I’ve been contemplating how exactly to write this post since early Monday. Let me begin by saying: I am nibbling very slowly on a rice cake and cottage cheese for breakfast, not because I’ve jumped of the deep-end and refuse to eat more than 90 calories per meal, but because this (and ginger) is about all my stomach can manage. I was told that I have gastroparesis on Monday. Just when I was trying to love food, eat healthfully and adventurously it had to be cut short by a stomach malfunction. I’m down in the dumps right now – I’m 19 and I’ve been told I have a chronic illness (paired with a glucoamylase deficiency). What this all means for me is that I have to eat very small meals as often as my stomach can tolerate it. I need to avoid fats, pasta, bread, caffeine, carbonation, and, worst of all, fresh fruits and vegetables. Beyond those “guidelines” I was told I can eat anything that my stomach can tolerate, which right now isn’t much. Even when I’ve when I’ve believed myself to be eating “responsibly” I’m suddenly overcome by nausea and intense stomach pain.
How is gastroparesis treated? Well, that is a question I wish I could answer more optimistically. There really is no “cure” or medication that offers long-term relief. The medication I was prescribed has horrendous side-effects: anxiety, panic-attaks, nausea, sleepiness, inability to sleep. From what I understand you also become desensitized to these medicines over time. I cannot bring myself to talk something that may cause increased anxiety.
Temporary solutions to the extreme nausea and stomach pain include exercise (that’s something to smile about – but I have so little energy right now), eating ginger or peppermint and putting heat packs on your stomach.
As I begin to understand and internalize what exactly I can consume I realize just how hungry I am and just how many foods I’m going to miss out on. The next few days and weeks are going to be tough, so if anyone has experience with gastroparesis or suggestions about coping with it, please let me know.