Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) impacts 10-15 percent of adults worldwide with symptoms ranging from pain, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation. Many patients suffer for years, struggling with what to eat and how to best prevent flare-ups.
That was the case for Ben F., a chaplain at a Maine medical center. He was diagnosed with IBS-C (IBS with constipation) in June of 2012 and found GIThrive last year through his non-profit healthcare trust. Ever since, Ben has been an avid GIThrive user.
In this blog, GIThrive member Ben F. shares a bit about his background, his struggles with food and IBS, and how the GIThrive program fits into his life of service.
As a priest chaplain, Ben developed an interest in clinical pastoral work. He found a particular affinity for ministering to hospital patients. “Reflecting on this particular ministry over the years, it seems it was meant to be because I can identify with my patients in most cases, though they often do not know it.” he says.
Growing up in a family of five, he was considered a sickly child. “My mom was so helpless with my condition that all she would say was, ‘God must have a mission for your life,’ and I believe this is why I am alive today.” says Ben. Fortunately, he says his health today as a 54-year old has improved from his childhood days. However, his digestive issues can sometimes get in the way of what he wants to accomplish in his ministry work.
A Search for Real Help
At one point, Ben told a doctor he’d noticed a particular food item gave him stomach upset and diarrhea immediately following a meal. He was disappointed when all the physician told him was “stop eating it.” He’d hoped for additional guidance, clarity or perhaps advice about how to soothe his stomach before eating that particular food.
Fortunately, he soon found the correct support. “Joining GIThrive and having a dedicated Care Team to work with regularly has made all the difference,” he says.
A More Integrated Care Approach
Ben stays in regular contact with his Care Team, especially his dietitian. “We have phone appointments every two to four weeks, depending on how things are going,” he says. “My Care Team routinely gives suggestions toward my holistic care. When I bring these suggestions to my PCP (primary care provider), it is always well received.” Ben also uses the GIThrive app daily to monitor how he’s doing, which he says helps him keep track of his ongoing progress.
Ben’s GIThrive dietitian is thrilled to see his ongoing progress. “It is such a pleasure to work with Ben. He is committed and motivated to play an active role in managing his health and healthcare. We work collaboratively to come up with goals and experiments to help relieve his symptoms,” she says.
Everyday, members like Ben log in to GIThrive thanks to their employers and find resources and support to improve their painful, expensive and difficult digestive health conditions. For more information on how it works and why it works, click below.