The person in this story doesn’t have IBS. He suffers from chronic back pain, sciatica and shooting pain in both legs.
Me: How are you doing Pierre?
Pierre: Oh, my chronic pain is getting worse and worse. I nearly feel and hurt myself the other day because I can’t feel my right leg very well. I can’t walk very well at all. I’ve been to my doctor with it but he can’t suggest anything but painkillers, and they are not working.
What did the physio say?
He doesn’t really know what’s going on. I keep going for a walk, even though it half kills me, because I get the impression if I stop then I will get stiff.
That’s a great thing to be doing, Pierre. That must really hurt, though.
It does. I really want to go and see this neurosurgeon I’ve heard of, because he has a lot of experience. He operated on a friend of mine and the result was amazing.
So when are you going?
Oh I can’t go unless my doctor refers me. And he won’t do that. So I can’t.
Pierre, this is important to you. You know I have a different point of view of where this may be coming from. But you are in your body. You know yourself and how you are feeling better than anyone because you have to live with that day –in, day out. If you think this is who you need to go and see, then maybe you should go and see this specialist. Otherwise you will never know what he had to say.
But I can’t. My doctor won’t refer me.
Me: You remember back at school when you needed to go to the bathroom, and your teacher wouldn’t give you permission to leave the class? You don’t need permission. You are convinced this is what you need. Don’t wait and live with regrets. Go with your gut feeling. Find a way to see this specialist. Change doctors if you need to, or go private. But do what you need to do. Otherwise you will have to live with what might have been.
Pierre: Well the specialist is very busy because he is quite someone.
Me: That’s why you need to see him, Pierre.
IBS and empowerment
The moral to this story is that is worth becoming as knowledgeable about your IBS as you can – and not waiting for permission to do so. In my personal experience, IBS and empowerment = the road to recovery.
Dig your heels in. Go with your gut instinct. And see what you can learn. It’s not about getting it right or wrong. Or needing permission. It’s about learning and moving forward.2