01 December 2016

gastro what?!

living with gastroparesis 

"Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine." said the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

basically my stomach doesn't function fully 
this gives a wide variety of symptoms 
including but not limited to: 
nausea 
vomiting 
fatigue 
decay of teeth 
lack of appetite 
pain 

there aren't any cures because the cause can't always be located. the options can include changes to diet and in extreme cases medication, all liquid diets, or a feeding tube. it primarily happens to women in their 20s. one day they may just wake up with it. Sometimes it can be due to diabetes or lack of recovery from an illness. 
in my case we believe it was caused by an illness 
my doctor said that at some point i may wake up and be better. but the chances of that aren't likely. 
it can end as quickly as it began. 

i started to experience symptoms in June of 2015. 
one day i just couldn't keep foods down
i thought i must have gotten some sort of bug because the nausea was severe
but after 3 weeks it just kept persisting
at first it was guessed that i may have extreme acid reflux. 
so i took medicine 
but it didn't help 
i was still throwing up every hard food meal 
i started living off applesauce, toast, and oatmeal 
drank enough Sprite to feed an army 
i lost 10 lbs 
and then another 5.
which i wasn't unhappy about. considering i'd recently put on weight from a change in living situation and stress. 
than i received an ultrasound and debris was found in my bladder 
so i flew to Utah for better treatment 
my doctor there ran a scope down my throat
didn't find anything
i didn't have any abdominal pain 
none 
my problem was i'd feel so nausea that i felt better after i puked. 
i got good at being quiet 
and could probably barf on demand 
i got good at controlling it 
my gallbladder wasn't removed 
i didn't want to stay in Utah 
in fact i hated being there 

so i forced myself to keep stuff down so i could return 
and it got better
i dealt with the nausea 
i still can't eat as much food in one sitting, probably half the size of food that a normal 21 year old lady would eat 
certain things i just plain avoid 
spicy foods make my stomach ache for 24 hours 

the main complaint of these disease, at least in my opinion, is the effect it has on having a fulfilling life
it's hard to wake up everyday feeling like you could vomit everything you've ever eaten but knowing there's nothing in there 
drinking so much water you have to pee every hour on demand
or the fact that everyone thinks you're on a diet because you can't eat as much food in one sitting.
and therefore feeling fat because 2 hours later you could eat the same amount you did at the sitting before but nobody else is hungry  
creamy things bring nausea 
too much sugar 
or grease
there goes all my favorite foods 
(at least eating the amount i originally enjoyed)
basically eating the same food item for each individual meal because you know you won't feel sick after 
you stop telling people you don't feel well because well you never feel well. 
having to adjust from eating 3 large meals a day to about 6 meals a day 
it does give you more self control 
you can better maintain your weight 
you learn quickly what is good and what isn't for your body
and you know whats worth eating.

what i've learned from this experience is that nobody is invincible
sure you hear that all the time
but you never really believe it till it happens to you
basically it changes you
my lifestyle has definitely changed
i try to not let it stop me
hinder me
and sometimes that means that i throw up in a friends toilet, wash out my mouth, and go back to hanging out with them as if nothing had happened
that seems strange
but you get used to it.
you use a special toothpaste so your teeth don't rot from the stomach acid
(i worked hard for my pearly whites. hello 4 years of braces anyone?.)
you only eat what makes you feel good
eat good. feel good.