Friday, August 19, 2011

I want a beer! Awareness Week blog by Sarah McFeggan

My name is Sarah, I am 37 years old, and I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in the fall of 2008.  My stomach shut down on me about a few days after I stopped taking antibiotics for pneumonia in May of 2008.  It seemed like it took FOREVER for my doctors to figure out what was going on.  I couldn't eat and I couldn't sleep due to horrible reflux, bloating and nausea.  I lost 15 pounds in two months and I carried liquid Maalox around with me everywhere.  I started to call it my "boyfriend".  I was finally put on an acid reducer and it helped with the reflux but I could still not eat a lot.  Then I had that fun stomach emptying test done and was told that I had gastroparesis.  I was also told to look it up online and that we could look into a stomach pacemaker......What???  So, I went home and looked it up online.  The first website I found gave me some hope that I would get better.  The second website, not so much.  It scared the crap out of me!  How could there not be a pill that fixed this and how could doctors know so little about it?  Luckily, I found a couple of groups online started by others who have GP or other gastrointestinal issues.  I was shocked at how many people had been diagnosed with GP.  I had NEVER heard of it before I was diagnosed with it.  Through these groups I was able to find out more information and resources about diet and nutrition.  I figured out through trial and error (lots of errors) what I could tolerate and what I could not.  The "could not" list was much longer.  I wasn't able to go out and socialize with my friends and family like I used to and going out to eat was torturous.  Things have slowly gotten better but I'm still impacted by GP on a daily basis.  There is not a day that goes by since I was diagnosed where I don't think about when I can eat, what I can eat, am I getting enough calories, am I starving myself, am I hungry, am I bloated, is my reflux worse..... This has done WONDERS for my anxiety.  Which is what my doctor blamed it on initially (I'm rolling my eyes).  Thankfully, my close family and friends have been supportive and understanding.  It breaks my heart to read about how others family and friends do not support them or believe them.  Hi - if we could eat - WE WOULD EAT!  I just want a beer, frankly.....At least my friends let me smell theirs ;)

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