A Day in the Life of the Chronically Ill: Gastroparesis
Forewarning: This is a huge TMI. You will learn more things about me than you probably would ever want to know. Read with caution. Additionally, I have a fairly mild case of GP. I am lucky that I have never had to have tube implanted in my stomach, that I have never relied on IVs for nutrients, and that I haven’t had to resort to eating baby food. This is my experience. Other GPers may have vastly different experiences.
BEEP BOOP BOPP BEEP BOOP BOPP BEEP
“What the fuck is happening!?!?! What is that noise? Where am I?”
I eventually realize that it is my phone alarm. ‘UGH, WHAT?” I pick up the phone and read the screen: THYROID!!!
“Oh, yeah. Yuck, I feel gross. My throat hurts from stomach acid eating my insides all night. I need to take my thyroid medication in order to give it a head start of at least three hours before I consume anything else. SIT UP DANIELLE.”
“Ugh, my pill is kicking in. I have to take a poop. Don’t want to get out of bed. Need to poop.”
“IT IS THE POISON POOPS RUUUNNN”
Back to bed.
Alarm goes off again. Dogs get excited about getting up. I am not excited about getting up. I hit snooze.
Alarm goes off again. Barry (the dog) is up in my face. I just want more sleep. Hit snooze again.
Alarm goes off again. This time, the dogs and the cat are not letting me hit snooze again. Barry keeps jumping on my chest and licking my face and Fury (the cat) is sprinting around the room. Janet (the dog) is sitting up and staring at me. I get up and stumble to the kitchen.
“OH MY GOD. I AM GOING TO BARF. PLEASE DON’T BARF. YUCK.”
I gag and then belch. “That’s a little better. BUT GOD, SO NAUSEATED.”
I look at the time and do the math. I still have 2.5 hours before I can take any nausea meds or antacids. “FUCK!”
I feed the animals and make a gigantic pot of coffee. It is not even 5AM after all.
Take dogs for walk. It is 20 degrees outside. I am freezing but the cold air on my face is making me less nauseated.
Start getting ready for work and start drinking coffee. Coffee makes the barfing feeling even worse. Eat some saltines. Pack your snacks for the day: white bread, Jiff Peanut Butter, candy, Monster Energy drink, saltines, yogurt and some leftover chicken and skinless potatoes for lunch. No fiber. No veggies. No fruit. I wonder how much shit I am going to get about my food choices today.
MORE POISON POOP
Leave for work. Hit speed bump a little too hard while leaving apartment parking. “OH PLEASE DON’T PUKE IN THE CAR!”
Arrive at work. “YES! I CAN NOW TAKE ANTACIDS.”
“That coffee did not work. Ugh. I am going to be sleepy all day. This fucking suck. Stupid stomach. DIGEST THE NUTRIENTS.” Being malnourished is a bitch.
Eat some more saltines to test the stomach sitch out. Coworker: “Ooooo! Breakfast of Champions!” *internally implode from frustration as you have explained your illness to your coworkers 1.5 million times*
Stomach did okay with saltines. Eat piece of white bread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter. “Ugh. That was too much after crackers. So full.”
POISON POOP! Move as quickly as you can to the restroom without your colleagues noticing!
“Well, now I have to pee from all the water I have been drinking from trying to push my food through my stomach and into my intestines. Fuck.”
“Stomach feels okay. Should probably eat that yogurt. I am never going to stop losing weight if I don’t stay up on my eating.” Make it through 75% of the container before you get nauseated again.
“OMG I DO NOT HAVE TO POOP AGAIN. Like, I know I haven’t pooped in 4 days, but this is a little excessive. MY BUTTHOLE CANNOT TAKE ANYMORE. UGH. STUPID OPEN OFFICE SETTING. Everyone can see how much I have gone to the restroom today. FUCK.”
Go pee. Hydration is important. So embarassed about bodily functions.
Lunchtime. Unenthusiastically pick at chicken and potatoes. It tastes good. I am really just not looking forward to the pain. Pop more antacids in anticipation for the acid reflux.
“UGH I am going to barf. And my chest hurts. Yuck.”
“SO SLEEPY. Stupid blood sugar rollercoaster. I am not digesting my food. goddamit. Okay, Monster and candy time. Have to digest some sugars really fast and fight the sleepies, otherwise I am going to be head down on the desk in 10 minutes.”
Colleague, “Monster AND candy?! If I ate that, I would be convulsing on the floor!”
“I HAVE TO POOP AGAIN. This is excessive. I should take my phone and make it seem like I am going on a long break. Let’s go to a bathroom on a different floor.”
Eat more antacids and leave work.
Arrive home and feed animals, walk dogs. “I am so exhausted. I don’t want to walk the dogs, but they are begging me to go outside.”
Change into sweatpants and curl up on couch in fetal position. Everything hurts.
Boyfriend gets home. Asks if I want pizza for dinner as neither of us feel like cooking. I say yes. Pizza sounds really good and my body is hungry. I should probably try more food.
Pizza arrives. “Holy shit, that smells so good. I am so hungry. My body feels weak. I should probably stick to just one piece.” But, I put two small pieces on my plate. It just tastes too good.
“UGH THAT DID NOT GO DOWN GOOD.”
Eats more antacids. My esophagus hurts. Uh oh. I think I just exceeded the limit of antacids to consume in a single 24 hour period. I hope I didn’t overdose.
Continue lying on the couch. “FUCK. When am I going to feel like I can exercise again? My joints hurt from never moving. I hate this. I am so bored. TV is boring.”
“I am too tired to continue to be awake.” Goes and brushes teeth.
“OH NO. UGH I AM GOING TO BARF.”
*continues brushing teeth*
“UGH. That is completely undigested pizza. That is an olive. That is a tomato. And that is definitely cheese. Looks like it wasn’t even swallowed. That was just sitting in my esophagus. My throat hurts now. But hey, my esophagus feels better.
Goes to bed to do it all again the next day.