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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ovarian Cyst on Top of Gastroparesis

I went to the emergency room tonight because not only do I have an allergic reaction from adhesive tape and/or latex, but now I have a right ovarian cyst.

The allergic reaction happened after the doctor removed my Impanon. He put a strip of tape on my arm to stop the bleeding that I wasn't supposed to take off for another two days. However, I removed it when I saw this reaction:

My allergic reaction.

It was bothering me and really burning, so I called the doctor and sent him a picture on my cell phone. He wanted me to come to his other office today (more than an 1 & 1/2 away) but I wouldn't make it before he closed. I was in so much pain and I thought it was from the procedure yesterday. After I sent him the picture and waited a bit, he called me back to tell me to go to the Emergency Room.

We got there at 6pm and left at 1:30am. I thought I was going to die of boredom after my Kindle died. I didn't think to bring my charger and my husband tried his best to distract me. The nurse came in and gave me morphine and steroids in my IV. At least they got my IV on the first try but I would have loved to see my labs.

They came and got me for an ultrasound - regular and vaginal. I made them call my doctor because I didn't know if I could have the latter yet but he OK'ed it. It HURT like hell. They stopped and made me empty my bladder, so I went until I couldn't go anymore and went back in for the pelvic. That made me want to cry and jump off the table. This was around 12am, so my morphine had worn off. It was like torture and usually ultrasounds aren't bad. When they finished, they told me that the doctor would take 30 minutes to get the results.

When we got to my room, I waited more. The nurse came in and gave me Toradol, which helped with the cramping day before yesterday. Then, the doctor finally came in. He told me that I had an ovarian cyst on my right ovary and that my GYN will see me on Monday. I've seen my GYN twice this week, I should just put a cot in his office. So, I'm going Monday to see the doctor. I have an ovarian cyst on top of Gastroparesis now. I just want to scream!

The ER Doctor gave me prescriptions for codeine and for steroids. I put cortisone on the allergic reaction to speed up healing a bit.

Information about ovarian cysts can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ovarian-cysts/DS00129

You can read it here:

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets within or on the surface of an ovary. Women have two ovaries — each about the size and shape of an almond — located on each side of the uterus. Eggs (ova) develop and mature in the ovaries and are released in monthly cycles during your childbearing years.

Many women have ovarian cysts at some time during their lives. Most ovarian cysts present little or no discomfort and are harmless. The majority of ovarian cysts disappear without treatment within a few months.

However, ovarian cysts — especially those that have ruptured — sometimes produce serious symptoms. The best ways to protect your health are to know the symptoms that may signal a more significant problem, and to schedule regular pelvic examinations.


Symptoms:

Most cysts don't cause any symptoms and go away on their own. A large ovarian cyst can cause abdominal discomfort. If a large cyst presses on your bladder, you may feel the need to urinate more frequently because bladder capacity is reduced.

The symptoms of ovarian cysts, if present, may include:

Menstrual irregularities

Pelvic pain — a constant or intermittent dull ache that may radiate to your lower back and thighs

Pelvic pain shortly before your period begins or just before it ends

Pelvic pain during intercourse (dyspareunia)

Pain during bowel movements or pressure on your bowels

Nausea, vomiting or breast tenderness similar to that experienced during pregnancy

Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen

Pressure on your rectum or bladder that causes a need to urinate more frequently or difficulty emptying your bladder completely



When to see a doctor:

Seek immediate medical attention if you have:

Sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain

Pain accompanied by fever or vomiting

These signs and symptoms — or those of shock, such as cold, clammy skin, rapid breathing, and lightheadedness or weakness — indicate an emergency and mean that you need to see a doctor right away.


Treatment:

Treatment depends on your age, the type and size of your cyst, and your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest:

Watchful waiting. In many cases you can wait and be re-examined to see if the cyst goes away on its own within a few months. This is typically an option — regardless of your age — if you have no symptoms and an ultrasound shows you have a small, fluid-filled cyst. Your doctor will likely recommend that you get follow-up pelvic ultrasounds at periodic intervals to see if your cyst has changed in size.

Birth control pills. Your doctor may recommend birth control pills to reduce the chance of new cysts developing in future menstrual cycles. Oral contraceptives offer the added benefit of significantly reducing your risk of ovarian cancer — the risk decreases the longer you take birth control pills.

Surgery. Your doctor may suggest removal of a cyst if it is large, doesn't look like a functional cyst, is growing, or persists through two or three menstrual cycles. Cysts that cause pain or other symptoms may be removed.

Some cysts can be removed without removing the ovary in a procedure known as a cystectomy. In some circumstances, your doctor may suggest removing the affected ovary and leaving the other intact in a procedure known as oophorectomy.

If a cystic mass is cancerous, however, your doctor will likely advise a hysterectomy to remove both ovaries and your uterus. Your doctor is also likely to recommend surgery when a cystic mass develops on the ovaries after menopause.




Brief drawing of the cyst that I have. Image found: http://www.mayoclinic.com/images/image_popup/r7_follicularovary.jpg




According to http://www.medicinenet.com/ovarian_cysts/article.htm#what_is_the_ovary_and_what_are_ovarian_cysts

Ovarian cysts facts:

Ovarian cysts are closed, sac-like structures within the ovary that are filled with a liquid or semisolid substance.

Ovarian cysts form for numerous reasons.

Pain in the abdomen or pelvis is the most common symptom of an ovarian cyst, but most are asymptomatic.

Most cysts are diagnosed by ultrasound or physical exam.

The treatment of an ovarian cyst depends upon its likely diagnosis and varies from observation and monitoring to surgical treatment.


What is the ovary and what are ovarian cysts?

The ovary is one of a pair of reproductive glands in women that are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. Each ovary is about the size and shape of a walnut. The ovaries produce eggs (ova) and female hormones estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries are the main source of female hormones, which control the development of female body characteristics such as the breasts, body shape, and body hair. They also regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Ovarian cysts are closed, sac-like structures within an ovary that contain a liquid, gaseous, or semisolid substance. "Cyst" is merely a general term for a fluid-filled structure, which may or may not represent a tumor or neoplasm (new growth). If it is a tumor, it may be benign or malignant. The ovary is also referred to as the female gonad.



What causes ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts form for numerous reasons. The most common type is a follicular cyst, which results from the growth of a follicle. A follicle is the normal fluid-filled sac that contains an egg. Follicular cysts form when the follicle grows larger than normal during the menstrual cycle and does not open to release the egg. Usually, follicular cysts resolve spontaneously over the course of days to months. Cysts can contain blood (hemorrhagic cysts) from leakage of blood into the egg sac.

Another type of ovarian cyst that is related to the menstrual cycle is a corpus luteum cyst. The corpus luteum is an area of tissue within the ovary that occurs after an egg has been released from a follicle. If a pregnancy doesn't occur, the corpus luteum usually breaks down and disappears. It may, however, fill with fluid or blood and persist as a cyst on the ovary. Usually, this cyst is found on only one side, produces no symptomsand resolves spontaneously.

Endometriosis is a condition in which cells that normally grow inside as a lining of the uterus (womb), instead grow outside of the uterus in other locations. The ovary is a common site for endometriosis. When endometriosis involves the ovary, the area of endometrial tissue may grow and bleed over time, forming a blood-filled cyst with red- or brown-colored contents called an endometrioma, sometimes referred to as a chocolate cyst or endometrioma. The condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by the presence of multiple small cysts within both ovaries. PCOS is associated with a number of hormonal problems and is the most common cause of infertility in women.

Both benign and malignant tumors of the ovary may also be cystic. Occasionally, the tissues of the ovary develop abnormally to form other body tissues such as hair or teeth. Cysts with these abnormal tissues are really tumors called denign cystic teratomas or dermoid cysts.

Infections of the pelvic organs can involve the ovaries and Fallopian tubes. In severe cases, pus-filled cystic spaces may be present on or around the ovary or tubes. These are known as tubo-ovarian abscesses.



How are Ovarian Cysts Treated:

Most ovarian cysts in women of childbearing age are follicular or corpus luteum cysts (functional cysts) that disappear naturally in one to three months, although they can rupture and cause pain. They are benign and have no long-term medical consequence. They may be diagnosed coincidentally during a pelvic examination in women who do not have any related symptoms. All women have follicular cysts at some point that generally go unnoticed.

Ultrasound is useful to determine if the cyst is simple (just fluid with no solid tissue, suggesting a benign condition) or compound (with solid components that often required surgical resection).

In summary, the ideal treatment of ovarian cysts depends on what the cyst is likely to be. The woman's age, the size (and any change in size) of the cyst, and the cyst's appearance on ultrasound to help determine the treatment. Cysts that are functional are usually observed unless they rupture and cause significant bleeding, in which case, surgical treatment is required. Benign and malignant tumors require operation.

Treatment can consist of simple observation, or it can involve evaluating blood tests such as a CA-125 to help determine the potential for cancer (keeping in mind the many limitations of CA-125 testing described above).

The tumor can be surgically removed either with laparoscopy,, or if needed, an open abdominal incision (laparotomy) if it is causing severe pain, not resolving, or if it is suspicious in any way. Once the cyst is removed, the growth is sent to a pathologist who examines the tissue under a microscope to make the final diagnosis as to the type of cyst present.




What are the risks of ovarian cysts during pregnancy?

Ovarian cysts are sometimes discovered during pregnancy. In most cases, they are an incidental finding at the time of routine prenatal ultrasound screening. The majority of ovarian cysts found during pregnancy are benign conditions that do not require surgical intervention. However, surgery may be indicated if there is a suspicion of malignancy, if an acute complication such as rupture or torsion (twisting of the cyst, disrupting the blood supply) develops, or if the size of the cyst is likely to present problems with the pregnancy.

Medically reviewed by Edmund Petrilli, MD; American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology with subspecialty in Gynecologic Oncology
REFERENCE: eMedicine.com. Ovarian Cysts.
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/255865-overview

Previous contributing author: Carolyn Crandall, MD, FACP




Friday, December 20, 2013

Essure Permanent Birth Control and ThermaChoice

Yesterday, I had my procedure for essure permanent birth control control done. I have decided to have my tubes tied, and this is a big decision for me. After years of begging for the doctor's permission to tie my tubes, because of my endometrosis and ovarian cysts. But, the doctors decided, albeit probably correctly, that I was too young.

However, on the 17th, my doctor finally recommended it. The best thing of all was that I had no copay! It was covered completely! I also want to mention that I've lost 30 pounds since July of 2013 when I went into the doctor's office.

He suggested Essure. To read more about it please click here: http://www.mwobg.com/services-procedures/library/how-essure-works

He suggested ThermaChoice in addition. To read more about it please click here: http://www.pelvichealthsolutions.com/thermachoice-expectation

I never planned on having children, so if I decide to have a baby later, I will adopt. I've come to peace with that. I just want some of this pain to end. I deal with enough pain in my stomach and digestive system, if I can get rid of the pain in my reproductive system, I might have sort of a chance to leave a better life with this procedure.

Gastroparesis seems to make the endometrosis worse, so if I can eliminate some of that pain, that would be amazing. Additionally, to get me ready for the procedure so I wouldn't feel any pain, he gave me two dilaudid, a valium, toradol, and a nerve block. I felt pressure but not a whole lot of pain.




According to Planned Parenthood's website, they describe the Essure procedure and benefits:

Permanent contraception (sterilization) is the most common form of birth control for women over the age of 30 and the second most common birth control method for all women of child-bearing age.

Essure offers women whose families are complete a proven and easy birth control choice that doesn’t require incisions, hormones or slowing down to recover. Women who choose Essure never have to worry about birth control again – no daily pill, no side effects, no quick trips to the pharmacy.

We are pleased to offer Essure, a permanent birth control procedure that works with your body to create a natural barrier to prevent pregnancy. The Essure procedure offers women benefits that no other permanent birth control can.



The Benefits of Essure:

Surgery-free

During the procedure, the Essure inserts are placed in the fallopian tubes through the natural pathways of the vagina and cervix, with no incisions and no surgery.

Hormone-free

Unlike many temporary methods of birth control, the Essure inserts do not contain hormones. Therefore, they will not interfere with your monthly cycle nor cause the side effects that many women experience with hormone-related birth control.

Virtually recovery-free

Following the Essure procedure, most women return to their normal activities in less than a day.
Most effective

Essure is proven to be the most effective permanent birth control available, based on five years of clinical data.
Trusted

More than half a million women have chosen Essure as their permanent birth control since 2002. Additionally, the Essure inserts are made from the same proven materials that have been used in heart stents for many years.


What to Expect:

During the procedure, your doctor will slide small, soft inserts through the natural pathways of your vagina and cervix into your fallopian tubes. No incisions are necessary, and this process typically takes less than 10 minutes. The inserts are designed to allow your doctor to see immediately that they have been properly placed. Anesthesia is not required for the procedure, although some doctors may offer it. Some women report mild discomfort or cramping during or after the procedure that is similar to a normal monthly cycle. Most women go home within 45 minutes of having the Essure procedure, and return to normal activities in less than a day.

Over the next three months, your body works with the Essure inserts to form a natural barrier within your fallopian tubes. These barriers prevent sperm from reaching the eggs so that pregnancy cannot occur. During this time, you and your partner will need to continue to use another form of birth control.

You will continue to have a regular menstrual period, but some women who have had the Essure procedure find that their period changes afterward, becoming slightly lighter or heavier. These changes may be due to discontinuing hormone-based birth control, such as the Pill, and returning to your normal cycle. Your ovaries will continue to release eggs, but they will be absorbed through your body’s normal process.

That’s it! Now you can focus on yourself, your family and the life you have created, with the confidence that you are protected from unplanned pregnancy.

Like all permanent birth control procedures, the Essure procedure is not reversible. You should make sure you do not want to get pregnant in the future.

The Wikipedia article for Essure can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essure

He also gave me a shot of Depo Provera, so I would be covered until things heal over.



ThermaChoice

This is a procedure the doctor is going to do for me in three months. He wants to make sure that the Essure procedure has completely blocked off before he does this.

You can read about it more at this link (http://www.pelvichealthsolutions.com/thermachoice-expectation but this is what the website says,

GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® Uterine Balloon Therapy with Fluid Circulation offers an effective, nonhormonal treatment for heavy periods, also known as menorrhagia. GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® is a minimally invasive, 8-minute procedure that can be performed in your doctor's office or in a hospital. What happens during the procedure? GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® uses a method called global endometrial ablation (GEA) to remove the endometrium, the lining of the uterus (womb).

Under local anesthesia, the doctor inserts a small silicone balloon into your uterus, which is filled with fluid and then gently heated to treat the lining of your uterus. No incision is required. You may feel a slight warmth or pressure during the treatment time, which is 8 minutes; the entire appointment usually lasts approximately 30 minutes. See step by step how GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® works.

In most cases, patients can resume their normal activities the next day.



What happens after the procedure?

The first postoperative check-up usually occurs within 7 to 10 days after the procedure, and your doctor may determine that sexual activity can resume after that check-up. Your first few periods after the procedure may continue to be heavy, with improvement thereafter. Some women experience a pinkish watery discharge for about 2 weeks that can last as long as 1 month.

All medical procedures carry risks. Talk to a doctor to determine whether GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® might be the right choice for you. Find a doctor familiar with GYNECARE® products who can provide treatment.
What are the risks with GYNECARE THERMACHOICE®?

All medical procedures present risks, so talk to a doctor about whether GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® is right for you. Find a doctor familiar with GYNECARE® products who can provide treatment.

As with all procedures of its type, GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® poses a risk of injury to the uterus and surrounding tissues. Most common side effects include discharge, cramping, nausea and vomiting.

Global endometrial ablation procedures, including GYNECARE THERMACHOICE® III Uterine Balloon Therapy System, are intended for pre-menopausal women with heavy bleeding due to benign causes who do not wish to become pregnant in the future. It is not appropriate for a patient who is pregnant or wants to become pregnant in the future. Becoming pregnant after this procedure can be dangerous for both the mother and the fetus.

Pregnancy after ablation is unlikely, but if it does occur, you and your baby could be at risk because the endometrial lining of the uterus has been removed. After treatment, you will need to continue to use a birth control method that is appropriate for you. There are several options available for birth control. You should discuss these options with your doctor.

For a complete description of risks related to this treatment, please see the Potential Adverse Effects section of the Risk Information.

The information represents no statement, promise or guarantee by Ethicon, Inc., concerning insurance coverage, levels of reimbursement, payment, or charge. Please consult your payor organization with regard to local or actual coverage determination processes.


This will get rid of my painful periods permanently. That would be amazing because they hurt and are erratic. So, I will be sterile with no periods, but I get to keep my ovaries so I don't need hormone replacements. This was a tough decision for me but I knew I could never carry kids to term. So, I figured that this would help the pain. And I need all of the help I can get with pain because Gastroparesis causes enough pain in itself.

So, I am very happy and a little sad, but I'll be OK. I think I've done the best possible thing that I could do for me and wanted to write about it because I had never heard of these procedures before.



Disclamier

My friend Stephanie wrote this for her group and I figured it was applicable to this site as well.

DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this blog is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Reliance on any information appearing on this blog is solely at your own risk. That said, I try to do research to support my claims but always check with a physician first.

Thank you!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

GP Surivial Commandments

Recently, I polled people from around different support groups and pages to ask their advice on what they did when they first realized that they had GP/DTP. I asked, "if you could give anyone advice who was newly diagnosed, what would it be?" I got some overwhelming responses. I'm going to type first names because I don't want to give away the privacy of the people giving the advice.


Speaking from person experience (I was diagnosed with GP in March 2012), the first two things really saved me:

1. I started a blog to keep track of my medical information but also to help others. When I was first diagnosed, I didn't know what gastroparesis was and there was barely anything online to explain it to me. I compiled my research to put into this blog and helped people that way. My blog today is used as a resource for United Healthcare, for when they get new GP patients.

2. I purchased a journal. While this may sound silly, I carry this thing around with me everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. I do daily entries to log what I eat, what time, when my gastric spasms start, when I get sick, how much I get sick, and how I feel. I also take pictures of my swollen belly after I eat and post those pictures in my journal. I print out and post motivational things in there too. There is also an app on your phone called "My Symptoms." It's $2.99 in the Google Play market but it will keep track of food, drinks, medications, and bowel movements. I use both because you can't be too safe. Also, the "My Symptom" application can be download into a spreadsheet to show your doctor. You can also give your written journal to your doctor. Maybe make a copy of it beforehand? It gives your doctor an idea of what you're going through. It will also help distinguish patterns.

3. Be your own advocate. Keeping the journal is well on your way to becoming an advocate for yourself. Do your own research and prepare questions in advance to ask your doctor. That way, you won't forget what you want to ask him and you can maximize the use of your time together.

4. Believe in yourself. This is hard sometimes. It's hard to keep going but just remember that you're a strong person, you've gotten this far. Things will be all right. Keep on believing in yourself and others believe in you, too.

5. This rule goes hand in hand with 3. Ask questions! If you can think of anything, write it down and bring it with you to the next doctor's visit. If it's an emergency, call your doctor after hours.

6. Research your condition and your doctors. Not all GI doctors are created equal. The newest one I just saw told me that gastroparesis does not cause pain. So, keep searching until someone believes you.

7. The GI Doctors at Mayo recommended cannabis, where ever it is legal. If you use cannabis, use it responsibly.

8. It's NOT *ALL* IN YOUR HEAD! I cannot stress that enough. I've been told that half of my life. The Spoon Theory helps with teaching those without a chronic illness what it's like to live with a chronic illness every day. It's rough but this is the most effective theory I can think of.

9. Stay strong by finding a support group. If you need help, you can read my blog or join any of my groups of Facebook. We are all here to support one another. If you look in your local paper, you can probably find public meetings for those with chronic illness. Just talking to people who understand where you're coming from is like a burden lifting from your shoulders.

10. Don't give up! We all have rough patches that knock us down but we get right back up keep fighting. We're strong, especially all united together. Lean on others for support when it becomes too much. That's why we're there.

11. Stay positive! I preach this nonstop because it is important to your health. If you get too stressed out, then your immune system is compromised. Try and stay positive and calm.

12. Be patient. While there is no cure for GP, we have good days and we have bad days. If you are having a "GP Attack" because be patient until it passes. Work on deep breathing (it's in my blog in another article). Also, try and stick to the GP diet. Stay away from things that are hard to digest like fiber, gluten, some raw fruits and veggies.

13. Stay hydrated! If you let yourself get dehydrated, that brings along a whole new set of problems. Dehydration can cause dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. If it's severe enough, you'll need to go to the hospital for IV fluids. Even if you're vomiting, try and such on some ice chips and sip on Pedialyte.

14. Take liquid vitamins or vitamelts. I am currently dealing with a vitamin deficiency, which is common for people who suffer from GP. My body is malnourished and quite starved since I can't hold down food, even if I wanted to. Dehydration just digs you into a whole that you can't escape from. You can try Flinstone's vitamins, or the melt away vitamins. Stay away from the gummy vitamins! They are hard to digest.

15. Lean on family and friends. I know some people have families who aren't very supportive and I'm sorry. They probably don't understand what you're going through but keep your chin up and help them to understand. My favorite is called The Spoon Theory and I've found it's the most effective when explaining a chronic illness to those who don't understand. Keep in mind that family doesn't always mean blood relation.

16. If you are religious, prayer can help. You can also seek out emotional support from a church congregation or a priest to help you get through the initial shock of, "Oh no! I have gastroparesis and now what I am going to do?" You have a community who cares about you and they want to help you. They just may not always know how to help. You will have to tell them how they can help.

17. Keep Yourself Happy. I cannot stress this enough. Being upset does nothing to help your stomach and the stress will more than likely make your stomach worse. I can attest to this from personal experience. HERE is a list from a previous article that gives lots of ideas on what you can do to keep happy and distracted.

18. Keep looking until you find the right GI doctor. I've been told GP doesn't hurt - but if nerve damage hurts in the rest of the body, why not the stomach? I had a doctor at Mayo tell me it was all anxiety because did didn't want to treat me; I was too complicated of a case. Don't forget that these doctors work for YOU. Keep searching for a doctor that's right for you. Find someone you can trust and who will listen to you. I've gone through about 10 GI doctors here in Atlanta and I'm still looking for the one who will listen to me.

19. Don't be in Denial. We all go through it. It's almost like a grieving process when you hear you have GP. I've eaten fast food because I was starving. But, I shouldn't have done that. A few times I did think the GP was in my head and then the vomiting and the gastric spasms (they feel like you have a charlie horse in your stomach when they start). Don't torture yourself and follow the GP diet. Eat low fiber,no raw fruits or veggies, and try and stay away from gluten.

20. Take advantage of the good days. Good days can be few and far between. So, take every minute of every day and enjou it!


Thank you to:
Kirsten
Melissa
Diane
Melony
Jennifer
Tracy
Judy
Julie
Lyndsay
Monica
Nikki
Jessica

Who contributed to the ideas in this article.











Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Follow up with my Spinal Cord Stimulator Doctor

About a month and a half ago, I felt it shift when I bent over to vomit. Since then, it's caused me nothing but pain. I followed up with the PA on Friday, and she did trigger point injections all around the stimulator site to ease up some of the more tense muscles. I cried because it hurt so badly. She told me to follow up with the doctor on Monday, so I did. I went and saw the spinal cord stimulator doctor yesterday, the same doctor who put it in for me. He confirmed what I said, that it had shifted. Instead of lying flat, like it's supposed to, instead, it is more of a 90 degree angle. He scheduled me for back surgery on Monday at 3:30 EST. He said that they'll try and put it back where it was but more than likely, they would have to make a new incision and put it somewhere else. I guess it didn't heal enough and the gastroparesis made it worse. So, now, I have back surgery on Monday and I'm nervous, even though I've had it done before. The last time I was put under anesthesia, I died twice. So, definitely nervous this time. But, I'll get through it, I always do! I'll let you guys know how the surgery goes. Below is a picture of my stimulator. You can see how badly it's sticking out. I wish I could take a better picture but it's almost in such an awkward place in my back that it's hard for me to get a good shot of it.






What is the spinal cord stimulator for, you ask? In 2009, while at field camp, I lost my footing and slid down a mountain on my knees. They couldn't find anything wrong with my knees except for nerve damage. The stimulator is like having a TENS unit in your back, and it blocks out the pain signals of the nerves for relief. It reroutes the pain signals so that my knees and back shouldn't hurt anymore. It does help, tremendously and allowed me to hike again until I kept bending over to vomit and knocked it out of place.

You can read more about it here: http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/spinal-cord-stimulation-for-low-back-pain

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ultrasound Today - Update on my Personal Struggle

I went to Emory for an ultrasound today at the bequest of my Doctor, for my liver. My liver enzymes have been quite high over the past two years now, and no one has discovered why. When I was first diagnosed with Gastroparesis, the theory was that it was because of stones in my liver. They went in and relaxed my sphincter that doles out bile from my liver, removing a "gravely type sludge," as my doctor put it, from where my gallbladder used to be. The Doctor at Emory told me that with Gastroparesis, there should be no pain. Every time a doctor tells me that, I want to laugh in their face and correct them. Tell them that if they had Gastroparesis, they'd feel differently. Everyone I've talked to that has been diagnosed, even with mild Gastroparesis, has dealt with some sort of pain.

So, a good friend and fraternity brother of mine, picked me up and took me to Emory. I was led into the room with the ultrasound machine. I laid down on the table and lifted up my shirt for the procedure. I was happy to say that there were butterflies painted on the ceiling tiles so that I actually had something to focus on. The lab tech started and pressed the probe down on such tender parts that had been giving me such pain. I bit my lip and squeezed my friend's hand because it hurt so much. I had an emesis bag, just in case I needed it.

I looked away because it hurt too much. My friend said the lab tech was making awful faces and she had a feeling that they found something wrong. Of course, the lab techs won't tell you anything - it's a liability factor. She had me turn to my side and looked at my kidneys as well. Then, we were done. The procedure probably took half an hour of thorough investigating with a very painful probe. Ultrasounds normally aren't painful, but I've been experiencing pain in my upper right side. I didn't start retching until we were in the car. Anytime a doctor or someone presses on my upper right side and my stomach - I vomit. Thankfully, it waited until I was home. I fell over on the toilet and vomited up what I tried to eat for lunch today - considering I haven't eaten in a while. I was thankful I had something to vomit up besides bile. I realize how bad that sounds but I've been throwing up nothing but bile for days, my throat welcomed some relief.

I've been coughing a lot because my throat is irritated from vomiting. The doctor will receive my ultrasound report in a few days and call me with the results. I'm nervous because my liver enzymes are high and I don't know what that means. I've never been so nervous. Will I have to have more surgery? Will someone take me seriously? I need some help. What I'm doing right now is not living - it's awful.

The only solace in the past few days have been my husband, who is a wonderful and caring man, and reading outside in the sunshine.

I am anxiously awaiting the results and to wonder where to go from here.

In the meantime, I've made an appointment with a psychologist because I am determined to prove to these doctors that the anxiety didn't get worse until after I had Gastroparesis. The doctor I saw before, not at Emory, at Mayo, told me that this was all in my head an all anxiety related. I want a doctor to evaluate that and tell me that it's not true. I just need someone to listen to me. I can't make up vomiting or pain like this. It's immobilizing. My friends and family see me suffer and I barely recognize my own reflection in the mirror because of my hallowed out, pale face, and the dark circles under my eyes. I think it will be good to have someone to speak with anyway, but I want someone to validate me and say that my GP is legitimate and that it's not caused by anxiety. That made me angry more than anything when the Mayo doctor told me that. I think he only did so because he correctly assumed that I'd be a complicated case, and he didn't want to deal with me personally.

I'm keeping track of my symptoms in a written journal, along with how I feel. A GP friend of mine told me about an app available called MySymptom Tracker. It's $3 in the Google Play store but worth it. So, I track my vomiting, medications, mood, etc on my phone as well. You can download it and bring it in with you to your doctor, which I find useful. I document everything. It's a good habit to have.

I feel like I'm preparing for battle. I'm going to fight to be healthy again.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gastroparesis Journals, Poetry, and Pen Pal Groups

I have a favorite poem that I wanted to share with all of you. It has been my favorite since high school. It really spoke to me because for the past few days, I've been very sad. Sometimes, it just seems like the Gastroparesis (GP) cycle is endless. Also, it feels like I'll never get better. I'm not usually so negative, but vomiting for the past three days and having the new doctor write me off just made me a bit depressed. Then, I thought about my favorite poem. It has always spoken to me and cheered me up when I've been at my lowest. It made me realize that I need to keep going. That things will get better and that I have the best Gastroparesis Warrior network that anyone could have.


"'If'
By: Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!"
Poem can be found at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46473


The meaning behind the poem is this:

"‘If‘ by Rudyard Kipling: About the poem

The poem ‘If’ by the India-born British Nobel laureate poet Rudyard Kipling is a poem of ultimate inspiration that tells us how to deal with different situations in life. The poet conveys his ideas about how to win this life, and after all, how to be a good human being.

The poem, written in 1895 and first published in ‘Rewards and Fairies’, 1910 is 32 lines long with four stanzas of eight lines each. It is a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson. The poem is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet’s son, John. You may read more about the poem at Wikipedia.

For the theme, as already told, the poem basically tells us the conditions that we should meet to succeed in life and make this life happy and a beautiful one. The whole poem is written in a single complex sentence. So all the subordinate clauses begin with ‘if’ and the main clause concluding the entire theme comes at the end, and the poem ends with a full stop.

This structure of the poem was important to achieve the conditional goal. The poet speaks of the achievement at the end, after discussing all the requirements to reach there. This structure is actually symbolic in suggesting that you can get the rewards only after you have fulfilled the preconditions. Moreover, this makes the readers eager to know what would happen when we meet all these conditions, thus retaining the curiosity and interest till the end.

And, as the main theme of the poem is a combination of so many if’s, the title ‘If’ is an apt one for the poem."
The meaning of the poem can be found here: http://englicist.com/summary-analysis/poem-if-rudyard-kipling-summary-explanation




There are several pen pal groups in the Gastroparesis community, so I wanted to put out a warning to everyone:

**WARNING** Any Pen Pal groups that you join is to get to know people. If you feel comfortable, friend them, and then share your private information with them. The admins should NEVER ask you for your personal information, unless you get to know them and you want to share your information with them as pen pals, but that's if you are comfortable enough. Just be careful. Your personal information should not be posted on the wall for all to see, because you never really know who is looking at it. The admins try to screen our groups carefully, but occasionally, we miss someone who may be a scammer.

I just wanted to caution anyone who is joining a pen pal group because I've had that happen and it's a very scary feeling, especially if someone tries to steal your identity. I've had this happen to me, which is why I just want to caution people to be careful. Pen pal groups can be amazing because they make you feel less isolated and alone, and it's nice to get real mail instead of spam for a change. Just be diligent. And your information should NOT be in the files section of the group for all to see. Pen pals usually only need your address and maybe your birth month and day to send you things on your birthday. You don't have to give them the year unless you know that person and trust them completely. I'll reiterate, just be careful with who and where you give out your personal information.

If you have a smart phone, my friend Sarah recommended an app to me. It's called MySymptoms: Food Diary and it's a diary for your phone. You can add your medications, what you eat, how often you get sick, all of your symptoms, stress levels, sleep quality, energy level, bowel movements, and more. It's easy to keep up with it.

I downloaded it at the Google Play store.

The only drawback is that it's $2.99 for the application, but it's worth it since we all carry our phones with us everywhere - even when we go out to eat (as rare as that happens).

You can download your data and give it to your doctor as well. I downloaded it and would highly recommend it to anyone with Gastroparesis. It's easy to learn how to use and it is easier to add things to your phone than to write them down sometimes. But I know that we all carry phones with us. I'm still going to use my Gastroparesis journal and write in it but I'm also going to keep track of things on my phone now too. It never hurts to have a back up.


I started a Gastroparesis journal, which you know of from previous articles in this blog. My Gastroparesis diary is really useful when I'm not near my computer to blog. I suggest strongly that you start one too. It really helps to keep track of what's going on with my body for my doctor, including questions so that I don't forget to ask since I don't get a whole lot of time to talk to the doctor. I write in mine daily. I keep track of my medications, when I attempt to eat, when I vomit, if I have a bowel movement, and the times of all of it. I also vent in it because it's not healthy to keep your feelings bottled up, and writing helps me cope, but everyone has different coping mechanisms that help them. Your gastroparesis journal could be as simple as a spiral notebook. I would highly suggest that you start one, if you don't have one already, because it really does help keep track of things, especially if you have a hard time remembering things like I do. I call it, "GP brain."

This is my Gastroparesis Journal. It's actually River Song's journal replica from Doctor Who.





I'm also going to share a few images that have gotten me through the past few days. I usually cut out images I find like this and put them in my diary to remind me to be strong.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From August Until Now

As of right now, my medication list is extremely long.

I'm taking:

Linzess 290mg - once daily
Phenergan 25mg - three times daily
Zofran 8mg - three times daily
Vicodin 10/325 - four times daily (for my lower back - I keep straining it vomiting and may have shifted the spinal cord stimulator out of place)
Xanax 0.5mg - four times daily
Celexa 20mg - once daily
Implanon - birth control I need to call and get replaced
Restoril 15mg - twice at bedtime for sleep
Trazadpne 50mg - three times daily
Protonix 40mg - twice daily
B-12 Injections

I feel like this when it's time to take my medications:



I saw my doctor in Augusta about what to do since none of the doctors here are listening to me. He was going to recommend a great GI doctor to me but I guess he got side tracked. I'll have to call him and find out the person. None of the ones up here seem to care and they've managed to convince my husband that this is all in my head due to anxiety. My Augusta doctor wanted me to go to the ER but I refused. Instead, he gave me medications and my sister took me to her house and made my comfortable.

I've been managing to eat small amounts here and there. Yogurt and maybe a bite or two of bagel. Nothing substantial.

I started my period on the 23rd - and it made my GP TEN TIMES WORSE! I'm not the only one who suffers this way. I wonder what the connection is between GP and hormones? I want to bookmark this to come back to it and research it later.

The doctor at Emory yesterday wants me to get an ultrasound for my liver. She's worried about my high liver enzymes. She switched around my medication and wants to see if that helps. I wanted to scream at her that my medicine has been switched around before with no relief! Ugh! But I understand conservative measures first. It just SUCKS. I have to follow up with her in six weeks.

I woke up yesterday and vomited directly into a trashcan. I wonder why I couldn't do that in front of the doctor? *sigh*

Oh well.

But, I have a new phone now so I'm easier to get in touch with. My old phone stopped charging.

Hang in there and keep fighting. I'm working on an article coming up about stress relief and how to manage stress. I just wanted to check in.



The top picture is before I ate, the bottom picture is after I ate.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My New Facebook Page - Emily's Stomach - Please Like it in Support

As many of you know, I've been working on my own page affiliated with GNE. LaShelle and I are trying to branch out to reach a wider audience. If you could give Emily's Stomach a like, it would be amazing. I want to make a difference and this is my way of branching out to help the GP community. If you could share my new page, Emily's Stomach (www.facebook.com/emilysstomach) with friends, family, and loved ones, I would be most grateful. I will be posting interesting things in the next few days and would like your support. Without your support, I feel useless and unproductive. This gives me purpose right now, since I can barely leave the house.


You can read below of what I plan to accomplished with my page.

Thank you and stay strong in the fight!


NO AWARENESS, NO RESERACH, NO CURE!





Emily's Stomach is my page that I just started. It's my own page but it's affiliated with GNE and the link is here: www.facebook.com/greensnoteasy. If you read the About section on my page, there are other useful links that you might be interested in. The more support you have, the better things will be!


My page is different. I will post motivation, inspiring pictures as well as my blog articles, which contains information on Gastroparesis (GP). I will also post any new research or advancements on GP that I can find. I’m a researcher at heart and I love sharing research that I find. However, we ALL stand together, united, for the GP community.


I will still be working with LaShelle, admining the GNE Facebook page, but we're branching out to cover different things and to spread more awareness. We’re also trying to reach out to find those who suffer with GP that may not have anyone with support to turn to.


If you could share my page with family, loved ones, and friends, I would appreciate it. All are welcome to learn about GP and to be motivated. Spread the word about my new page because the more people we can reach, the better our research will be and the more awareness we’ll have!


The link to my Facebook page, and my contribution to the GNE community is: www.facebook.com/emilysstomach


Stay strong in the fight! You are NEVER alone! You are more than welcome to friend PM or meme on the page or on Facebook if you need someone to talk to. I’m always hereto listen.


Eventually, I hope all of the GP groups will get together and work as one since we are all working towards a common goal, which is to help the GP community.


My motto is: No awareness, no research, no cure.


Stay strong in the fight! You are NEVER alone! NEVER! You can also follow the ES Page on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/emilysstomach



My Other Pages/Groups/Blogs:


Emily's Stomach Blog - this is a blog I've started to help me through Gastroparesis as well as helping others through my own experiences. The link is here: www.emilysstomach.com

Emily's Stomach - affiliated with Green's Not Easy and gives you information and motivation about Gastroparesis. Also, to help out beginners. The link is here:www.facebook.com/emilysstomach

Laughing Through Gastroparesis (Public FB Page) - the object of this page is to make people smile because laughter is the best medicine! The link is here: www.facebook.com/laughingthrugp

Laughing Through Gastroparesis (Private FB Group) - A collaboration of GPers and non GPers posting humor to make us all feel better and laugh. The link is here: www.facebook.com/groups/laughingthrugp/

Blogs for Gastroparesis - a closed group where people can post their blog entries for others to read. You do not have to be a blog writer to join but GP blog writers are encouraged to join and share so that we can share blog traffic with each other. The link is here: www.facebook.com/onemillionforGP


The pages I admin are:


Gastroparesis - The link is here: www.facebook.com/gnewithgp

Gastroparesis and Me - The link is here: www.facebook.com/GPAndMeGlobal

Secretly Green - A closed group for those who want private posting. The link is here:www.facebook.com/groups/SecretlyGreen/

One Million Likes for Gastroparesis - The link is here: www.facebook.com/onemillionforGP

Gastroparesis and Diabetic Support Group - The link is here: www.facebook.com/onemillionforGP

Tats for Gastroparesis - The link is here: www.facebook.com/TatsForGastroparesis






Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to Stay Motivated



Most Gastroparesis suffers have a hard time staying motivated because we are always really ill. We hide it and it's invisible. In reality, we feel like zombies just going through the motions of the day, that is, if we can get out of bed. I found some images on Pinterest (but it didn't have a source) about Motivation that I would like to share with you, to help you through those difficult days that we all have with this terrible condition.







According to Pyschology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/motivation),

"How to Stay Motivated: Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be."

According to About.com. (http://psychology.about.com/od/mindex/g/motivation-definition.htm)

"Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is what causes us to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge.

It involves the biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that activate behavior. In everyday usage, the term motivation is frequently used to describe why a person does something. For example, you might say that a student is so motivated to get into a clinical psychology program that she spends every night studying.

Psychologists have proposed a number of different theories of motivation, including drive theory, instinct theory and humanistic theory.


Components of Motivation

There are three major components to motivation: activation, persistence and intensity. Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior, such as enrolling in a psychology class. Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist, such as taking more psychology courses in order to earn a degree although it requires a significant investment of time, energy and resources. Finally, intensity can be seen in the concentration and vigor that goes into pursuing a goal. For example, one student might coast by without much effort, while another student will study regularly, participate in discussions and take advantage of research opportunities outside of class.


Extrinsic Vs. Intrinsic Motivation

Different types of motivation are frequently described as being either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivations are those that arise from outside of the individual and often involve rewards such as trophies, money, social recognition or praise. Intrinsic motivations are those that arise from within the individual, such as doing a complicated cross-word puzzle purely for the personal gratification of solving a problem."







Lifehack.org, written by Gleb Reys, has tips on how to stay motivated as well,

How exactly do some of us manage to stay motivated most of the time? Here are just a few ideas you can try:

1) Find the Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it. Not all the tasks have the good reasons to do them seen at first sight, but if you take just a few moments to analyse them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

But if you’re ever stuck with some task you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.


Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

a material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all

personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way

a feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task

a step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.


2) Make it fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it. Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout sounds rather boring to many of us. Yet many others love the idea! They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

I want to add that with GP, it might be hard to leave the house for the severe cases. But you can do basic stretches at home on your couch or in bed. It will make you feel better. I'm going to attempt to take yoga because it has deep breathing and will strengthen my muscles. LaShelle, one of my good friends, rides horses. Just going for a short walk will help.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!


A simple approach is to start working on any task from asking yourself a few questions:

How can I enjoy this task?
What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
How can I make this work the best part of my day?


The answers will pop up momentarily, as long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing, no matter how hard you try making it fun. I don’t want to argue – you’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun. However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3) Take different approach

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look at the whole task looking for a different approach.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such an approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common: if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a away. And most likely, there’s more than one way. If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal. My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.


4) Recognize your progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different: tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is in a human nature to always want things to happen at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete. For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made.


5) Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. I’m happy to confirm that this is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone in that, I’m telling you!

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a smoothie and even treat yourself to a GP friendly dessert. For even bigger and more demanding tasks, you may want to reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating – but take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good. The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.


Mix and match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match! Pick one of the advices and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get even more motivation, try another advice right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for best results.

Just think about it: finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to help you feel a bit better. Identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more. Finally, if you then plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that agree on rewarding yourself as you go – this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.


Here is a Youtube video on how to stay positive and motivated: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWCHuMMBg4k





Ten Hidden Reasons to Stay Motivated Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=196

Everyone tells us to stay motivated. Our friends, our co-workers, our relatives say to keep going, don’t quit. Sometimes, though, you ask, "Why? Why try my hardest when it ends in disappointment? Why go through something when it’s going to hurt? Why?"

Because it’s going to be different this time! Because you can’t accomplish anything that you give up on. Disappointments and failures happen to everyone. The difference between those who reach their goals and those who don’t is staying motivated. If you’re motivated, you’ll keep going. If you keep going, eventually you’ll reach your goal.

Need more reasons? Here are 10 of our ‘hidden’ reasons to stay motivated. Use one or all of them to keep the fire burning inside you.

1. Confidence

How did it feel after that first walk around the block? Or when you finally walked the stairs at work without losing your breath? Or even leaving the house? The more you accomplish, the more you’ll believe in yourself.

2. Fit into that dress

It’s been hanging up in your closet for two years now, just waiting to be thrown on for a night on the town. All it takes is for you to go that extra mile and stay on track. Before you know it, those two years will be ancient history. This would probably be better for milder cases of GP.

3. Make the week easier

Ever felt like a week was taking forever? It feels like Friday, but it’s only Tuesday? This happens when you’re not working towards anything. When you have a goal in mind, you’ll want to cook that GP friendly dinner or have friends over 0 or leave the house to meet them. The week will not only go faster, but be more enjoyable.

4. Gives you purpose

Every once in a while, we need a good reason. The ‘wow’ effect

Picture this: Walking into a store, you run into someone from high school, and their eyes light up. They gasp, "Wow, you look great!" (Again, this is probably for the milder case of GPers, but I don't think any of us want to hear the next sentence). By sticking with your goals, this can happen. Watch the "wows" add up.

8. Spread the spark

When friends and family see how hard you’re working, they’ll wonder how they can reach their own goals. Guess who they’re going to look to for help? By staying motivated, you’ll not only help yourself, but others too. This is very true. I've been helping people by admining on Facebook. You don't have to leave the house on your worst days but you can still be motivated to make a difference.

9. Keep gaining experience

The more you do, the more you will learn and understand. You’ll discover which tactics work best for you and which ones don’t. It’s like weeding out the garden - not the most enjoyable job in the world, but when you’re done, all that’s left are beautiful flowers. Keeping sticking with it and soon it will be all flowers for you. Here it is, right in front of you. Eat the GP approved diet (it can be found in LaShelle's blog at: http://gnewithgp.com/2013/07/03/gastroparesis-signs-symptoms-testing-treatments-and-a-gp-diet/) that’s going to jump start your day, go for your morning walk, or walk to the driveway and grab the newspaper. When you’re motivated, you have a reason to do what you do.

5. For your kids

And your grandkids. And their kids, too. The healthier you are, the longer you’ll be around to watch your kids grow and to spoil your grandchildren. They’ll want you to be around as long as possible; consider this just another present.

6. Power of momentum

It’s a scientific fact – something in motion tends to stay in motion. Momentum builds quickly and can lead to great results. Suddenly, you’re not only working for the goal, but also to keep your streak alive. Even more reason to reach your goals.
Stress will take a toll on your body. It's better to set goals and have small victories that will give you a boost and make you feel productive. I know that since I was diagnosed, my independence has been stripped. I've worked since I was sixteen but now, I can barely leave my house because I'm so violently ill. That's why I started my Laughing Through Gastroparesis Page (www.facebook.com/laughingwithgp). I also started a "secret" Laughing Through Gastroparesis group so that people can help collaborate and keep the chronically ill smiling. You don't have to be a GPer to join. You can join the group at this link: http://www.facebook.com/groups/487370524687206/.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Relaxation & Breathing Techniques from Mayo in Jacksonville

I know that this is a repost for me but I have better copies of the documents that you can actually read, now that I've scanned them in. The doctor told me that all of my issues stem from anxiety but I believe he's wrong. My anxiety didn't get worse until my stomach issues became worse. However, if you have issues sleeping or if you are having a panic attack, this will help. I've had to deep breathe out of panic attacks and talk myself out of it, especially in the car. I hope this will help you. Again, this was handed to me by Mayo but I wanted to save others thousands of dollars to be handed these pieces of paper.

If you click on the images, they'll open in PDF format so that you can read it better.

I apologize about the spill on the last two pages. I managed to spill soda on it while reading the sheets in the car when my husband jerked the wheel.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Information about Gastroparesis and Traveling with GP

These papers were given to me by the Digestive Health Alliance (https://www.facebook.com/DigestiveHealthAlliance?directed_target_id=0) and Crystal Saltrelli, which you can find her link to her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/CrystalSaltrelliCHC?fref=ts. All credit goes to Crystal for writing about traveling, I'm just sharing it because it's great information.

I haven't had time to upload these documents to share until now. I hope they will prepare you for travel as well as help to explain Gastroparesis to friends and family. Feel free to pass these along but be sure to credit the writers. If you click on the images, they'll open in PDF form so that you can read them better.

Information about Gastroparesis



My friend Melissa has a great article about surviving the holidays with Gastroparesis which can be found:
HERE.

Gastroparesis Patients vs Drug Seekers

A few nights ago, my roommate had a friend over who works as a nurse in an emergency room. She asked me about my gastroparesis (GP) and why I've gone to the emergency room for it. I tried to explain the basic symptoms of gastroparesis and how much pain it causes, especially when you haven't eaten in over a week on top of dehydration. The first thing she said to me was,


"Most patients with Gastroparesis I encounter are drug seekers."


I want to explain why we are not drug seekers for those who may know little to nothing about GP and why that comment bothered me so much.


No two GPers are a like - we are all different in some way, but that doesn't make us any less ill.

According to the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gastroparesis/DS00612)

"Gastroparesis is a condition in which the muscles in your stomach don't function normally.

Ordinarily, strong muscular contractions propel food through your digestive tract. But in gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of your stomach work poorly or not at all. This prevents your stomach from emptying properly. Gastroparesis can interfere with digestion, cause nausea and vomiting, and cause problems with blood sugar levels and nutrition.

There is no cure for gastroparesis. Making changes to your diet may help you cope with gastroparesis signs and symptoms, but that's not always enough. Gastroparesis medications may offer some relief, but some can cause serious side effects. Signs and symptoms of gastroparesis include:

Vomiting
Nausea
A feeling of fullness after eating just a few bites
Abdominal bloating
Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux
Changes in blood sugar levels
Lack of appetite
Weight loss and malnutrition"


I am also going to add pain to the symptoms. Because, I know that if I try to eat with Gastroparesis, my stomach starts spasming and doesn't stop until I vomit everything up. That's not even mentioning the pain my esophagus feels after vomiting up so much food/liquids.






Just like you, probably, I *hate* going to the Emergency Room. But I must go if I want nausea relief because I can't keep down pills, or fluids. I ask for pain medicine after the doctor presses on my stomach because I cry. I've been crying for a week now because of the pain. I read something on Physician's Weekly that I would like to quote that sums up how I feel,

"When a person goes to the ER it’s because their pain has become too much for them to handle on their own. You then need to take into account the fact that anybody who is in pain wants not to be in pain and the faster the better. Please don’t judge us too harshly because people like myself who live with chronic pain want our pain to go away as soon as humanly possible. Chronic pain is a hideous disease. It never gives you a moment’s peace. When we with chronic pain go to an ER then you can be certain that we’re at a level of desperation for the pain to stop that we are willing to endure the terrible irritation of waiting in an ER. Waiting in an ER when they are in pain makes people anxious. It’s a well-establish fact that anxiety magnifies the perception of the pain that someone is experiencing."

Now, there's a difference in being legitimately sick and just seeking drugs.

According to Physician's Weekly about drug seeking behavior(http://www.physiciansweekly.com/drug-seeking-behaviors-emergency-department/),

"Studies have been conducted on screening tools to identify drug-seeking behaviors in chronic pain patients, but few have provided quantitative data on such behaviors in the ED (Emergency Department). With this in mind, Dr. Grover and colleagues performed a case-control study examining the relative frequency of various drug-seeking behaviors in drug-seeking patients as compared with all ED patients. The study was published in the January 2012 Journal of Emergency Medicine. “Our goal was to provide emergency physicians with information as to which drug-seeking behaviors are most commonly used by drug-seeking patients,” says Dr. Grover. “Identifying behaviors that are most commonly used by drug-seeking patients may help evaluations of patients suspected of drug-seeking behavior.”

A retrospective chart review of 152 drug-seeking patients and of age- and gender-matched controls was conducted, with the authors noting several drug-seeking behaviors that were exhibited over 1 year. Drug-seeking patients accounted for 2,203 visits to the ED, averaging about 14.5 visits per patient per year. For the control group, patients accounted for 315 visits to the ED, which is an average of 2.1 visits per patient per year. Patients in the drug-seeking arm reported their pain level as 10 out of 10 more often than control group patients (Table 1). Additionally, drug-seeking patients occasionally complained of pain levels greater than 10 out of 10, while the control group had no instances of these events. Drug-seeking patients were also significantly more likely to request medications parenterally.

The odds ratios for both requesting parenteral medication and reporting pain levels greater than 10 out of 10 were significantly higher than all others observed in the study (Table 2). These were the most predictive of drug-seeking behavior, while a non-narcotic allergy was less predictive. However, the odds ratio for a non-narcotic allergy was greater than 1, and was still a behavior that was more commonly used by drug-seeking patients than the control group. For other studied behaviors, the confidence intervals were too wide to allow the authors of the study to meaningfully interpret the data."

Here are some common schemes of drug seeking behavior according to Acpinternist.com(http://www.acpinternist.org/archives/2002/04/drug_abuse.htm),

"Most scammers try to get the doctor to write a prescription or gain access to a prescription pad so they can write a script themselves.

Patients will sometimes say they're from out of state and the pharmacy won't fill their prescription. They try to evoke the practitioner's compassion to continue the medication.

Other times, a patient you've never seen before will present with a prescription, ask you to refill it and promise to schedule an appointment next week. If you fill that prescription, you've been had.

Some patients will misrepresent their medical condition to induce you to write a prescription. Others will use the old standby excuses: "I lost my prescription," or "I didn't have enough money to fill the prescription and it expired."

Drug abuse is a developing phenomenon. It starts with patients losing prescriptions, not being able to track the amount of prescriptions or claiming that the doctor wrote the wrong prescription.

A concatenation of events often indicates abuse rather than serendipity or accident. A single transaction by itself does not mean abuse. But if your record shows repeated violations, you are not only denying what's going on, but also making yourself vulnerable to DEA or even patient litigation."




In conclusion, there are several differences between chronically ill patients who may need medication to survive or even try to function while others just want to get high. At my most recent ER visit, the nurse told me I was the true emergency (dehydration and pain) and that he had gotten things like tooth aches all day. I know Gastroparesis is an invisible illness and most people think it's in our heads until they see our labs. That's another key difference.

Keep fighting to educate those out there who may still be skeptical of the illness. We shouldn't be punished because of lack of education.



Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Face





My face. I almost didn't recognize it in the mirror. My face carries my head, held high, with flashing fierce green eyes. My eyebrows are more relaxed on my face as well as the lines by my eye and forehead. My eyes dance and flicker green at you with specks of gold thrown in. My smile glowed,and I smiled at everyone,very brightly - as bright as the sun! My lips look look pursed and strained. Additionally, my skin is a grayish hue and there are dark circles under my eyes!


The person I was looking at wasn't smiling, didn't look great, and just looked really tired.But most of all, I look so unhappy!


I had this realization in my bathroom a few minutes after this picture was taken.

The person I was looking at wasn't smiling, didn't look great, and just looked really tired. She didn't look like me, or what I perceived me to look like. I guess I've never really paid attention to those small details in life because there are just too many big details to think about. To be honest, I have never spent much time in front of a mirror because I had been raised a tomboy.

I know sickness and stress have made things worse. I have never been a beauty queen or anything, but this picture does me me feel self conscious about my appearance. But, I feel trapped at the same time because most days I'm too sick to do anything about my appearance. What do you do about this at home?


But, it is MY face, so I will love it because I love myself.