In a nutshell....
In April of 2009, I developed an unexplainable gastrointestinal illness that took me from being a very active lover of food, participant in home, church, and community at 145 pounds down to a weakened 88 pounds. After several visits to several doctors, it was determined that my case was an unusual and unexplainable case.
Thankfully, in May of 2010, God opened a door for us and a new team of doctors came on board and introduced a new series of testing that discovered what exactly my illness was. The revealed condition is called Gastroparesis, an incurable disease which causes the stomach to become paralyzed and unable to process food. After failed trials with medications from around the world, a feeding tube was placed in my nose and went to my intestine to bypass the stomach. After about 2 months of tolerated feedings and some weight gain, they decided to place a jejunostomy feeding tube directly into my small intestine.
In September of 2010, I was seen by a surgeon specialist at University of Illinois at Chicago and I was able to receive a gastric pacemaker in order to electronically stimulate my stomach. For the first month after surgery, things were really improved. I was finally able to eat REAL food! I even had a Blizzard on my home from the hospital! Unfortunately, the honeymoon only lasted for about a month and the symptoms were coming back.
Months went by with just maintaining the feeding tube and trying my best to keep going. In June of 2011, a gastrostomy tube was placed in my stomach which allows me to vent the gastric juices and whatever does make it to my stomach. This was to placed to prevent me from feeling nauseated and having to vomit so often.
In the fall of 2011, the doctors placed a port into my chest wall that allows me to receive ‘TPN’ which is a bag of IV fluids made specifically for me to allow me to get the nutrients, fats and vitamins that my body needs. We had also found out that the Gastroparesis had moved from my stomach and was now also in my small intestine.
I am now at the point where I am unable to tolerate any ‘j-tube’ feeds and solid foods and have been totally dependent on the ‘TPN’. Now even a glass of water makes me sick.
There have been several ER visits, tests, chest tubes, blood infections, severe allergic reactions, and even close calls where I wondered if I was going to live through the day. But God has been faithful through every trial that I have been through and this trial is no different. God has given me strength, determination, and a great support group of church, family, friends, and even people that I’ve never met. I am a believer in miracles and I am trusting in God and his timing in my life.