Hi my name is Rebecca and I was diagnosed with Mild Gastroparesis in 2006. I have always suffered with constipation from childhood and was very familiar with laxatives growing up. I also had a lot of tummy aches. However when I became a young adult; I found a way to keep my constipation under control for first time in my life; and, that was simply by drinking a 6 oz. glass of Prune Juice followed by a glass of water each night before bed. This worked for me for about 17 – 20 years. And for the first time in my life, i did not suffer with tummy aches, bladder issues or any digestive issues at all. I truly knew what it meant to feel good.
However probably about a year before I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis; my constipation came back with a vengeance!! And this was in spite of drinking plenty of water; exercising 5 – 7 times a week; and, eating relatively well-balanced meals. In other words trying to take care of myself. I went immediately to have a colonoscopy done because of my age at the time, which was mid 40’s; and, I just thought it would be a good idea to have that done sine I had issues from childhood. They found nothing and I was told to eat more fruit, which ended up making matters worse. Due to work; raising children; and, taking care of three elderly family members; I was forced as I waited on the doctors to come up with a solution, to start using laxatives. At some point during that time, I gradually began to experience the horrible bloating and indigestion that are part of Gastroparesis symptoms; and, I could not eat or drink without blowing up like a balloon. It was unbearable; and, when I was in that condition I could not empty my bladder. So for approximately two years I was taking Castor Oil and or Milk of Magnesia just to get through my days; and, I spent my nights cat- napping on the bathroom floor. I could not understand what was happening to me.
No matter how hard I tried, I could not get the doctors to listen to what I was telling them; and, I could get no relief whatsoever. I sunk into deep, deep depression; and, I tried to kill myself one day when everyone was gone, because by this time I had been out of work for two (2) months and weighted only 85lbs; was not being taken seriously by doctors; and, could not eat and could barely drink. What I thought would be fixed in a few visits to the doctor had turned my life upside down; and, I saw no way out and could not imagine another 30 years or so of living this way.
At this time I had not heard of Gastroparesis; and, even though I had had the Gastric Emptying Study (GES); the doctors did not mention that I had “Mild” Gastroparesis. I found out about it on a show; and, then asked the doctors about it at that time; and, the answers where very elusive for a long time until they finally did tell me. But at this time I was unaware of Online Support Groups and knew nothing about this horrible illness. I felt very alone and isolated.
Nine (9) years later I am still here and still living with this illness; and, I am not sure how this story for me is going to end. I finally went down again in August of 2014, and am in the process of filing for Disability because I have fought this for nine (9) years and pushed myself to the point of utter and complete exhaustion; but, I have since found the Online Gastroparesis Support Groups; I have started one of my own; I have met some amazing people – STRONG WARRIORS!! I have also learned much about this horrible illness; and, I am trying to help educate other’s through my GP Group. I have also met an amazing man with a colon irrigation device that he is trying to help me get through my insurance company because I also have colonic inertia. So we are hoping that if I can get some relief from that, then maybe I can better manage my Gastroparesis; which I now know can be brought on by laxative abuse; but, then we do what we have to do when it comes to functioning.
I hope this illness will not beat me. I have a different perspective than I did nine (9) years ago. I have a wonderful GI doctor now after going through five (5) GI’s; I have a wonderful psychologist whom helps with the depression associated with this or any chronic illness; and, a psychiatrist whom has given me some mild meds to help me cope and get sleep. Sleep which I missed out for a very long time. So my goals today are very different than they were nine (9) years ago. They are to Spread Awareness and Bring About Change; they are to Educate People who are new to the illness so they can be better prepared to talk with their Physicians; and, to be supportive to those who are struggling to come to terms with this horrible illness.
Gastroparesis is real. It is not in our heads; and, everyone that I have talked to whom has this illness has said all of the same things: it has completely changed their life; sometimes they feel like giving up; doctors don’t seem to understand; and, they would not wish this illness on anyone.
WE ARE STANDING TALL – WE ARE STANDING TOGETHER – WE ARE STANDING STRONG – WE ARE GASTROPARESIS WARRIORS!!