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August is Gastroparesis month!

Imagine this: You’re in gut-wrenching pain, so bad that you are downstairs using your phone to call the person upstairs for help. You’re so tired that you can’t get out of bed. You can’t do normal household chores without shaking. You haven’t eaten for a day or two, or maybe all you have had is a bite or two of food. You lay in a fetal position because it is the only comfortable one. You can’t drink water without throwing up. Your once nice teeth are now rotting due to GERD and acid reflux.

You suffer from diarrhea or constipation, or both. You haven’t eliminated in two weeks and you have to physically remove it or just stand up out of bed to find you are emptying yourself in front of your spouse with no warning. Who knew?

You need to get groceries or attend your niece’s birthday party. Do you go and take a chance on messing your pants or throwing up? You’ve embarrassed yourself before!

You end up at the ER because you can’t stop the pain, and it feels like it is your heart. You passed out in the shower only to find out that your bloodwork and tests indicate that you are ok and there is nothing physically wrong with you–implying that you are imagining it or are an addict looking for pain meds. They give you IV fluids and send you home. You are still in pain and feel emotionally let down. You have to call off from work again. You come home to find your family and friends’ supportive feedback is: “You’re not eating right.” “Get up and move around.” “You’ll feel better soon.” Or they just don’t believe you.

Finally, all you have is yourself, and how alone you are! You then start the process of giving up and answering “FINE” to all the future “How are you?” questions. The word “FINE” is just one way of escaping the negative feedback that shows the non-support of others.

What is this disease that takes you from a normal life with dreams yesterday to a way of life that you wish you would die or feel like dying by tomorrow? This disease is called Gastroparesis. The medical definition is “a condition of delayed gastric emptying without mechanical obstruction.”

August is Gastroparesis month, which is why I chose to bring it to your attention. The main reason is to make Gastroparesis included on the list when GI doctors talk about digestive disorders. This disease affects all ages from birth to adult, and mostly females. It is a rare disease with less than 200,000 individuals diagnosed in the U.S. It is a disease that is overlooked, misunderstood, and misdiagnosed by family, friends, and mostly the medical profession.

The information you read in the beginning are examples of testimonials from individuals as well as personal connections of mine. Unfortunately, they live their lives this way every day, knowing that there is no cure. Therefore, this month, I hope to bring more knowledge to the public by supplying you with more information about the causes, symptoms, and treatments and showing the psychological effects this has on individuals and their loved ones.

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