My poor tummy …

I haven’t been blogging much because I haven’t been feeling well. I’ve actually haven’t been feeling well for a long while.

I’ve struggled with an upset stomach for years. I’ve seen numerous doctors. Removed gluten for a while. Removed beans for a while. Tried meditating. Yoga. Removed onions. Removed garlic, nightshades, etc … It doesn’t matter what I eat because everything seems to be giving me an upset stomach.  It sucks.

And not just an upset stomach but crazy bloat. I wake up in the morning looking like a normal person and by the time I go to bed I am so bloated I look like I’m 8 months pregnant. It’s uncomfortable and I feel like crap.

The only time I’ve felt good this last year was when I went to Banana Island and only ate bananas for a week. So that makes me think this issue is food related. 🙁

It finally came to a head this summer when we were moving the Sarah’s Place store to the new location. I think all the stress, plus not eating well or being able to eat anything that didn’t make me feel sick has added up. I found blood in my stool (yikes) and went to see my doctor right away. Without even examining me he diagnosed me on the spot. He said “You have IBS” and he gave me a sample of Zantac. That’s when I realized I needed a new doctor.

I finally found a great doctor who is taking my stomach concerns seriously and has worked towards finding out the cause and not just giving me Zantac and sending me on my way.

I’ve seen my naturopath, my doctor and 4-5 different specialists and now I’m seeing a gastroenterologist. I told him about my family history of cancer and about how my stomach/bowels are not my friend and he immediately booked me for a upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy. Yikes.


So I had the Endoscopy (tiny camera goes down my throat into my stomach) yesterday. I was super nervous … I don’t like hospitals and I have control issues (ha ha) but my doctor assured me that he would give me lots of drugs and I wouldn’t know anything that’s going on. 🙂

The trouble started when the nurses couldn’t find a vein for my IV. Oh god. I was soooo cold and I had to take a cold shower that day (cause the furnace was on the fritz) and so they couldn’t find any good veins in my right hand. I had 2 different nurses stick me 4 different times. No good. One of the nurses (a grumpy one) kept saying “where are your veins??” like it was my fault.

They finally wrapped my arms in hot towels and a 3rd nurse came and put in the IV in my left hand and then wheeled me to the procedure room. I was SO NERVOUS! The doctor came in and I told him I was really nervous and to give me ALL the drugs. He laughed and said I would be fine. He’s a really nice guy. Makes eye contact. Lets me ask lots of questions. Makes sure I understand what he’s saying. He’s cool.

The nurse gave me my sedative and I started to feel dizzy. I told her I was going to close my eyes and she patted me on the shoulder and that’s the last thing I remember. I woke up in the recovery room feeling like I had the best nap of my life. *laugh* Actually I do remember gagging/coughing at some point but it’s like a dream memory. Fleeting and foggy.


Gerry picked me up and I crashed on the sofa (sitting up) and slept for another 4 hours. Man oh man. I haven’t felt that relaxed in years. Opiates are awesome! 🙂

I had a tiny sore throat during the day and an upset stomach so I drank some Gingerale – burped like a trucker and immediately felt better.

The doctor is testing me for Celiac and looking for other things like cancer/ulcers etc. Part of me hopes he finds something – but that it’s something simple like “Don’t eat spinach” and then it will be over.

I’ve decided to pull back on doing events at Sarah’s Place until we figure out what’s going on with me. So the next few months will be event-free but I’m hoping to do more events in spring.

Tell me about your guts. Are you having issues? Have any suggestions? I’ve been to Banana Island so it’s pretty obvious I’m desperate and will try anything.  🙂



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19 Responses to My poor tummy …

  1. Holly says:

    I feel your pain, Sarah! I’ve had tummy issues since my adolescent years. I went through numerous tests and a colonoscopy. They all turned up inconclusive so I was given the label of IBS (which may as well be called “We Don’t Know What The Hell Is Wrong With You Syndrome”). After switching to a vegan diet, a lot of my gastro problems went away, but they still persist to a lesser degree.

    I hope you find some answers. It’s incredibly frustrating when your body is giving you all sorts of weird signs.

  2. Lori says:

    Perhaps go back to banana island for a few days and then start to introduce one new food every say two or three days and see how you feel. Good luck and hope you start feeling better super soon so you can enjoy your trip to the UK 🙂 xo
    ps-Mitch bought me a gift certificate for Christmas so I will be in to spend it and see you soon!

  3. Cindy says:

    I have been through a similar experience as yours but thanks to my acupuncturist’s suggestion to take digestive enzymes my issues are mostly resolved. I had to try several types until I found the brand for me. I also continue to do acupuncture once a week for a chronic back issue but they also treat my digestive problems. Good Luck & I hope you are feeling better soon.

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks! I’ve tried digestive enzymes and have yet to find one that works. What are you using?

      • Cindy says:

        I use Digestive Gold by Enzymedica. I’m in the US so idk if it’s in your market. The trick for me is I take one every time I eat a meal. So I take more than the recommended amount.

  4. Lou says:

    Sarah, whenever I “read” you, I feel we’re long-lost twins (we *were* born just a couple of days apart!). I’ve had similar problems in the past year. Is this a 44-year-old’s problems?? I had the colonoscopy and they didn’t find anything. The nerves/vein/drugs/dream-memory… every detail… is word for word what you said. Including the hope they would find “something*, but something minor.

    What I’ve been trying recently is plant enzymes, and yes, it’s HELPING! Just a regular drugstore brand, over-the-counter. I just started taking it last week. I’d been feeling like I was having a heart attack every few days. 🙁

    It probably doesn’t help that I eat so many legumes… :-/

    Keep us posted please, and feel better. Sending a big hug (but not so big it squeezes you gut) from Ontario.

  5. Brittany says:

    Oh my dear. I know all of this too well!!!

    Mine is no one food. It matters not what I eat.

    I hope it is nothing serious like Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis.

    But even if it is, I hope you find some peace at least knowing what it is. And not guessing anymore.

  6. Have you thought about seeing a holistic nutritionist?

    I had digestive issues for years and have cleared them up – it’s important to go through the entire symtom sheet and really see what the root cause is!


  7. kittykat says:

    I had gastro issues for years… sometimes with gas so painful I would crumple to the floor, or bloating that made me look preggers, or sharp pains in my chest that I’m told feel similar to a heart attack. Each time I was told IBS or gastritis and given meds or told to cut back on greasy food and caffeine or that it was all in my head – everybody “gets indigestion.” I ended up doing a candida food elimination and that worked for a while. Then I did a gut cleanse – best poops of my life but still issues. Then I removed wheat (briefly all gluten), which helped a LOT. I tried pilates to work the core muscles hoping that would help (it did, actually, and I had better posture). Now I cook almost exclusively with the best olive oil I can find. I chew papaya tablets with meals now and take a good probiotic and periodically do a juice cleanse. I eat small frequent meals/snacks throughout the day. I cut way back on soy. And I had my thyroid removed. Have you had that mentioned to you? Checked for Hashimoto’s antibodies? (Your other annual check up bloodwork might appear normal – mine did but my thyroid was going psycho very quietly.) Don’t know if it’s one thing in particular or the combo but I feel better and have only had occasional bloat or gas attacks in the past couple years (usually when I’m pmsing with or without eating junk food… hmmm, hormonal trigger maybe?). Hope you get some resolution soon!!

  8. Daneen says:

    So sorry to hear of your tummy troubles! I’m sure you’ve done the probiotics and digestive enzymes. I know juicing for me always feels good. From one Regina friend to another keep us posted on your results and know you’ve got others thinking and sending positive energies your way.

  9. Ann says:

    Hey Sarah!
    I’m sorry that the nurses had trouble finding your veins! Sometimes they’re just little and cold doesn’t help, but it’s in NO way your fault! *hug!*
    You know my tummy issues a bit. My Ulcerative Colitis is no fun, but once it’s under control it’s at least manageable, and there is comfort in that kind of control over a part of the body that pretty much thinks on its own (here’s to being anal! hehe… anal). I hope you find some answers. And if you ever want to talk poop, you know who to turn to 🙂
    P.S.: I promise to come visit the shop again soon!

  10. Nadine says:

    Could it be gastritis? I had an episode a few years ago. It lasted a few months and when it was at its worst I could only eat stewed fruit (including bananas). It eventually cleared up and I’m back on my regular vegan diet but it affects people in different ways and many people have had to undergo elimination diets to see what triggers it and what doesn’t. Hope you get to the bottom of it soon – I feel for you.

  11. Bruno d'Oliveira says:

    hang in there…… I am not friends with my tummy either…..

  12. Maria says:

    I have not, but my mother has had major problems for her entire adult life. She has been through the gauntlet, but was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, IBS, and she also had a several month battle with C. Diff. They cannot cure her, but the diagnosis gave her management options.Her quality of life is greatly improved. I hope you get a simple cure!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Sorry about your issues and hope you feel better soon and hope it is nothing too serious. I do understand I had gerd so bad during my last trimester that I actually now have more sympathy when my husbands gerd acts up for him. I have discovered that not eating several hours before bed helps me a lot. I know that this probably will not help too much. Just be good to yourself and I say get a massage or facial or heck have Gerry give you that massage while you do your own facial.

    Try accupuncture and see if that might help or some other alternative medicine. I am a Reiki master so can send you healing energy if you would like just let me know. Take care and hope you feel better soon.

  14. I’ve had tummy problems too and three things that seemed to help. 1. I stopped eating breakfast. Usually I have some very watered juice and coffee at 8:30 then I eat something at about 11:30. I feel this prevents a slow system from being overwhelmed when it’s still waking up. 2. I got a Mirena IUD which means no more periods and much less bloating and swell in the abdominal area. Now, I kind of hate it – too many crazy hormones, but it has made me and my GYN realise that a lot of my pain and digestive issues are uterine related so – bye bye uterus. You are no longer needed. Here’s your gold watch. There’s the door. Yes, I’m getting a hysterectomy and I couldn’t be more delighted. 3. Vigorous back and abdominal massage by a licensed masseuse, including the diaphragm area right under the ribs.

    I hope this helps.

  15. Amanda says:

    I feel your pain. I thought I hit the health jackpot with veganism (thanks to your first cookbook) when my fibromyalgia was causing me grief. 8 years later, I come to find that all of the foods that I thought were healthy (whole grain bread, soy, even rice) tend to upset my stomach. After 2 years of stomach woes, weird skin rashes and allowing myself to drink a bit too much vegan-friendly wine at night to drown my sorrows, I also jumped on to banana island. I have found that a high-fruit, raw diet is giving me the best health ever! It is not easy, and I slip up from time-to-time (coffee!) and regret it, but, it is worth it. I think that my fibromyalgia is the result of undiagnosed food allergies (I was born in the ’70’s. We never knew about food allergies!) If all raw is not your thing, check out Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr! Hope you are well!

  16. Carrie says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I strongly feel that with your history of CFS that your food intolerances are due to adrenal issues. There’s a sliding scale to adrenal upset. The top of the scale is CFS symptos, food intolerance, cold hands and feet, dizzinees anxiety attacks, bad period pain etc, a lot of people can maintain these symptoms and stay at this end of the scale. Which is very encouraging, although not as nice as no symptoms at all obviously.

    I think it can be very easily fixed-and I don’t say this lightly. Obviously feel free to pop over to my website, or email me if you want to chat. I hope you feel better soon poppet.

    There is always hope, and things really do get better. People get well everyday,

    Carrie x

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