Skip to content

IBS Saved My Life

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

I’m a mess. I don’t know anyone, who’s honest, who isn’t a mess. It’s the mess that forms us far more than any successes.

Like about 10% of males my age, I have IBS. I’ve been told my case is entirely brain-based and severe. It’s an affliction I’ve had since the age of 10 and it’s kept me from getting jobs I wanted, getting good grades, keeping friendships going, and even doing simple things sometimes like picking my son up from school. I have panic attacks almost daily, despite having a team of great doctors, and a regimen of regular exercise and meditation.

I tell you this because I need a post I can send to people to better explain why I couldn’t go to that party, why I missed that family vacation, or why I insist on mostly working from home.

I’m telling you this to let you know I’ve been working on the problem for over 20 years. I’ve been on too many treatments to count, and I continue to experiment with new treatments and new doctors. I have the support of a wonderful family. Sometimes I get better, sometimes I regress. I’m trying. I’m learning.

I’m telling you this because I want to start sharing what I’m learning, though I'm not sure of the venue for it yet.

I’m also telling you this because I want you to know there’s always good to find in a bad circumstance.

A few years ago a new doctor decided to run every test in the book on me, just in case he could find some physical anomaly that explained why (then at the age of 39) my symptoms were getting worse with age. What he found was a cancerous tumor that had nothing to do with my IBS. But if I had waited the 11 more years before the recommended age for a man’s first colonoscopy, I’d be in serious trouble. Or just dead.

My IBS had a role in saving my life (along with a great doctor). My IBS also takes from my life a little every day. A messy life can be a great alternative sometimes.

I have a large obstacle to concentrate on and a lot of luck. The rest I’m still just learning, like you, as I go. Now, I’m going to try to be more open and honest about it to see what happens.