Sunday, August 19, 2012

Muscles on Strike - by Guest Blogger Michael Houbrick

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My eyes we're a blur after seeing the 22nd different doctor in about 4 months. But this time there was a partial prognosis. The doctor said some of my problems were due to a condition called gastroparesis. Gastor, what?? Basically, it means the muscles in my stomach had gone on strike. How dare they quit now. I have tons of back yard barbecues and stadium hot dogs to eat yet. Like a spoiled child,  for my whole life hadn’t I  given my stomach muscles everything they wanted? The endless plate of French fries, double cheese burgers, super sized diet cokes, spicy hot wings, chili cheese fries. What else could a good set of stomach muscles on a guy want?  So after a delayed stomach emptying test and upon hearing the news that my stomach muscles  are not working right I said to myself,  Oh great...another dysfunctional body part.  I thought there must be a little blue pill, or purple pill,  or maybe a lime green  pill that can cure it, right? I was wrong.
Well, I guess when there is food remaining in the stomach for a longer period of time than normal this is not a good thing. Some little nerve, called the vagus nerve, is suppose to controls the contractions and send food to the lower intestine for digestion.  With gastroparesis, the doctor told me, this doesn’t happen and food will move slowly or stop moving through the digestive tract.
Oh great, it is true, what happens in the vagus nerve , stays in vagus.
The worst part about gastroparesis is that it is relatively unknown, so family and friends have no idea why a person with this disease, like me, throws up every day. Worse yet, they don’t understand why in some cases. Someone can throw up every single day   and not lost a pound. News Flash: People with gastroparesis don’t throw up because they want to!!  The throwing up part is a result of the food that doesn't gets digested and it rots in the stomach. The throwing up is the body's quickest way possible to get rid of the food still in the stomach. Since the stomach nerve muscles are not digesting, it comes up through the esophagus. (Gross I know.) As a result of the food not being properly digested, most of the nutrients never make it into the body. So the body has learned to store any nutrients it has so it doesn't starve itself to death.  The body of a person with gastroparesis sometimes goes into starvation mode.
I am not a doctor, and I only pretend to be one when I want to impress the ladies, so do not look at any part of this blog post as medical advice. If you are having issues with abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, etc you need to go see your own doctor!  The bottom line of this disease is that throwing up is not voluntary like it is with Bulimia. That is why someone who is suffering from bulimia is thin and continues to lose weight, yet,  someone with gastropareisis is bloated and can actually gain weight. So yes, throwing up is hard to do!
Have a great day!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Family Guy, that's a ripping funny adn informative account of living with GP, thanks for sharing. I understand it ain't all a party at Vagus indeed it can cause any grown man/woman to bouts of the boo hoos. I'm another GPer, been a total Non Eater. No oral Tucker for a decade, not a morsel down my esophagus, not a crumble to chew but take Hope, as since Xmas day 2011, I am back chewin' without spewin' (or not very often). The surprise shock, rocks my socks and the Drs too ,whom sensibly from the get-go told the truth, they did not know the future, Gpers are unique and medicine knows little to naught of GP with CIPO. We do not know why now, I wake up and Not throw up x 30 per day thereabouts. Mid 90s, Surgeon said, oops, we may have cut your vagus , oops we didn't mean it, now it's, nah we mustn't 'ave, opps but we don't know what the f@#* GP, problem is, call it idiopathic. My CIPO, well that's another post, that's the cause of my ongoing limited food intake if not bc it causes the spews, it is bc of the PAIN...and sickness/FATIGUE even with my Joey (Ileostomy ) that puts some of my insides on the outside. But that's another post.... Good luck in Vagus! Aven. (tube feeder, 56yr.F. x Quarter Century with CIPO/GP, Australia with luck of social health supporting to continue my profession as Painter even if with only a wee wee thimble of energy.