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Monday, December 3, 2012

Another Sleepless Night & Another New Symptom

I am so exhausted.

I can't sleep and all I can do is to curl up in a ball and whimper. The pain hurts. It's one huge spasm after another and the vomiting makes the pain worse. I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my back vomiting this last time.

My fraternity's local alumni association had a holiday get together today. My husband is deeply involved in this organization and he's been here to support me, so I wanted to be there today to support him. The holiday get together was at a local soul food restaurant. Now, just the smell or image of food had me gagging this week, but I was determined that I was going to get through this lunch. I felt like I was marching to an execution and praying I didn't get sick at the restaurant. I took all of my medicine before I got into the car which includes Bentyl, Levsin, Zofran, Phenergan, Zanaflex, and my vitamins I've started taking. I added a multivitamin to the mix along with Vitamin B, because that was recommended to help my new symptoms of confusion. I've also been trying to add more potassium to my "diet."

I was quite proud of myself. I didn't get sick in the car and when I walked into the restaurant, the smell didn't knock me out like I thought it was going to. I managed to make myself eat a teaspoonful of dressing, two teaspoonsful of lima beans, and a few bites of banana pudding. After that, I was full. Also, a new symptom developed. Right after I ate, my belly started to swell. It looked like I was pregnant or that I had a balloon under my shirt. It was very uncomfortable and full of cramps. I actually had to change my pants later because they were too tight after I ate.

I managed to last the entire lunch without vomiting several times. I had to leave and get some air towards the end of lunch because the smells were making me extremely nauseated.

After getting into the car, the nausea became worse. Nothing helped. Not looking outside, not counting trees, not trying to relax, nothing. My stomach felt like someone was banging on it with a hammer. It was this intense, throbbing, sharp pain. It continued to do this until I got home. The spasms started happening and then I started vomiting. At least I had something in my stomach to vomit up, so it wasn't just stomach acid. My throat is still rather swollen from previous vomiting and it probably sounds and looks like I have strep throat.

I was up all last night vomiting and now I've been up all tonight vomiting. One of my friends said something, probably not meaning to be offensive but it came out that way, and I finally just broke down and cried. I sat there and cried for a good two hours. My wonderful husband, who lost his father this week, sat there and held me while I cried. He didn't ask what was wrong, he just stroked my hair. I felt so guilty because I feel like I should be comforting him, you know?

After crying, I vomited again. At this point, I left my bedroom to come upstairs to watch TV. I don't want to wake my husband up and my stomach isn't going to let me sleep anytime soon.

I managed to read all of, Gastroparesis: My Personal Journey and realized that I have the same symptoms. This isn't in my head. I can't tell you how many doctors have told me that the sickness is in my head and nothing more. I've had several friends remark about how strong I am but I don't feel strong. Then, I read something like this book and what this woman went through and it motivates me to be an advocate for myself.

I'm going to stick with facts and what I do know. I know that I vomit 6 to 8 times a day. I know that I'm dehydrated. I know that I'm still technically overweight but I've lost about 25 pounds since I was diagnosed. I've dropped a bra size and pants size. I can put two photos of me side by side from this year and last year and you can see that my face has thinned out considerably. I know that I look sick and that my skin is a weird pasty color. I know that if I make myself eat, even small and frequent meals (liquids), I will vomit.

I know that I can't leave the house without a a bucket of some sort to vomit in. I know that I have a year of college left and I'm not sure how I'm going to go to labs. I know my GI doctor doesn't know what to do for me at this point so he's referring me to the Mayo clinic. I know that I have mental confusion, depression, and my stomach becomes really swollen if I do manage to eat something. It doesn't matter what I eat, it all comes up. Liquids, solids, gluten free, gluten, etc. I've tried all of the different diets. I know that I'm scared (and I have a suspicion that I have an autoimmune disease at the heart of this problem - but I don't know what I've been tested for).

I also know that I am determined. I know that other GP fighters suffer worse than I do. I know I have loving family and friends who support me, even when I post six million times a day on Facebook to keep myself distracted. I appreciate all of the help my husband has given me and his support. Without him, I'm not sure I could do this. I know that I've found a wonderful support group online that has helped me so much with venting and answering most of my gastroparesis questions. Also, it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only one.

I know that I'm going to keep fighting.

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