, and I knew nothing else would work.
I remember years ago reading an article about the show House, and the creator of the show told Hugh Laurie that his character was always in pain. Sometimes, the creator said, the pain would be at a 2, but other days, it would be at a 10. I didn’t understand what that meant then, but I totally get it now.
Also, I decided to link up with Slice of Life today even though I’m doing a reading deprivation. In the spirit of the community, I will for sure visit other blogs that link up this week once the deprivation is over.