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Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Cope with GP/DTP Pain - Emotionally and Physically

This is a question that I've been asked a lot. I have been doubled over in pain, with no relief in sight. So, how do I cope and what do I do to make the pain easier to handle? I have compiled a list from our members on the GASTROPARESIS FACEBOOK PAGE on how to deal with the emotional and physical pain of dealing with Gastroparesis/DTP.

For the Emotional Pain:

1. Smash Journals (recommended by LaShelle & Melony) - It's kind of like scrapbooking. HERE is a video to help you make your own Smash Journal. Also, HERE is a link to Pinterest for ideas on Smash Journals.

2. Facebook (recommended by Melony) - just writing about your experiences will help in support groups/pages.

3. Writing Poetry (recommended by Melony) - getting your feelings out in the form of writing helps.

4. Pets (recommended by Lora & Sara) - pets are great distractions! Walking your dog or playing with your cat will help take your mind off of things. Lora writes, "it is fairly simple to get a favored pet established as a 'emotional support' animal, thus making it possible to take the pet with you EVERYWHERE (without additional fees when traveling!) That would help those in hospitals, housing issues, travel, etc. There are no actual requirements for training, just need a doctor to fill out the proper paperwork for a certificate. Here's a WEBSITE with a little info on the subject."

5. Drawing (recommended by Sara) - drawing helps to channel your emotions into something positive.

6. Watching Videos (recommended by Sara) - whether you're watching videos on Youtube, Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon, escaping into someone else's world for a while will help you to cope with having GP by distracting you from the pain.

7. Breathing Exercises (recommended by Wendy) - Breathing exercises will help relax you. Diaphragmatic Breathing, according to my Mayo Clinic doctor, will help cut down nausea and vomiting. HERE is a link to breathing exercises for relaxation.

8. Exercising (recommended by Angela) - working out can take your mind off of things as well as giving you an energy boost with adrenaline. You can do anything from yoga to jogging, just be careful.

9. Prayer/Meditation (recommended by Angela & Dominique) - being able to vent your frustrations and to focus on something else will take your mind off of GP/DTP.

10. Reading (recommended by Heather) - reading and escaping into someone else's life/story will help you to overcome some of the pain you're in.

11. Listening to music/singing (recommended by Ariella) - listening to music will channel some of your emotional turmoil into fun. Play Rockband, Guitar Hero, or just do some good ole Karaoke to make yourself feel better.

12. Watching Your Favorite TV Show (recommended by Regina) - "I watch The Talk. Those ladies, I just love, they help me though this stress."

13. Surfing the Net (recommended by Mariella) - Mariella writes, "When I'm having good days I try to keep my mind occupied getting on the computer and catching up on the things I couldn't do while I was down..."

14. Going to Concerts (recommended by Tanya) - Tanya writes, "I also enjoy going to local shows, because I have a lot of friends who are in bands with these genres of music. Being there with my friends & listening to them do their passion always seems to help me cope with the stresses of GP."

15. Art Therapy (recommended by Nico) - "As an expressive medium, art can be used to help clients communicate, overcome stress and explore different aspects of their own personality." More on Art Therapy can be found HERE.

16. Playing Video Games (recommended by Melissa) - Her son plays video games to cope with the stress and pain. This is one of my favorite ways to cope with GP/DTP. I usually put in a zombie game and take out all of my stress on the zombies. It sounds goofy, but playing a first person shooter really helps you channel the stress you are dealing with daily. It really does help.

17. Knitting - Knitting is one of my favorite things to do. It keeps my hands busy and distracts me for a bit. I learned how to knit with the KNIFTY KNITTER. You can buy one on AMAZON or pick one up in the Craft Section of Walmart.



For the Physical Pain:


1. Heating Pad (recommended by Melissa) – The heat from the heating pad will help the gastric spasms to calm down.

2. Sucking on Pickled Ginger (recommended by Ariella) – Ginger has been known to help with stomach issues. It’s an old remedy that helps.

3. Sip on Calming Teas (recommended by Domonique) – Sipping on hot teas can both soothe your burning throat and your stomach. Ginger tea and Peppermint teas are recommended.

4. Long Bath (recommended by LaShelle & Diana) – Diana writes, “I also take long hot baths and read in the tub. it's relaxing and soothing.” You can also add Epsom salt to your bath to help with gastric spasms. Epsom Salt can be found in your pharmacy’s first aid section. LaShelle, the GNE Page Creator, has a tip for those of you who want to take relaxing baths, “I use epsom salt and/or Milk and honey baths (which you can find in packages at Walmart). There are some natural herbal remedies you can try but for right now, there isn't much else that fits our needs.”

5. Keep a Food Diary/Journal - this will help you keep track of when you ate, how much you ate, what time you got sick, etc. A pattern might emerge that will help you better gauge when you should eat and what you should eat.

The MAYO CLINIC writes,
“Treating gastroparesis begins with identifying and treating the underlying condition. For instance, if diabetes is causing your gastroparesis, your doctor can work with you to help you control your diabetes. Beyond this, other gastroparesis treatments may include: Changes to your diet Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian who can work with you to find foods that are easier for you to digest, so that you're more likely to get enough calories and nutrients from the food you eat. A dietitian might suggest that you try to: Eat smaller meals more frequently. Eat low-fiber forms of high-fiber foods, such as well-cooked fruits and vegetables rather than raw fruits and vegetables. Choose mostly low-fat foods, but if you can tolerate them, add small servings of fatty foods to your diet. Avoid fibrous fruits and vegetables, such as oranges and broccoli, that may cause bezoars. If liquids are easier for you to ingest, try soups and pureed foods. Drink water throughout each meal. Try gentle exercise after you eat, such as going for a walk. Some people with gastroparesis may be unable to tolerate any food or liquids. In these situations, doctors may recommend a feeding tube (jejunostomy tube) be placed in the small intestine. Feeding tubes can be passed through your nose or mouth or directly into your small intestine through your skin. The tube is usually temporary and is only used when gastroparesis is severe or when blood sugar levels can't be controlled by any other method. Medications Medications to treat gastroparesis may include: Medications to control nausea and vomiting. Anti-emetic medications include prochlorperazine (Compro), diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Unisom) and lorazepam (Ativan). Medications to stimulate the stomach muscles. These medications include metoclopramide (Reglan) and erythromycin. There is a risk of serious side effects with these medications, so discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor. Surgery If treatment doesn't help control your nausea, vomiting or malnutrition, you may consider gastroparesis surgery. During surgery, the lower part of the stomach may be stapled or bypassed to help improve stomach emptying. Experimental treatments Researchers are working on new ways of treating gastroparesis, such as: Injecting a nerve toxin to allow the stomach to release food. Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is a nerve toxin most commonly known for its use in treating skin wrinkles. Researchers have found that Botox injections relax the pyloric muscle in some people, thereby allowing the stomach to release more food into the small intestine. The benefits are temporary, however, and more studies are needed to determine the overall usefulness of this treatment. Implanting an electrical device to control the stomach muscles. Electrical gastric stimulation uses an electric current to cause stomach contractions. Working much like a heart pacemaker, this stomach pacemaker, consisting of a tiny generator and two electrodes, is placed in a pocket that surgeons create on the stomach's outer edge. Stomach pacemakers have been shown to improve stomach emptying and reduce nausea and vomiting in some people with gastroparesis, but more studies are needed.”">Mayo Clinic writes, “Treating gastroparesis begins with identifying and treating the underlying condition. For instance, if diabetes is causing your gastroparesis, your doctor can work with you to help you control your diabetes. Beyond this, other gastroparesis treatments may include:

Changes to your diet
Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian who can work with you to find foods that are easier for you to digest, so that you're more likely to get enough calories and nutrients from the food you eat. A dietitian might suggest that you try to:
Eat smaller meals more frequently.
Eat low-fiber forms of high-fiber foods, such as well-cooked fruits and vegetables rather than raw fruits and vegetables.
Choose mostly low-fat foods, but if you can tolerate them, add small servings of fatty foods to your diet.
Avoid fibrous fruits and vegetables, such as oranges and broccoli, that may cause bezoars.
If liquids are easier for you to ingest, try soups and pureed foods.
Drink water throughout each meal.
Try gentle exercise after you eat, such as going for a walk.
Some people with gastroparesis may be unable to tolerate any food or liquids. In these situations, doctors may recommend a feeding tube (jejunostomy tube) be placed in the small intestine.

Feeding tubes can be passed through your nose or mouth or directly into your small intestine through your skin. The tube is usually temporary and is only used when gastroparesis is severe or when blood sugar levels can't be controlled by any other method.

Medications
Medications to treat gastroparesis may include:
Medications to control nausea and vomiting. Anti-emetic medications include prochlorperazine (Compro), diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Unisom) and lorazepam (Ativan).
Medications to stimulate the stomach muscles. These medications include metoclopramide (Reglan) and erythromycin. There is a risk of serious side effects with these medications, so discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor.

Surgery
If treatment doesn't help control your nausea, vomiting or malnutrition, you may consider gastroparesis surgery. During surgery, the lower part of the stomach may be stapled or bypassed to help improve stomach emptying.

Experimental treatments
Researchers are working on new ways of treating gastroparesis, such as:
Injecting a nerve toxin to allow the stomach to release food. Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is a nerve toxin most commonly known for its use in treating skin wrinkles. Researchers have found that Botox injections relax the pyloric muscle in some people, thereby allowing the stomach to release more food into the small intestine. The benefits are temporary, however, and more studies are needed to determine the overall usefulness of this treatment.
Implanting an electrical device to control the stomach muscles. Electrical gastric stimulation uses an electric current to cause stomach contractions. Working much like a heart pacemaker, this stomach pacemaker, consisting of a tiny generator and two electrodes, is placed in a pocket that surgeons create on the stomach's outer edge. Stomach pacemakers have been shown to improve stomach emptying and reduce nausea and vomiting in some people with gastroparesis, but more studies are needed.”


1 comment:

Diane J said...

Reading my email is another way to distract yourself from pain. I get a lot of positives from my email.