Hi Normal. Well, perhaps we need to take a deep breath here and look at the issues one by one.
You did not cause your IBS. Just give this one up, ok? We ALL go through this period of self-recrimination. Unfortunately, the medical community and the general public reinforces this myth because of a lack of education. I have been saying for years that we need a fund drive for IBS - a 10K walk perhaps or some ribbon campaign. It looks like it's going to be up to us to educate our friends and family. When you feel like blaming yourself, ask if you would do this if you had diabetes or psoriasis or leukemia.
I did a bit of research of Donnatol. The literature seems to imply that there is one particular liver problem that would preclude you taking it. I am wondering if this is the condition with which you suffer (a certain blood/liver problem called acute intermittent porphyria). Have you spoken to your doctor specifically about this? It may be that, with proper supervision and intermittent testing, you might still safely take this drug, if it helps you. The question would be, does it? I don't have IBS D but I used to take hycosamine. I was never helped by it. Perhaps your experience is different. Beyond all this, if you are still uncomfortable with this med, have you seen another doc? Have you tried anything else that might provide some relief? Certain anti-anxiety drugs can also calm the nervous system and bring about similar results. While these carry their own warning (habit forming), they can be beneficial when used as needed in the short term.
Taking meds on a regular basis is something many folks have to deal with in their lives. I was recently told that my cholesterol is sky high, despite what I consider to be a very healthy diet. In my case, this runs in my family so it's doubtful I can control it with only diet. My doc, whom I trust, prescribed a statin which I may have to take for the rest of my life. I'm not too happy about that, but yes, in this case, the benefit outweighs the dangers. I don't want to die of a stroke.
I also have a severe case of Mitral Valve Prolapse. Dx in 1980, I've been taking beta-blockers for 28 years. MVP, like IBS, is not a life-threatening disorder YET it completely upsets my daily life by causing me tremendous stress and anxiety. Side effects of long term use of beta-blockers are not catastrophic, but, like you, I was not thrilled with the idea of taking meds for the rest of my life. But here I am, 28 years later, still taking them and very grateful that they have controlled my symptoms and allowed me to live comfortably.
With my IBS C, I take herbal supplements every day. At least once a month, I take magnesium citrate to control chronic C. In the past, I have taken EVERY med available to treat this condition. For years, I took a med called Propulsid, which I considered a miracle pill. They pulled this drug off the shelf because of sudden deaths. I was devastated when this happened as I was thrown back into the cycle of intestinal unpredictability that is IBS. I took Zelnorm, which was also pulled off the shelf. I've taken all the anti-spasmodics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds on the market. I've taken daily laxatives and naturopathic treatments like colon hydrotherapy. We do all these things in an effort to improve the quality of life. Some things work for awhile and then quit. Some things don't work at all. I've rarely stayed with a med long enough to do any long term damage. With IBS, nothing seems to work that long. Until medicine comes up with something effective and safe, we will all spend time and energy experimenting with ways to live more normal lives. Some of these treatments (like Immodium in your case, or mag citrate in mine) are not unsafe when taken occassionally.
While I know it is infuriating to deal with this condition, we also must remember that the more exasperated we become, the worse our symptoms get. At this point, I don't even care about the origins of IBS. It's the chicken and egg argument. But I do know that the more anxious and stressed I get, the worse I feel. Coming to this message board brings me much solace and peace. I've gotten more from the fabulous members here than I ever got in 15 years of therapy!
Stick with us, Normal. We're here for ya!