The Stomach Who Can’t Be Moved
It seems my body is less than satisfied with one diagnosis. Lupus wasn’t enough so it developed fibromyalgia. When that wasn’t enough it developed gastroparesis.
Simply put, having gastroparesis means that my stomach muscle doesn’t contract properly and I end up with food stuck in my stomach for hours at a time. Often, this means that I just throw it back up because my body gets confused. I have issues with acid reflux because the food and acid get stuck there. It also means I’m never hungry and am almost constantly nauseous.
It took me almost six months to get an appointment with a gastroenterologist/GI doctor. He did an endoscopy. Noted a large amount of acid erosion and put me on a prescription antacid, omeprazole, to reduce the acid in my stomach and help the erosion heal. Mercifully, he also gave me an anti-nausea med, Zofran (ondansetron), which helps a ton.
I wasn’t satisfied with this doctor so I found a new one. Of course, it took another six months to get that appointment. She was awesome. She ordered a gastric emptying study. They had me eat a plateful of eggs with a contrast in them and then take a number of x-rays over a few hours to see how the food moves through. Inexplicably, the study came back normal. The doctor was flabbergasted, but continued to treat me as if I have gastroparesis, which is evident from the symptoms. She gave me reglan (metoclopramide), but only to use as needed. She doesn’t want me taking it all the time because it has some nasty side effects.
Over the last year I have found some things that help me manage the gastroparesis other than the med. I don’t eat raw salads anymore, because those can’t be digested well with my stomach the way it is. I don’t eat high fat meals, and I don’t eat big meals anymore. (Thanksgiving is fairly ruined.) Together, these changes help minimize the number of meals that I end up throwing up.
However, I know a lot of people with other chronic illnesses seem to develop gastroparesis. Whether this is due to the illnesses or the meds that we take for them is beyond me. All the same, I’d love any advice on what else seems to work.
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