How one college baseball player found natural ways to battle the chronic illness and digestive pain and take his health back.
Coming Down With Chronic Illness
When I started my first year of college in 2010, I thought I knew exactly where life was going to take me. As an all-conference junior college baseball player, I was in great shape both physically and mentally. I clinched our league title with a walk-off home run, so I was sure I’d obtain a division 1 scholarship and land a successful career in baseball. I had no sign of weakness, let alone chronic illness.
But by my second year of college, at age 20, I started to struggle physically. I started experiencing serious issues with my gut. And I was constantly feeling burnt out. I developed gas, bloating, diarrhea, and altered bowel habits.
It got to the point where I was dragging myself to practices. I was in desperate need of anything that could heal my chronic illness could make me feel better. I saw plenty of excellent doctors, but all I got was an IBS diagnosis and a prescription to some antibiotics to trefor suspected bacterial overgrowth in my gut. Antibiotics like Xifaxan helped me at first, but the results just weren’t lasting. I would feel good for a short time after taking them, because the harmful bacteria was reduced — but a few days later the pain returned.
Hitting Rock Bottom
My baseball performance took a decline. I had been a great hitter and had always hit over .350, but then my batting average fell to around .200. Keeping up with school was also near impossible. The digestive symptoms of diarrhea, gas, bloating, and urgency made it difficult to attend classes and focus. Not to mention the anxiety and fear that comes with having those symptoms in a group setting, and the embarrassment of leaving to use the bathroom all the time.
I continued searching for any remedies that could provide lasting relief. But nothing really worked. I began to drop into depression. I had never been a negative person, but after a few years of pain and suffering, I started to wonder if I would ever get over this chronic illness. I’d been trying everything I hear, yet nothing was working.
So, it was time to take a turn down a different path and start finding answers for myself, if I was going to have to live with this chronic illness doctors call IBS.
Building Back To Renewed Health
Once I realized I had hit rock bottom, it became clear that I needed to do whatever it took to get my health back. I became committed to learning about IBS, SIBO, and all sorts of other gut diseases, so that I could find the best way to beat my symptoms. I also began to learn everything I could about natural health and see if I could change my lifestyle.
I was very lucky to have my supportive family there for me throughout the process of dealing with this chronic illness. They helped me find a gastroenterologist who treated her patients with a holistic approach and encouraged natural health protocols.
She was a lifesaver. I experimented with all sorts of things like my diet, custom medicinal teas, herbal tinctures, IV therapy, prokinetics which stimulate motility, and various other supplements like digestive enzymes and magnesium. Throughout my time working with her, my body finally started to come around again. I was improving, and every day I was getting a little bit better. I was beginning to see the light. My energy was shifting from being chronically fatigued to feeling more positive and vital.
One major thing I learned about this chronic illness is that there is no simple cure. I had to give up on that idea if I had any hope of beating this disease. I had to make a lifestyle change, so that is exactly what I did.
Holistic Health Habits That Really Help
I began to eat a healthier specific carbohydrate diet where I controlled my intake of high FODMAP and sulfur-containing foods. Also, I incorporated supplements like herbal teas and tinctures. The lower FODMAP diet helped control too much bacterial fermentation in the gut. For the herbal teas, I learned how to make decoctions with roots like burdock and licorice as well as infusions using herbs like lemon balm, chamomile, raspberry leaf, and passion flower. These soothing herbal teas helped calm my gut and contribute to gradual healing.
Finding the time to relax and getting enough sleep became priorities for me, so I made sure to get lost in things I enjoyed, like surfing!
Healing takes time, and it’s important to trust the process. Any disease will have its ups and downs, so if you are suffering like I was, be patient with yourself and your treatments. It has taken me a few years to slowly recover and I still have to stick with my physical and mental health routines on a daily basis.
Mental Tools To Combat Stress
To maintain mental health, I have developed my own affirmations, which I say every day to help me keep a healthy mind. I also found gut-specific hypnotherapy helpful. For example, in the morning and at night, I read a phrase that says “I’ll do my best each day, even if I don’t feel good because every problem in life is an opportunity.” This helps me keep a positive attitude even if I’m having some painful symptoms. By encouraging myself with these repeated phrases in the morning and night, I’ve trained my subconscious mind in a positive light which has helped me get through any flare-ups.
On the other hand, gut-specific hypnotherapy is a more specific form of mental programming that helps with anxiety and stress associated with IBS. I’ve experienced a lot of relief through the hypnotherapy route.
My journey to health has led me to deeper thoughts about the world and a search for true answers and ideas. It has ignited my curiosity and motivated me to do something amazing with my life. I am also grateful for the deep sense of empathy I now have for others who suffer in silence from digestive illnesses.
Where I Am Now: Healing, Work, And Passion
Today, six years later, I continue my commitment to a healthy lifestyle that embraces natural treatments and supplements. I am also constantly working on my mindset for dealing with a chronic illness, but it’s fair to say I am in a much healthier state now than during my darker points. It’s easier to socialize, I can incorporate more physical activities, and life is just simply enjoyable again!
With this passion for life back, I was able to dive into real employment and start learning about entrepreneurship. I got a job at a start-up business and helped build the company from the ground up. I helped assemble the team by hiring 12 employees. I took the reigns, leading to the company’s growth and success. However, I was still looking for ways to use my story of suffering to make a difference.
I started a side business based on my knowledge of gut health for SIBO and IBS. By working hard, I was able to provide products, like my ebooks and audio program. My web content can help others learn from my experiences.
I am excited to see where I can take my new company. My dream is to create products and services that improve the quality of life for people who suffer from digestive and chronic illnesses. By becoming an internet entrepreneur and turning my suffering into something resourceful for others, I feel that I am moving towards my purpose, passion, and creation of my own.
Submit your story or essay to Buzzworthy Blogs