'If you have a stomach issue then why aren't you skinnier?' This is probably the most offensive question I've ever been asked since I was diagnosed with gastroparesis...ever heard of starvation mode? Yes, some GP patients are skinny, some are in between like me, and some are very overweight. I like having a little extra weight, especially for those weeks when I can't eat and lose 10lbs.
I've always been really weird about my weight and self conscious and having gastroparesis has only made that worse. Ever been starving, down 10lbs in 7 days, unable to eat, and so bloated you look pregnant? I have...I had to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe because of it. It's miserable to be bloated and nauseous all the time. It's unbearable to feel that way AND feel horrible and uncomfortable in everything you wear. My very supportive husband let me buy new clothes to help me out and it means the world to me. I try not to let my condition control my life, so it's nice to look 'normal' and not be in sweat pants and baggy shirts all day. Out of everything that gastroparesis has changed in my life, I think the thing that aggravates me the most is to hear how people, loved ones and friends, aren't supportive of the person suffering. It's hard to battle this condition 24/7, stay perky and friendly, and feel all alone. I'm lucky that I have my husband, family, and friends. Some people aren't that lucky and have 'loved' ones who have actually left them because they said they couldn't handle it.
I started a new job last week and it's definitely made things harder. My employer knows about my issues, but not how badly I'm affected at times. Starting a new job is an exciting experience and I love my new position, but working is very hard on me. Not only am I fighting the urge to vomit and dealing with constant pain and nausea, but I'm also trying to keep up and focus and that can be difficult. You wake up with a fever and a stomach ache and call out of work; I wake up with that and it's just another day. It amazes me how much we adapt to our situations. Millions of people every day walk around and live trying to manage their GP and you'd never even notice it.
The biggest fear I have with GP is the fear of getting worse. The fear of feeding tubes and pumps, disability; of having no other options to try. I have friends in this situation and it's so sad. They just keep getting sicker and sicker and no one can do anything. I'm also scared for when I get pregnant. I have the possibility of feeling a little better, but I also have the possibility of getting worse. Getting worse scares me more then anything.
If there's one thing us GP'ers have leaned it's that we never give up. The people I know with GP are the strongest, most beautiful people I know. I'm sad that there are so many of us but I am glad that I have them because there support and encouragement and understanding can be the best medicine sometimes.