Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life With A Chronic Invisible Illness by Guest Blogger Ashley Sellner

'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.

1 comment:

  1. We are the strongest. Bravest. Most Courageous. We fight for the small moments, while others take for granted what we only dream of once having. Live every day to the fullest. Believe in no fear. Live for now, not tomorrow. We will get sicker, we will have complications. This is our battle. Enjoy the blessed moments.. Fight, Soar on the wings of hope..