Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Spoon Theory...

Many years ago, I heard about "The Spoon Theory". At first, it didn't make a lot of sense to me. I was new to my diagnosis and was basically flying by the seat of my pants. I didn't know a lot about gastroparesis and how the gastroparesis would effect my day to day living. The Spoon Theory was created by Christine Miserandino who suffers from Lupus.

To the average healthy person, whenever they wake up in the morning, the day is theirs. They can do daily mundane tasks such as showering, getting ready for the day or doing a load of laundry without experiencing the physical effects. Whenever they become tired, they can just recharge by resting or sleeping. If needed, they can even continue with their day pushing through the fatigue and tiredness.

To the chronically ill or disabled person, a lot of the times, they make wake up with decreased energy due to their health condition. They have to loosely plan their day in hopes to conserve and use their energy in the most proficient way. A way of measuring how much energy one has is where "The Spoon Theory" comes from.  Patients sometimes refer to themselves as a "Spoonie". A spoon is a way of measuring a patient's energy. Depending on the patient's health and medical condition determines how many spoons that person is allotted per day. Whenever the patient runs out of spoons, they have to stop and recharge. They simply can not push through. It varies with each patient but recharging may take a  few hours to days. Each patient is different. Once their body recharges and recovers, then they can resume their daily tasks.

In the beginning, I was horrible with conserving and using my energy in the most proficient way. Whenever I worked, I would wake up early since I had to commute to work. Some mornings by the time I was ready to leave home or got to work, I would be dragging. Some mornings, I would actually have to come in late or simply miss that day of work. I would be up all hours of the night from my gastroparesis and cleaning out so I woke up exhausted and weak. My diet was awful. My food absorption was bad. I was continually bouncing from liquid to solid diets.

It took a long time but I finally learned how to manage my energy and spoons better. Now I have a daily routine that I go by. I do the things that are most important and the rest can wait. Over time, I will try get those things accomplished and it not, it's no big deal. Since becoming a parent, I have been exceptionally careful with my energy. I don't over exert or push myself like I once did. I always make sure that I have enough energy (spoons) left for my daughter. She is my number one priority. If I don't get the laundry folded, oh well. I'd rather give her that energy.


Photo Credit:

Gastroparesis Friendly Recipe: Easy and Quick...

If you're like me, you have a ton of Pinterest recipe pins but don't ever get around to making all of them. There are only so many hours in a day and a lot of recipes don't fit into a GP patient's diet needs. Some evenings when it is time to start thinking about dinner, I am too tired to follow a recipe and cook something that is time consuming. I want something that is easy, quick and simple. A little while back, I ran across a Pinterest recipe that caught my eye. It is called "The Italian Wonderpot". I read through the list of ingredients and the recipe directions. I have to admit, I have been burnt a few times with Pinterest pins so I try to do my research to make sure that the recipe fits our family's palette and grocery budget. I do not like finding a recipe that calls for a spice that is hardly used at our house and costs four or five dollars. I don't consider those recipes to be budget friendly.

While I was reading the recipe, I realized that this would be something that I could eat too. The ingredients were things that I am currently able to eat without huge regrets or repercussions. It is also budget friendly and EASY! All of the ingredients are added to one pot so there is little clean up. Who likes seeing a sink full of dishes before dinner?

I added and changed a few things to the recipe to make it more to our liking. Since my husband likes to have some type of protein with his meals, I baked some chicken breast in the oven. I seasoned it with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Once they were out of the oven, I simply sliced them into little strips so he could put them on top of his pasta. The recipe calls for a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes. I opted to use a smaller 14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes. The recipe mentions using frozen spinach. I however had some fresh spinach on hand and added it just before the pasta was finished. I wanted the spinach to wilt but still have its fresh green color.

I was really impressed with this recipe. It was full of flavor. Our family will definitely be eating it again in the future. I have left a link to the Budget Bytes website where the recipe can be found.

Italian Wonderpot Recipe:

Image Credit: Budget Bytes

Monday, May 8, 2017

bloating and body image...

As a gastroparesis patient, one of the biggest and hardest things for me to deal with on a daily basis is bloating and distention. I. CAN'T. STAND. IT. I'm not talking about bloating that takes place for a few days a month. I'm talking about bloating that takes place after every meal. It is almost as if I can just look at food and I will start to bloat.

Bloating has been an everyday thing that I have had to learn to deal with. I may sit down to eat something "GP sized" and not too long afterwards, I could pass for being in my second trimester of pregnancy. After dealing with the bloating and distention day in and day out for years, it has really impacted my perception of myself. I am automatically drawn to notice my bloating when I look in the mirror. To me, it is a much bigger deal than what it really is. In so many words, I make a mountain out of a molehill. With this disease, I feel like one of the biggest misconceptions that we deal with, is how the bloating and distention affects our personal perception of ourselves. This is something that is not addressed and talked about enough.

Let me address any conclusions that may be drawn from reading this. I am not anorexic, bulimic or suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. I have been tested for SIBO multiple times. Bloating is just something that I physically experience and feel. I love to eat. I am constantly making a list of foods in my head that I want to try and eat. The silver lining to having gastroparesis for me, is that it has made me love and appreciate food in a way that I didn't before.

Whenever I had my ileostomy placed, it totally changed how my body bloats and how it feels to be bloated. Before my ileostomy, I would bloat all throughout my abdominal area. Now the majority of the bloating is centered right across the middle of my stomach. I have spoken to my doctors about this. The change in the location of the bloating is due to where my ileostomy was placed and how my small intestines lie. I will notice pressure behind my ostomy which can be uncomfortable in addition to the fullness from the bloating. My abdominal muscles and walls have weakened as a result of pregnancy and various surgeries.

I was recently reading about models. As we all know, models have a strict diet and exercise routine. Before a runway show, a model will go on a liquid diet for days. The day of the show, they will abstain from any liquids. All of this is in an effort to have a flat, chiseled out stomach free from any bloating or distention that may be caused by consuming foods or liquids. As my doctor said this past week, it you drink or eat something, it has to go somewhere in your body (your stomach and intestines). Your body is going to make secretions. You're going to change in size regardless of your medical condition. Whenever I read about the models' pre-show regime, I was shocked. Why in the world would you want to refrain from drinking or eating to look that way? You know whenever they walk down the runway, that they have to feel somewhat weakened and possibly suffer from a dehydration headache. As GP patients, we have strict and limited diets and are often unable to eat. Why would you purposely want to do that to yourself in order to look better? I simply do not understand it. Society has placed such emphasis on our physical, outward appearance and less about what is on the inside. After reading and seriously thinking about it, why do I personally let the bloating get to me? It really isn't that big of a deal.