Help Me Save My Life

  My name is Nicole and I am a Juvenile Diabetic. I am 34 years old and  I've had diabetes for 20 years and I am afraid I don't have much time left here if I can't get help. I have struggled with high sugars, DKA and other diabetic side effects for the past 15 years.  As of last October, I was diagnosed with something called gastroparesis.  What this is, is a paralysis of the stomach lining and effects the way you digest your food.  At first, this was ok to deal with.  I was nauseous a few times a week and only usually in the morning but in the past month I have gone from eating about twice a day to only about twice a week.  I vomit every day, can usually only tolerate liquids and have lost 27 pounds in a month. My doctor has had me on numerous medications and none have worked.  The medications for gastroparesis, mainly reglan and zofran, only help the nausea, they do not help you to digest or to eat, but they SOMETIMES take the nausea away.  Also the reglan has a side effect which causes some muscle movement issues and it's not a good long term medicine to be on.  I now have to get what is called a gastric emptying test and what this does is tells the doctors how fast you digest.  You eat something small and drink something small with radiation in it and then they x-ray your stomach every 15-30 minutes to see how long it takes to digest the food/drink!! Right now I can't start any new medicine or do any treatments that could work (feeding tube, gastric pace maker, or botox of the stomach opening) to help me get better and gain my weight back and control my diabetes better, until we get the test done and get the results.  I have no insurance at the moment though I am trying to get welfare or Social Security Disability.  I can't work due to the stomach issues and diabetic sugar highs and hospitilizations.  I have been hospitalized about 8 times in the past 11 months for dehydration and other issues stemming from not eating and constantly vomiting.  These 8 times do not count the numerous ER visits.
 My body right now is mimicking that of an anorexic and I have no control over it.  My heart rate is constantly high and my body is breaking down whatever fat I have to provide energy to get through the day.  I know this because I have urine strips that I have to use to see if I am spilling what are called Ketones, which is a sign that the body is breaking down to sustain itself.  Every day I have a high amount of ketones in my urine.  I am losing weight and muscle mass, I have trouble concentrating.  I have blurred vision and ringing in my ears. I get dizzy if I walk for too long.  I am trying anything and everything to keep weight on but it is a losing battle.  Every day I lose another pound and I feel like I am wasting away to nothing! I drink Ensure with protein, try smoothies with whey protein and multi vitamins, Probiotics, Gatorade and Water with added electrolytes but nothing works.  I have no energy to get off the couch or out of bed most days, I cry at the drop of a hat and I know without this test, I will die.  This paralysis will quicly get worse and take me with it and I will not wake up one day. 
 I have a phenomenal family (that sweet baby in the picture is my nephew, my namesake and the love of my life) and some really great friends, I have two dogs that are my life and I can't enjoy any time with them.  Just making a phone call is enough to drain me of energy on a given day and sometimes it's all I can do to walk upstairs to go to the bathroom.  I've had to have my boyfriend carry me up and down the stairs, my mother has had to bathe me and my mother, father and boyfriend have all spoon fed me in the past few weeks.  I go to the ER almost weekly at this point because my heart rate gets so high I can't breathe, my pain in my stomach and back are so bad I can't walk or take a deep breath, I can't keep down water so I dehydrate...they give me zofran, reglan and some kind of pain medicin and most often send me home because there "is nothing they can do for the gastroparesis except to help with the nausea."  So unless I am at the point of dying (almost in a diabetic coma due to high sugars) they send me home.  This test is the only answer I have left and waiting for an insurance to go through is going to take longer than I have right now.  Please help me save my life.

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Nicole DeStefano 
Philadelphia, PA
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