Life Deconstructed: Irritable bowel syndrome a new source of agony

Maria Jiunta Heck - Life Deconstructed

Warning: the following descriptions and mental imagery may not be suitable for some readers. Peruse at your own risk. The topic of this week’s column? Poop.

I can’t help it; I write what I know. And since Dec. 31, I have known more poop than the San Diego Zoo.

I have irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS-d. Only someone who suffers from this disorder knows the agony. I can’t adequately explain it except to say I bore three children, one with an inexplicably gargantuan head circumference, passed a ton of very sharp kidney stones, and survived breast cancer. I swear to you on my toilet: This is worse.

It began New Year’s Eve. Wellll … hello, 2018, welcome to my own, personal hell-on-porcelain. While my husband was at a party ringing in the new year with copious amounts of iced tea-flavored vodka (it’s his new thing), I rang it in with two rolls of toilet paper, an expired Tylenol #3 I found in my jewelry box and tears. Lots. Of. Tears. I could not remove my rear from the toilet for hours. I slept on the bathroom floor. And I haven’t done that since after the senior prom at the Woodlands, circa 1981.

My IBS-d is normally associated with my diet, which, let’s be honest, is terrible. I am Polish; therefore, a well-balanced meal consists of kielbasa or, really, any tasty, processed meat dotted with an unusually high amount of fat pockets and sodium, an assortment of fried dough products, pierogies and cabbage. While my sister Jennifer has skipped this genetic hand-me-down, I have embraced it. If she is the Tofu Queen, I am the Dairy Queen.

As payback for my ill-gotten diet, my colon tortures me for two or three days afterward and I treat it with a cocktail of anti-spasmodic medication and a side order of Imodium. Because, eventually leaving my toilet becomes necessary.

This current situation, however, shows no signs of backing down. It’s been three months; I’m in hell, and there’s no end in sight. My husband has stopped yelling when he comes home: “Where are you?” because he knows where I am. I am suction cupped to his favorite porcelain American Standard appliance. The amount of time I spend in the bathroom can be compared to how long a bear hibernates for winter. Pretty close.

Worse, since eventually I’m forced to leave my home and my car does not come with a Port-a-Potty (but that’s a million dollar idea, right there), I’ve taken to wearing Depends. Or, let’s just call them what they are: Pull Ups. I wear Pull-Ups, people! How did this happen? I don’t care what fancy design is bestowed upon them; a diaper is still a diaper.

Next up on the tour of the Bathroom Escapades: The Colonoscopy. I’ve had several, because we are a family riddled with cancer, and while I realize what it entails, it always helps to make the preparation go more smoothly when it’s accompanied by bountiful amounts of crying, whining, wailing and howling.

During my time sur la throne, I completed an entire book of Sudoku, counted the floor tiles, wrote this column, played hours of Trivia Crack, yelled to Nancy to fetch me more toilet paper, then yelled at him again because he walked in with the roll of toilet paper in one hand and a chicken wing in the other. And yet, I’m the one with the health issues? Why do the gastrointestinal gods hate me so much?

I’ve had three procedures thus far, and yet the core cause of this maelstrom of waste remains a mystery. It’s like Jimmy Hoffa, Roswell and the lost city of Atlantis all rolled into one bunch of toilet paper. Round and round the toilet it goes, where it ends, nobody knows. Nobody knows. But here’s what I do know? There’s 76 tiles on my bathroom floor.

Maria Jiunta Heck

Life Deconstructed

Maria Jiunta Heck, of West Pittston, is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at

Maria Jiunta Heck, of West Pittston, is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at