Road Trips with Tummy Troubles

Road Trips with Tummy Troubles

It was the first trip my fiancée and I were taking together. We were jetting off to civilization – Chicago, to be exact – from our home in small-town, southern rural Illinois. We’d been saving for this trip for months. We live so far “off the grid” that just getting to the airport was at least a two-hour drive. Hmm. Confined space for two hours in the car and another two hours on the plane with “the man in my life” could be a problem since we sometimes tend to pick at each other – mostly in jest.

So, with all that “first-trip” travel time together, we decided to make a “no-fight pact,” which meant we had to agree to let all the little things go. No bickering, no arguing, no questioning, no nit-picking. Do you know how hard that can be? But we decided to “take the high road” and give it a try.

As we took off in our trusty, old truck, we were really excited to be getting out of town. But no sooner had we gotten on the highway than my stomach began to swell and twitch. Because I was in a hurry to be ready to go on time, I had gulped down a sugar-coated doughnut and coffee for breakfast.

BIG MISTAKE! Over the years, I have learned that sugar and I don’t get along very well. I never have found out why, but after I eat sugary foods, I experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Within the first half-hour of our drive, that doughnut was clearly making my stomach – and me – more than unhappy.

Even though I knew it was way too soon into the trip to stop, I casually asked if we could take a pit stop. Just as casually, I got a raised eyebrow and a rather dismissive look that clearly said “Already?” as he glanced at me and then back at the road. “No-fight pact” firmly intact, I closed my mouth and concentrated on holding on for dear life.

As the miles rolled by, my whole gastrointestinal system was rising up in protest. I must have changed positions in the front seat at least 20 times, and every bump in the road threatened to cause a minor explosion.

Finally, he said he was “thirsty” and suggested that a pit stop was in order. “Yes indeed, let’s take a pit stop,” I answered with relief. As soon as the truck rolled to a stop, I opened the truck door and hit the ground running. It took me one second to snatch the restroom key off the peg at the front of the gas station, and race around to the back, afraid I wouldn’t make it in time. Thank goodness, I did – just barely.

With a sigh of contentment, I drifted back to hang the key on the peg and find my fiancée, who was chatting with the station owner. When we got to the car, he had to make a few smart-aleck comments, like “I didn’t know you could run that fast! You’re a dang track star.”

“I’m a track star because I get car sick,” I lied because I was too embarrassed to tell him what was really wrong. Right then and there, I made a silent vow. I would go to my doctor as soon as we got back from our trip and see if I couldn’t find out what was happening every time I ate something sweet. I didn’t want to wonder anymore about what I could and couldn’t eat. I wanted to know what I could do.

When we returned home from our trip, I made an appointment with the stomach specialist again. He did some more testing, and I found out I have Sucrose Intolerance. People with Sucrose Intolerance, also known as Congenital-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), cannot digest certain foods containing sugars (sucrose) or starches, which can lead to diarrhea, gas, bloating, and stomach pain after eating. Now that I understand what has been causing my tummy trouble, hopefully my next “road trip” will go much smoother.

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