Sunday, April 14, 2013


I'm standing at a podium in the middle of a small room and I introduce myself,
"Hi. My name is Jan and I suffer from IBS."

Did I expect a response?
From an empty room?
IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
It's not something one talks about let alone announce from a podium.
The choir loft?
In the line at the grocery store?
From the rooftops?
Over the P.A. system at Wal-Mart 
at the risk of  joining the photos of Wal-Mart shoppers?

IBS. A curse.
If you have a flare-up (flare)
you are chained to your bathroom.
If a flare comes at the wrong time 
you could miss your child's wedding,
your mom's memorial service,
your child's graduation from college,
the grand opening of a Dollar Store.

I had my first flare about five years ago.
That's a totally unacceptable experience when you're not at home.
My doctor put me on a hefty dose of a steroids
to get my flare under control.
.......And he kept me on it for.........five..........years,
assuring me that it was often done that way....long term.

He's a doctor, I believed him.
Slowly the skin on my arms became very thin
and they were easily bruised - blood bruises
like the elderly get on their arms.

It continued to get worse.

Oh, I called the doctor's office several times over those
five years and was reassured each time that
I hadn't been on the steroids too long.

It finally came to the point that I talked to my GP, whom
I trust implicitly, about three months ago.
She had me change doctors.
My new lower GI doctor is wonderful.
He weaned me off of the steroids in three days.
My arms started clearing up and 
the skin on my arms toughened up.

At this point you're no doubt wondering why 
in the world am I telling you all of this.

Slow day.

Seriously, there is such an important reason.
It seems that the steroids built up in my body and started
affecting my behavior.
I wasn't aware of it.
Obviously, it got worse as time went on.
.....I have found out that the last year, okay,
probably two, have not been my years to shine.

I owe you an apology if I have ever acted whacked
or talked to you with an unacceptable attitude.
Hey, it could be any of many behaviors - 
I don't remember them.

I think my lack of memory has been my saving grace
in some ways.

It certainly hasn't been in a couple of instances.
May I suggest to those of you that feel you need
to bring to the attention of someone
you love, their behavior or your thoughts
of their mental stability, to do it in a 
loving way so as not to 
make them feel you are on the attack.
Be Jesus when you talk to them.
Be gentle, careful with your words
and most of all, talk to them with the love
you feel for them in your heart.
And, don't wait. Please, don't wait if
you love them. That is only harmful.
What happened to me twice before I even
knew there was a problem was not handled in that way.
Both situations destroyed me.
One friendship ruined,
the other wobbly, to say the least, for 
many months now.

I found out specifics of my behavior 
over the last year or two
from my sister, Joan, in a loving and positive
way last week in Florida.
She was kind and, though made me cry
from extreme embarrassment when
she gave me examples of my behavior,
talked to me like only my sister could.

She started by telling me that she was
so happy that I was back to my "self".
I thought she was talking about my
arms so showed them off. 
But, no, she was telling me that she was
so glad that I was back to her "Jan".
I was honestly confused.
She explained that for the longest time
I hadn't been "me".

She even gave me examples that made
me want to crawl under the truck
(we were in my brother's pick-up).
Verbal attacks based on nothing, mood swings,
becoming a hermit, unquestionably whacked.

I did ask her why she waited so long to 
bring all of this up and she just didn't know......

I was so embarrassed.

I was mostly concerned that my boys
had been thinking that their mom was crazy.
No one else mattered as much.
No one.

When I talked to my eldest, he said that,
no, I had been fine for the last two years.
I had been so physically challenged.......
that's where I stopped him and steered him back
to my concerns.
That sweet boy forgave me for "nothing".
I shared and apologized to my daughter-in-law, too.
The steroids explained so much about
 the start of our relationship.
So glad to have an answer and her forgiveness.

(two down, two to go)

Even the Tank noticed my new behavior
without me having said anything.

The steroids took about six weeks to
work their way out of my body and
allow me to become myself again - to a point.
And, I feel the difference.
I'm full of the joy, the positive thoughts,
the anxiousness to "do",
and I'm happy. So joyful and happy.
I don't long to be the hermit I have become 
(let's take that one slowly - I don't do drama).
I'm me again.
I had seriously forgotten what it felt like
though I didn't realize that.
Confusing?? That's the real me, too.
However, I realize that it takes months for them
to completely work their way out of my system, 
but have been assured that any future "experiences"
will not be as horrid as the ones I've been
told about.

Again, if I have ever done anything odd or whacked
to you, please accept my apology.
This is the most effective way to get
"the word out".
If you feel the want/need to pass this
on to someone(s), please do.

I seek forgiveness.

P.S. Any comments? All and any are welcome. Anyone think this post could be any longer??



Unfortunately, doctors are trained to write prescriptions, order tests, and preform surgeries. Sometimes, we just need a change in diet or activity.

For 10 years now, I have has lumps in my arms and breasts. 10 years! I stopped eating corn in September - no more lumps! I also sleep better and have lost 13 pounds without really trying. Corn had me so puffed up, I looked like the Michelin man.

I am so glad that you are back to your did not display any regrettable behavior around me LOL

Welcome back,

Vicki Boster said...

Dearest Jan-- bless your heart and your sister as well-- she must really love you because those kind of "talks" are really hard to have---

Whatever it takes to make you feel better-- both inside and out-- is what needs to happen. You are an amazing person-- you've placed everyone's needs above your own for a long time-- now it's time to concentrate on you!

Sending love and hugs--

Jan Vermillion-Thomason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin said...

So glad to hear you are feeling better sweet Jan! I've seen the trouble you had with your arms, so glad they are healed. So happy for you!!!


Crystal Neubauer said...

Jan I'm so glad I read this post. It opens my mind to my own emotional swings over the years, being on a low dose of steroids consistently for the past 10 years! I've recently started on LDN to rebuild my immune system. (it has been approved for Chrons,, MS, and has been proven effective for IBS too) and am very hopeful about weaning off my steroids. I get all the bruising etc too, but had not considered they might be contributing to any emotional symptoms. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Jeanette House said...

What's to forgive?? *hugs you* xox

Bettyann said...

So happy you are feeling better...I am shaking my head at some Dr.s who keep patients on long term drugs meant for short term..take care and enjoy your new life :)

Rebecca said...

So sorry to read of your struggles but know they do shape us into stronger loving people. My daughter has IBS and found out she is gluten intolerant. Taking gluten out of her diet has made a big difference.
Wishing you a lovely day

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

Jan - I have had IBS / Ulcerative Colitis for over 25 years. Doctor upon doctor pushed steroids at me - but for the most part I resisted and just lived with the not-going-too-far-away-from-the-bathroom issue.

However, about 6 years ago, in the midst of an extremely painful episode I went into a naturopath thinking I didn't have anything to lose. Wow! My only regret is that I didn't seek her out decades earlier. Turns out I am highly sensitive to dairy and wheat (don't show up on traditional allergy tests), once she removed them COMPLETELY from my diet, all of my symptoms cleared up!

My advise - any immune system disease or long term disease is much better handled by someone who is looking at your entire body system, not just one part. I highly recommend a naturopath (ask for an IGG allergy test)!

Rose Garden Romantic said...

What an awful experience! You poor sweetheart! What a dumb doctor!! I'm so happy that you are off the steroids and back to yourself! I know I have behaved badly when my hormones after having a baby were way out of whack and it is so embarrassing later. I so understand that feeling. And I'm sorry you have to live with IBS. My mom has ulcerative colitis and it's horrifying. I know it's not the same thing, but has much of the same symptoms. Thank goodness hers is finally under control with drugs which she has managed to cut down on to a smaller does per day over the years. I hope you find the best, least side-effect causing help for it.
Michelle xoxo


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