Are My Stomach Problems Really All in My Head?

Constance Sommer in The New York Times:

The New Mexican desert unrolled on either side of the highway like a canvas spangled at intervals by the smallest of towns. I was on a road trip with my 20-year-old son from our home in Los Angeles to his college in Michigan. Eli, trying to be patient, plowed down I-40 as daylight dimmed and I scrolled through my phone searching for a restaurant or dish that would not cause me pain. After years of carefully navigating dinners out and meals in, it had finally happened: There was nowhere I could eat.

“I’m so sorry, honey,” I said. “I feel really, really bad.” And I did. I was on the verge of tears, as much out of self-pity and shame as any maternal concern. Eli shook his head. “It’s OK, Mom. It’s not your fault.” But it was. Because of me — or, to be precise, my digestive system — we would not eat until we reached Amarillo, Texas, at 10 p.m., and bought frozen food from a grocery store near our Airbnb. My gut is not a carefree traveler. Ingest the wrong items, and my stomach feels as though someone’s scoured it with a Brillo pad. For the next few hours, I may also experience migraines, achy joints and a foggy, feverish sensation like I’m coming down with the flu. My doctors call this irritable bowel syndrome, or I.B.S. I call it a terrible shame.

More here.