I have one son age 24 who is in the army and a student at Marshal University in Huntington WV. I am 48 years young. I was born and raised in San Diego California. I hope to move back there some day. Or at least a warmer dry climate. I have over 20 years experience working with people. I was working 15 hours a day as a social worker and 12-15 hours a day as a caregiver. That ended about three years ago when I began violently throwing up every night without fail while I worked this was not good. I had to stop working as a caregiver when I began vomiting in front of my clients without warning. I was so embarrassed. Over ten years my symptoms were mild and I was diagnosed as having acid reflux and anxiety related nervousness stomach. But when the violent nausea and vomiting started. The GI decided to do an endoscopy. I fasted for the procedure but even the day of the procedure I was still throwing up. And when he did my endoscopy he took pictures and showed me the food that was still in my esophagus and my stomach so he referred me to a surgeon.
The surgeon did a GES study which confirmed I had GP. My rate of digestion was 57% after 4 hours. He said my safest option was to do the gastric pacemaker. So I did. It did not work for me so next they did a GJ tube. I began rejecting the tube feeds but my surgeon refused to do TPN. I ended up going to Cleveland clinic as an inpatient because I was real sick. They put me on TPN and sent me to a snf (skilled nursing facility) to learn how to do TPN at home. But when I got to the snf they told me they were taking me off TPN and starting the j feeds and I was not allowed to go home until I could tolerate the feeds. It was a nightmare. I made myself do the feeds despite the pain, bloat and nausea. When I got home I went back to Cleveland clinic and they re admitted me because the tube had busted and was infected. They were upset that my local GI and surgeon did not follow the clinics order.
I wanted to start a face to face support group both to offer hands on support to GPers in my community and to educate anyone I can. So I got the newspaper to write a article about GP and how it affects my life and my goal of starting the group I added my contact information so if a GPer was out there they could sign up for the group. Well during this whole process, I joined a wonderful support group called G-PACT. I had so much support especially when I was in the nursing home. I received a message from G-PACT admin to be a G-PACT volunteer facilitator/ trainer. My job is to train anyone interested in having a support group in their community. Across the USA. I was excited to receive such a responsibility. And as my support group began to take shape I began offering others online to be trained on how to open their own support group. I have been writing a training manual for G-PACT as well as welcome books for my support group.
Gastroparesis has been a ruthless enemy, but I have been able to use it in many ways to help others in their journey. Ive been able to share with medical staff who really just didn’t have a clue.I encourage advocating or sharing about Gastroparesis everywhere I go and with everyone I meet, yes it’s that important. I’m very thankful for the people that I have met through G-PACT. Each person I’ve met through G-PACT has helped me fight for better health care for my condition. I’m grateful for the level of support I find. Very thankful.
G-PACT Support Group Coordinator/Trainer