Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Story

I was always a healthy person growing up. I remember I once went four years between doctor appointments. My doctor told my mother, whenever she's sick I'll check her then. It was great, no waiting in the waiting rooms, no needles and no doctor bills or medications. Whenever I was in college, I had an appendectomy. It was an experience. Shortly after whenever I would go out to eat with my boyfriend Jacob, I would become nauseous and lose my meal. This became a frequent pattern. Before long, I was seeing a gastroenterologist about my gallbladder because my diet had became more limited. After trying several medications and performing several tests, my gallbladder function was said to be at eighteen percent. It was time to remove it and then I should have my relief. After my surgery, my surgeon told me that it looked as if someone had poured motor oil in my gallbladder. Give it a month or two and I should be close to my old self. Three to four months after my surgery, I was worse than before. I could not keep food in my through my whole meal sometimes. During this time, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer so my family was under enough stress so I did not want to add to the mix. I finally excepted that eating eight Maalox tablets a day, not including the my prescriptions to help keep the food in was the way it was going to be.

By February of 2008, my weight was steady going down. My parents were beginning to notice and I finally made the call to my doctor to ask for a referral. My appointment was at Wake Forest Baptist University Medical Center with the Head of Gastroenterology, Dr. Kenneth L. Koch. After visiting and going over my case, he believed that I had Gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach ability to empty is delayed due to paralysis. He would not know more until He did a series of test in May to confirm. He performed an Electrogastrogram which is like an EKG or EEG. Next came an Upper Endoscopy and an Esophageal Manometry. The Endoscopy was easy for I had already had two before. The Esophageal Manometry was a different story. Coming home with a tube down my nose to measure my pH levels in my esophagus was not so comfortable. The final test was the Gastric Emptying Scan. This test was so hard for me. I had to eat eggs with a trace of radioactive material in it and toast. My mom had to make me eat it. I do not do breakfast foods for breakfast. This was my third straight day of testing and I was tired. This test shows how fast the food empties through your stomach. It can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 6 hours. It took me a little over five hours. It seemed like forever.

Whenever I went back to get my test results, it was offical, I had Gastroparesis. My stomach functioning was at thirty-seven percent. My lifestyle would have to change. My diet would have to change. I would have to eat foods that were easy to "mill" or "grind up" in the stomach. From the time of my appendectomy until my diagnosis, I had went from one hundred twenty-one pounds to ninety-one pounds.

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