The Patient Awareness Liaison Program (PAL) is a referral program run through G-PACT that pairs volunteers with GP/CIP/CI sufferers who have questions about these illnesses. The PAL program offers support and answers questions for patients and family and offers a personalized and precise support for those who use the service. This service is available in the United States only.
PAL volunteers (bios and hours) are able to answer basic questions about various aspects of gastroparesis/intestinal pseudo-obstruction, tests, procedures, and treatment options. In addition, PAL Volunteers are able to provide information on support groups, motility doctors, requests for printed information on G-PACT, or just offer a listening ear. They may also refer callers to websites or other resources where more information may be obtained regarding particular questions. However, PAL volunteers cannot provide medical advice. Medical advice includes any information directly related to the caller’s situation (i.e. whether a treatment will work, medication doses he/she should take, etc.). They also cannot offer any crisis counseling, but will refer callers to the appropriate crisis hotline.
PAL volunteers are NOT counselors, they are simply available to assist people with gastroparesis/intestinal pseudo-obstruction by answering basic questions, offering a listening ear, referring them to appropriate resources to receive information we cannot provide, and providing a way to get answers about their questions quickly and efficiently.
All calls will remain confidential and will not be shared with ANYONE under any circumstances, except calls of a nature in which we are required by law to disclose the information to the appropriate crisis counselor.
All PAL Volunteers will read the following, and the caller must agree and understand the terms before the call can continue:
“I am here to answer questions and offer support. Please understand that I am not allowed to give out medical advice or answer questions asking for medical advice, I am not a medical professional. If you have an immediate concern and feel you need medical attention please go to the nearest emergency room or call your physician. Do you understand that I am not allowed to guide you in any medical decisions or offer medical advice?”
PALs can be reached at 1-888-874-7228, extensions 85 through 89.
PAL Bios and Hours
Our PALs are also ill. If your call is not answered, please leave a message and someone will return the call as soon as they are able.
Meet Carol Pasinkoff
Available, Eastern Time:
I have had severe idiopathic gastroparesis since March 2004. It has been a very long, arduous journey but I am so grateful for how far I have come. The beginning was so scary, especially when I would go to doctors and they couldn’t tell me why I was constantly throwing up for months. It was attributed to stress and I knew this was not true. There was something very wrong with me. As soon as I would take a few bites of food, I would fill up immediately. I would start belching, my abdomen would become rock hard and I became very nauseous. Eventually I threw up the little I had eaten. I lost 40 pounds very quickly and was becoming weaker and weaker and more frustrated. It was even suggested that it was “all in my head” and that I should see a psychiatrist! Finally I found a doctor who knew immediately what I had and he saved my life!
But it didn’t happen overnight. Many medications and treatment options were tried. I was being kept alive by TPN but my symptoms just wouldn’t go away. I became more and more isolated from life and became more and more depressed. But with my continued faith in God and the undying support of my husband and 3 children I remained strong. I fought many line infections and constant surgeries to have PICC lines and then Hickman Catheters put in. My doctor referred me to a top expert in gastroparesis at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA and he tried some other medications. Still, there was no improvement. I waited patiently and prayed hard and then finally my insurance company approved me for the gastric electric stimulator. I was so excited! Even though the doctors only gave me a 30% chance of it working for me, I remained positive. After about a year and many adjustments to the settings I finally stopped my constant vomiting! Unfortunately all my other symptoms remained. By this time my venous access was almost nil so it was suggested that I have a j-tube put in for enterral feedings and a g-tube for decompression. This was the best decision I could have made! I have gotten my life back! Although I still have many persistent symptoms, especially unrelenting nausea, I take numerous meds daily and on my good days I do almost everything except eat! Now I am strong and active and now I’m trying to give back. Feel free to call me for support. I have been there and have not forgotten all the emotions that you feel when you have gastroparesis.
Meet Cindy Tessmer
Available, Central Time:
I have severe gastroparesis, beginning with constant vomiting and nausea. I had many tests done before finally being diagnosed. I went through the gastric emptying studies, a pill cam, and finally did the Smart Pill which actually provided the diagnosis. I ended up in the hospital dehydrated many times, with pain that was uncontrollable.
In November of 2008, I had the gastric electric stimulator placed at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have had it moved several times due to problems with placement. It was moved four times and I now like where it has been placed. I have been through several adjustments over two years until I finally got the vomiting to the point where I rarely vomit. However, I still get symptoms of nausea, bloating, early satiety and pain. The pacer does not control the pain, but I have learned to live with it.
Since I received my pacer, my symptoms have improved. I still have bad days but I have many more good days than bad. Right now, I have been keeping my weight pretty stable. I eat maybe once or twice a day with snacks throughout the day. I have not had to have any tubes placed yet, about which I am excited. Venous access, if needed, is little to nothing but we are keeping a close watch on it. I do take medications for nausea such as Zofran and Anzemet.
Meet Jennifer Southall
Available, Pacific Time:
My daughter was born with CIP and gastroparesis. She just turns eight in May 2015, and is on several treatments. Diagnosis was not made for CIP until age 3. She has undergone almost every GI procedure and test and has been tube fed. She spent months in the hospital and has an array of other medical issues. She was diagnosed with sleep apnea, due to reflux, failure to thrive, global development delay, food allergies, sensory processing disorder, adenoids removed twice, tubes in her ears three times, and the list goes on and on.
She is currently in feeding therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Her development is also delayed, which doctors guess is from these medical problems.
She takes Octreotide injections twice daily, which have improved her symptoms. She also takes Prevacid, three laxatives, Erythomycin, Periactin, and some nutritional supplements. All other treatments have failed thus far. She still has days where she cannot keep food down and she can only eat certain foods, although it is much improved. Her weight is 31 pounds and she is 39 inches tall, which is the highest percentile she has ever been in either weight or height.
Please call me for any pediatric questions on CIP or gastroparesis!