Sunday, August 19, 2012
Muscles on Strike - by Guest Blogger Michael Houbrick
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!