Rachel Burchfield is a 21-year old who runs a blog called PositivelyRachel. There she covers multiple topics including her fight against her multiple chronic illness, one of which is gastroparesis.
Rachel recently wrote an insightful article about the decisions she has had to make about how to get the nutrition she needs. It is a good look at the pros and cons of some of the options available to those who need nutritional assistance.
Here is some of what she said in her article “Why I Continue to Avoid TPN as a Young Gastroparesis and Generalized Dysmotility Patient”:
“I’m about to hit my 3 year mark of being tube fed. I never would have imagined that I would be 21 and fed through a tube in my gut, but it isn’t my last choice as far as alternative nutrition options go.
I’ve been asked and offered many times to go (back) on TPN, or total parenteral nutrition, which is nutrition that goes straight into your veins. This option gives you full nutrition—protein, fats, vitamins, etc—and can be tailored to your exact needs.
Because my intestines and colon are delayed (they don’t process food or feeds at a “normal” rate), I don’t get in enough feeds to meet my calorie goals and I haven’t been able to gain back any weight. My BMI is considered extremely low and some of my doctors would really like me to go back on TPN. For those who don’t know much about TPN and for those who have never had to make the choices I have, I’m going to try to explain to you why I – as well as many of the other girls in the same situation—want to avoid TPN for as long as possible.
Although TPN is complete nutrition, and it probably sounds like a great option to many of you reading, it comes with many risks. TPN requires you to have a central line or a long term IV that goes deep into a large vein and then straight to your heart. These can get infected easily and lead to sepsis, which if not caught in time can be life threatening.”
Rachel goes on to speak more about the risks and the hard decisions she had to make. You can read the rest of Rachel’s article at her blog by CLICKING HERE.
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