Let me tell you a personal story of how I was able to utilize the concept of gradual improvement to move ahead in life.

I had a consistent and somewhat debilitating problem with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There is very little information available about IBS and, due to the nature of this illness, very few people talk about it. My readers who either have IBS or another, related, chronic disease, or know someone who does, have told me that they appreciate my talking about my battle with the condition, in bringing it to light for others.

Approximately 14% of the entire U.S. population suffers from IBS. It is the leading cause of missed days at work, and women are twice as likely as men to suffer from it. There is no pill you can take and no cure available, so most people suffer in silence and humiliation. Some have not left their homes or gone on trips in years. Almost all sufferers schedule their lives around this condition. This was in part my story until I found help.

It took me four years of living with this gradually worsening condition before I finally had the courage to accept that I, in fact, suffered from it (yes – I had refused to name it, and had hoped by not naming it that it wouldn’t be true). Humiliating and embarrassing as the boldly named Irritable Bowel Syndrome is, I began to realize that in order for me to change how it affected my life, I first had to recognize and accept it.

So, I finally faced up to it and began talking about my condition with my friends. No more mumbling something vague of a digestive disorder or a garlic allergy. After a few attempts, I could finally say the words “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” and you know what? My friends were very supportive. Not that no one hadn’t noticed my frequent bathroom visits, or my panic if I did not see a bathroom, was stuck in traffic or in an airplane! But I’d given a name to what I’d been going through, and with that out in the open were able to address it together – I found that I was no longer alone.


The support I received from others gave me permission to face the fact that I had IBS, and I began to research alternative treatments that existed outside of my health plan.

In California, where I live, we have HMOs, all-inclusive health plans from one provider that owns own hospitals and medical centers. While HMOs are otherwise terrific insurance programs, their managers believe to this day that everything they haven’t officially sanctioned – which in the case of IBS is a lot – is experimental and therefore not covered by insurance.

But I remained steadfast in my search for a cure. I was going to find a way to heal myself. I’d accepted the condition and, while I was not able to think spontaneous healing overnight, I wanted to get ”better.”

In my quest, I found one of the few, if not the only, doctors in the U.S. who had a specialized clinic for my condition, and it was called simply the IBS Treatment Center. In addition to the center, I found a set of IBS-specific meditation tapes that helped me “reprogram” my subconscious.

Dr. Stephen Wangen, from the IBS clinic, is convinced that the disease is caused by a supplementary condition such as food allergies, parasites or Candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast and microscopic parasites (and which turned out to be the cause of my IBS). Dr. Wangen has had extraordinary results with his treatment options, and his information can be found in the resource section.

IBS is not a pleasant diagnosis and comes with an even tougher treatment. It took me five months to get rid of it. Since then I had to fight yet with another set of new parasites. I had to follow a very strict diet, which I did gladly, as I was indeed getting “better.” I am delighted to report that I am much more than better now; I am well on my way to total recovery. By searching for information and developing a plan that would carry me down the road to better health, I created a reality I could accept.

Tell me about yourself – are there instances in your life where you refused to accept “no” for an answer, where you thought you could become better by searching for more viable options? Or are there areas where you still feel stuck? I’d love to hear about either – we’re on this journey together, and your experiences mean a lot to me, and to other women. Thank you for sharing with me!

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