Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Four Weeks

The days that I feel like crap are even scarier then I ever remember them being.  Today I woke up in a pretty good amount of pain. Its 2:00pm I have not ate and I'm scared too.  My belly still really hurts, I'm extremely nauseous, not hungry and really don't want to eat. I'm scared to eat. I never wish that feeling upon anyone. (I did drink an Orgain - I'll have to talk about those at some point)  I've had many, many good days so these days where I feel like crap is a very terrible reminder of GP. 
BUT! I'm doing good. I really am.  I saw my GI doctor (my tummy doctor) yesterday and it was a good appointment.  He was really happy to hear how well I have been feeling and was not surprised at all.  He explained a little about the bodies amazing changes while being pregnant and the 'type of state' my body is currently in. - In 'simple' terms - everything has basically speed up.  My digestion and the whole process is much faster.  Which I knew.  I can literally feel the increase in my digestion.  One good indication of that is the foods I can now eat and tolerate.  That's because the food does not sit in my stomach for hours like they did.  I told him I even had some salad, and he said 'that's great, enjoy it while you can'.  Those words, "enjoy it while you can" of his, repeat in my head over and over again. { Leaving the office yesterday mom and I talked about how I might just have to have ten kids because I feel so good - (that's a joke). }  Doctor looked up one of my medications just to be sure it was safe to take while pregnant, it is.  It was a great appointment.  He is so wonderful, he's an amazing doctor and I'm SO happy I found him. I'm truly lucky to have him as many, many people with GP go through many doctors.  Often finding ones that don't believe their pain and misery. I see him again in 3 months.
I have another baby appointment next week, and four weeks from now I can find out the sex.  Four weeks! Wow. It almost seems like things are flying.  And I'm already having the feeling of being super unprepared.  But, mom says I never will be.  Good to know, good to know. :)
My other half has gone to every appointment so far and asked me the time of the next one, just the other night.  It makes me all giddy how involved he already is.  He's going to be a great dad. <3



Sunday, April 28, 2013


I have some really, really exciting news. 
    I'm pregnant! 
I've waited to tell and talk about this until I had the time and was ready too.  Things seem to have been very busy, as work picks up and I seem to spend a lot of my time eating, thinking about food or sleeping. That's what it feels like, anyhow. 
Finding out I was expecting was pretty shocking, my other half and I knew it was a possibility but I did not think it would happen.  I'll never forget the night finding out, I took a test at home it was just him and I here, (of course).  And the positive sign showed immediately and I ran right to him to show him.  The smile on his face was the biggest I've ever seen.  I've never seen him smile so big.  I, on the other hand was in shock, shaking and had no idea what to think.  From that night out his entire mood has been amazing, he's been so happy, upbeat and can't keep his hands off me. ;) 
It took me a couple days to get used to the fact, but I was very quickly excited.  Having GP and knowing I was expecting was a lot to take in.  I had no idea what was in store for me. 
How have I been feeling? ..To say the least, great! For the most part, the best I've felt in over two years.  I have less pain, I seem to be able to tolerate different foods and eat a little more in a sitting.  The very beginning was rough and I was really sick, throwing up, nauseous. My GP also causing the nausea, so it's always hard to tell if it's "morning sickness" or the GP. I thought I could tell the difference as the morning sickness would make me throw up and seemed to be much more intense.  I'm still nauseous a lot, and I'm so thankful for my Zofran.  I don't think I'd make it through the days without it.  (Zofran is an anti- nausea medication) I do blame some of the nausea on the foods I'm eating as I'm not following my strict GP diet like I used to. As the days go by I'm trying to convince myself that it's time to get back to my diet because I know I'd feel less nauseous. I know I'd feel a little better. 
I have been able to eat some things that I've craved for two years, like SALAD! I've had a couple salads! The first two I had I seemed to do well with, the third, not so well, it made me  really sick. And made me sick into the morning as well.  I was also SO bloated from it.  My bloating has been pretty bad, seems to be a little better the last couple weeks but in the beginning it was terrible. & Apparently the first trimester of pregnancy can make you really bloated.  When I first heard that, I was terrified. But, like I said, it seems to have subsided some. (But! I'm in the second trimester now, also!)   
I had my second OBGYN appointment last week and everything is going really well. I gained SIX pounds! SIX pounds! That made me so happy! I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time and I almost cried like a baby. LOL!  All the staff I've spoke with so far has not seen ANYONE with GP!  I was a little shocked and that made me really nervous at first but things are going well. So I'll play everything by ear.  Also, so far, I like all the women I've seen at OBGYN, which is awesome because I heard tons of mixed reviews on the place! 
 I have my (every 3 month) check up with my GI on the 13th. I'm excited to see him and tell him how, I've been feeling okay, for a change.  He's going to be shocked when I tell him I'm expecting.  The last appointment I had with him I asked him what medications, (the ones that I was/am on) I should stop taking if I were to get pregnant! Hahaha. (So, maybe he won't be shocked) ;) 
I'll update VERY soon! 
~I can't wait to find out what I'm having & can't wait to meet my little miracle!~ 
Oh! And I'm 13 weeks and 6 days as of 4/28/13. ;) 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Chelsea Nicole

I disappeared for a while, but I'm back and going to try to stick around. ;) 
The month of March was a hard one for me and I really wanted to dedicate the middle of the month, specifically the 20th, to write and talk about my very best friend.  Whom I lost very unexpectedly in a motorcycle accident on the 20th of March in 2012. I held off talking about her and the incident as I really wanted to write something awesome and memorable for her.  But, I couldn't do it. The one year of her death started out very difficult as everyone flooded her facebook wall with memories and notes about her, and as I personally reminisced, remember and reflected on all of our memories and held them close to my heart in an uncontrollable pile of tears.  I was finally able to pull myself together later in the day, convincing myself that she would give me so much shit for sitting on my couch in a ridiculous pile of tears. It's still unbelieveable and shocking to say the least, that she's not here today. That, for the past year she's been on my mind daily. Every. Single. Day. 
She had just finished nursing school, with her RN.  She actually finished with her bachelors degree, and had just started working in an ICU.  I still can rarely talk about her and look at pictures without tears. Never in a million years did I think something like this would happen to someone so close to me.  You see, we were a lot alike.  Both had a passion for people, nursing and both wanted to be in a trauma type of nursing. Her ultimate goal was doing Doctors Without Boarders. And we always talked and wanted to go overseas together.  The impact she had on people is beyond remarkable and her love and personality still impact so many today.  When she passed I was just trying to figure out my GP and at the same time trying to get into a nursing program close to home, to finish school.  I have no idea how I even finished with my AAS.  If she was not so dedicated to school and education and if I did not feel her and hear her pushing me, I would have never finished. As, those last few months are a complete blurr.  Expect the couple of weeks following her passing.  I've never in my life had sore stomach muscles from crying to much. (Maybe I could blame GP for a little bit of help with that). A little memorial was quickly and beautifully put together by her family very shortly after her passing.  Some parts of it are a blurr and others, unforgettable.  She will forever have an impact on me and I will always have her in the back of my mind as I make my own decisions in life.  So, March was hard as I had not a clue what the "1 year" of her death would bring and I anticipated it to come and go rather quickly.  I never wish anyone to have to say goodbye to such a close friend.  By far the hardest thing in the world.  
...So that sort of explains my disappearance for a month....or so. 
I'd also like to say in the light of National Donate Life Month if you are not a organ and tissue donor would you be so kind and sign up to be one? It's very easy.  You can go to your local DMV and sign up (thats what I did). Or you can go to donateforlife.net.  
My dear Chelsea was an organ and tissue donor and she is saving lives as we speak.
Thanks so much

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I have Gastroparesis

I have not explained GP well throughout my posts.  Because this is about my life and journey with GP, I guess I could maybe - give a definition and some of the symptoms? Maybe write them out so it's a little easier to understand?  As, I do really wish everyone to know this disease, acknowledge it, know that sometimes when you look at someone they could be sick.  There are "invisible" diseases.  You know how people say "smile at everyone you meet eyes with, as it may make their day?" So true! If you work in the medical field and you don't know about GP please, please read about GP.  
We need the awareness.

Gastro means stomach and paresis means paralysis. So together = Paralysis of The Stomach.  With Gastroparesis the stomach muscles don't work correctly or at all.  Causing food to sit in the stomach or very slowly be digested. 

The symptoms of GP do differ between everyone.  [Some people have GP and have almost no symptoms of it]
-Fullness after a very, very small amount of food
-Indigestion/ GERD
-Weight loss

Medications (which don't always work and there are few)
Gastric Stimulator 
Botox Injections
And the only most effective 'treatment' known is following a strict and careful diet of low, fat low fiber foods. 
**(Anyone just diagnosed with GP I highly recommend starting a "food journal" and documenting what you personally can tolerate and what you can as everyone is different) [me, personally I find I tolerate more fat then I do fiber, fiber seems to really make my symptoms much worse] 

The exact cause of Gastroparesis is unknown.  It may be caused by an interruption of the nerves to the stomach. Gastroparesis is believed to be most common in people with diabetes. And can often be the result of a surgical procedure that was preformed around or near the main nerve in the stomach.  (I've actually heard of the nerve [it's called the Vagus Nerve] being severed during surgery, which in return, leads to Gastroparesis). 

I have Idiopathic Gastroparesis. Which means I have no underlying condition. 
I don't have diabetes
And I've never had surgery on or around my stomach. 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who am I?

Mornings seem to be the worst for me.  It used to be my nights were really awful as well. And I think that's because of my over eating at night.  Which I seem to have got a better handle on.  My new way of getting myself to stop eating is to just go to bed.  Which works. (But I'm not sure that's the best solution) You see, a lot of this disease is a mental struggle.  When you eat, your stomach gets full and you stop.  See, I get full really easily - most the time about after one cup of food, maybe one-and-a-half cups.  But my mind seems to tell me to keep eating, because I feel full, I'm really not.  My stomach still has room, but because of GP I'm full. Does that make sense?  I feel hungry all the time.  This disease is seriously like starving yourself.  Starving and being deprived of all the things you were taught to eat. Fresh, crisp veggies and dip, too!? Fresh fruits, the skin and all. Salad. Eat salad. Oh. The things I would do to eat a salad.  I can't have that.  Those things would make me so sick and in pain for days hours.  I crave these things.  Once, I had some just slightly cooked broccoli for lunch. (I love broccoli) I was in so much pain for hours after I hate it.  My belly could not digest it, so it sat in my stomach for hours just causing me pain. (Obviously enough to stick in my head because, almost everything makes me sick) I can't believe It even stayed down.  No more broccoli for lunch for me.  See, before my GP, I lived at the Wings Of Life Salad at Wegmans.  If you don't know what that is, it's like a salad bar, you tell "them" what you want on your salad and they put it on, they add the yummy goodness homemade dressing, toss it up, and it's yours.  I loved that shit.  Loved it. I used to be able to live on it.  I noticed about three years ago they stared to bother my tummy, I took it for the dressing that was bothering me.  I started to be able to only eat half of the salad because of the pain it caused. Three years ago I never ever thought I'd be sitting here with a watering mouth talking about how much I miss salad.  I've always been a healthy eater, if there were cookies or fresh veggies in front of me I'd pick pick the veggies, no questions asked.  That's always been me.  That's always been my choice of food.  I even used to go to a Fast Food Place and get a salad. (Did you know Wendy's makes a really yummy caesar salad?). Those days are gone. Long gone. 
So anyway...mornings, mornings are really hard on me.  But I do find that as along as I get up and move shortly after I open my eyes I do, do better. I do better moving all day then sitting around...usually.  I find when I sit home I think to much into things. As, we all do, right?  It's also hard sometimes because I just can't find the energy to do things, sometimes I have to stay in bed.  I have to remind myself that sometimes I need a re-charge day.  And it's really okay if I have to stay in bed for a day.  I get tired really easily. After I'm up and moving I usually start to feel a little better.  On a work day, I always eat breakfast, it's usually one egg and one piece of toast.  And my tea - of course.  I usually feel okay after that.  Breakfast is usually the only meal, as long as I eat my one egg and one piece of toast at home that I feel okay after.  The rest of the day is usually down hill. Always pain and discomfort after every. Single. Thing. I eat.  I just realized that yesterday....every meal equals pain.  Crazy!
Is this really me? Who am I? What happened? How old am I? The rest of my life? 

***Please, eat a salad for me***

Friday, February 15, 2013

Are You Pregnant?

When I have doctors appointments with Dr. F (my GI doctor in case your new here) I always get kinda excited.  Of course, I have the mixture of feelings as well, scared and nervous. But for some stupid reason I get all giddy thinking I'm going to hear something wonderful, like oh here, there's this new procedure and I can fix you! I have no clue why I anticipate this or why such a thing would even cross my mind when I know better.  I know there is no cure, I know I have GP and no one can just fix this or make me better right away. But it never fails I always think that way.  Well, I went yesterday and guess what? He doesn't have a cure. Shitty! 
My last test, the upper scope went well.  Everything looked pretty good.  There was some swelling seen in my esophagus and stomach but nothing he seemed concerned about.  Negative for the tests he tested me for, I thought so.  That's a plus, as the last thing I need is to be "allergic" to food (even though I kinda already am, or that's what it feels like).  So from here he's done a little bit of a med switch/add on to see if it relieves some of the ridiculous gas pains and bloating I get, everyday.  Sometimes they make me feel like crying hiding in the corner in a fetal position. Eh, maybe I do that anyway.
 The last appointment with Dr. F he changed my GERD medication as I stopped taking the one he put me on before because it was freakin' pointless.  It seemed to make things worse I'm not sure if that was in my head or not but it made the sensation of something stuck in my throat, or my 'throat pain' much worse.  The new medication seems to have helped me some, as my throat bothers me less and my nausea is NOT AS OFTEN! Ya hear that?!  Ugh, such a relief. (Although I say that today, I'm probably in trouble, tomorrow)  I'm nauseous a lot.  Like more often then not, like I am right now. There is really nothing worse then the feeling of having to get sick. All. The. Time.  That's one reason I HAVE to watch what I eat, some greasy icky food makes me sick almost instantly.  It's a fun time! Not.  People also often hear me complain about this, a lot. As -- it has become, a part of me.  
This leads me to the question I get, a lot. I bet you already know. "Kari, are you pregnant?"  Nope, not pregnant, just nauseous, all the time, like its my job.  I think when ever a female is nauseous or craving something it's almost always assumed that one is expecting.  Ive come to the conclusion that its a ridiculous assumption. :) 
GP brings the nausea, and it is not really known why people with GP suffer with it the way they do.  When I saw my dietitian she explained to me that after you eat something and you feel that nausea that means "you should not eat it", if I lived by that rule I don't even want to know where I'd be today! What she told me was not true. At all. Lots of people with GP are nauseous and it's not necessarily because of something they (I) just ate.  I get nauseous when my stomach is empty!
 (So, those of you who have health issues and regularly see many doctors or health care providers please, don't believe *everything* they tell you, especially if its someone like a dietitian telling you about your disease/ condition- when their not a doctor. 
I'm kinda rambling. I've been all over the place today. I'll end here. 
(Side note: if you've asked me the pregnant question, please don't feel offended, even one of the nurses at my regular GI asked me the same question one day. Its okay. Hopefully someday soon I can gladly say "yes, yes I am") ;) 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More testing....

My most recent "test" was an upper endoscopy. I always loath these tests because I never know how I will feel after or, in this case, before. With this test I had to stop eating and drinking by midnight the night before.  This made me really nervous.  I get full really, really easily, it takes the smallest amount of food to make me extremely full.  So I eat about every 2-3 hours.  Or that's what I *try* really hard to do.  Because my portion sizes are so small, sometimes in the morning I'm so hungry, I have to get out of bed just to grab something to eat.  When my stomach is so empty it makes me feel incredibly nauseous.  (Actually nausea is one of the things I struggle most with - ill get into that later)    So with this particular test, I was not sure how I'd feel the morning before let alone after.  But! I was really okay before, the test was about an hour away so, driving was scary because that also makes me sick (go figure) but mom let me drive, and the morning went well.  It was not one of the mornings where I felt like I needed to eat as soon as I woke, thank goodness!  We got there and they took me right in, got me into what looked like an ER room, prepped me for the test, questions and all.  The doctor stopped in before the test to ask questions of why I was there and what was going on.  It had been two years since my last upper scope so I think it was time for one.   [The last scope I had was one of the first tests they did after they discovered obvious signs of digestive struggles.  Before my dignosis I actually ended up in the ER with ubearable stomach pains, that's when they did a CT and tentatively diagnosed me with Crohns Disease because CT showed swelling in the Ileum, (its part of your small instestines, that type of swelling is seen in people with Crhons). I guess maybe that's another story too?!  Further testing obviously ruled Crohns out.]   The first scope showed a small "abrasion" in my throat.  No clue what that really means, and neither did the doctor that performed the most recent scope. It was nice to talk to the doctor before the test, he seemed really nice and very helpful.  It really seemed that he wanted to help.  He explained he was going take some biopsies and test for a few other things ....that I have not been tested for! Can you believe that!? There are something I have not been tested for! :)   I told doc that I did not need much of the drugs to knock me out, I take to any drug really eaisly and often even feel the effects the whole day of the test, where most people don't.  I said "yea, won't take much to knock me out, should be easy". Well, I lied. At first they could not get me to sleep, and then I woke up in the middle of it, trying to pull the tubes out. Oops! Ha. Never a dull moment. So, then they gave me more to *keep* me asleep. But I woke up okay, was out a little longer, no surprise as they had to drug me good.  I wanted nothing to do with food at first they shoved a basket of (not GP friendly) foods in my face and I asked for just regular crackers.  I'm pretty sure mom told me the first bite I took of the cracker left a pretty priceless look on my face. That was yuck.  Of course I thought I was going to lose my Apples but I was given my Zofran (anti-nausea medicine) and felt better.  What the doctor could see: all normal! I have a small irregular Z line, which is just where our esophagus and stomach meet, it has a certain "Z like pattern" mines irregular, common in people that suffer from GERD.  So that's good, I guess. I was almost hoping for more of an answer, and the doctor to say "oh my gosh, we found this, and guess what? We can completely fix you!" Ha! But, no such luck.  So now? I'm waiting for the results from the biopsies he took, ruling out Celiacs Disease (allergic to gluten - I sware they have tested me for this before, but I assume the biopsy is much more accurate)  and Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis which is allergic reactions to certain foods. (I actually have a friend with this disease, it's an awful terrible disease - and I think of her daily)  He tested me for one other thing, I don't remember what it was. All of the testing I really believe will be negative.  I don't believe I'm having any reactions to anything I'm eating.  But I need that confirmation, I'll see Dr. F , next week! 
We've (doctor and I) decided it was time to do a little more testing, as I'm always feeling really crappy lately and everything I eat seems to make me really sick. 
Also, I'm craving coffee, someone have a cup for me? Please? Thanks! 
(I quit drinking coffee about a year ago, because it really started bothering my stomach (I know, your so surprised!)  I've done well with it, [not drinking it] lately I want some, I have had some actually, tummy hates it)