Impact of Gastroparesis
The impact of gastroparesis on physical well-being can be devastating. It can cause chronic nausea and vomiting and lead to malnutrition and inadequate blood sugar levels. Living with gastroparesis also affects emotional well-being – the constant discomfort of chronic nausea and vomiting can affect school and work performance, family and personal relationships, and social activities.
Where I Am Now
Here I am two and half years later still fighting the battle. I've not had any luck with diet options since I can only tolerate liquids, pureed foods, and some small bites of soft food. The medicine I was taking no longer works - either bad side effects or no longer available to be prescribed. I'm not a canditate for the Gastric Packmaker. I had a Botox injection (pylorus) in 2013 which helped, but that was a onetime thing and the benefits only lasted a few months before it quit working. Still on mostly liquids/pureed food, barely taking in 450-650 calories a day, my body is stuck in starvation mode and I can't pull out of it. The new doctor I'm seeing has put me on a new protein shake and has recommended stomach surgery. The recommended surgery will bypass the "non-functioning" part of my stomach and will reconnect into the lower part of my intestines.
The cost of the surgery is approximately $30,000. I have everything covered except fees that are required by the hospital and insurance company. (dietitian, hospital fees, ect).
When I First Got Sick
I first got sick on Memorial Day 2012. I spent months go back and forth to the doctor and hospital (getting fluids) and being told nothing was wrong with me. On Oct 8, 2012, my gallbladder was removed. They thought that was my problem. Long behold I was still sick after surgery. The surgeon gave up on me and told me not to come back to his practice because there was nothing he could do. All I could think was I'm going to die...I've lost 85lbs at this time and no one knows why I'm sick. I continued going back and forth to the hospital for fluids and they would send me home. That mid-November day came and it was like no other. I had vomited 18 times that day and I was in the fetal position in the bathroom barely moving. I knew was I was going to die laying there. All I could remember was crying for my husband to help me. My sister-in-law came and rushed me to the hospital and they still said nothing was wrong with me. My husband decided to try another hospital to see if we could get an answer at all. I remember sitting in that ER 5 hours because they thought it was a stomach virus. I was still vomiting. They finally got me to the back of the hospital and ran test. Issues with my kidneys occured because of the dehydration. The GI doc didn't know what was wrong, but he was determined to find out. He admitted me to the hospital to run some tests. The gastric emptying study showed that my stomach was barely working at 35-40%. With that study along with an Upper GI, they were able to diagnose Gastroparesis. I remember the office visit with the diagnoses like it was yesterday. My husband and me went into his office and he looked at me with a sad face. He said I have good and bad news. Good news is that we figured out what is wrong with you. Bad news is you will never be able to eat normal again.
What is Gastroparesis?
Gastorparesis is known as stomach paralysis. Your stomach becomes slow and weakened. Following a meal, it takes too long for the stomach to empty its contents into the small intestine. Sometimes it does not empty at all and you vomit your stomach content back up (sorry, but true!). THERE IS NO CURE. Sometimes symptoms can be improved with treatment, but it's a hit or miss situation with each patient. Treatment includes diet changes, medications, surgery, or a gastric pacemaker.
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