What People Should Know About Gastroparesis Before Commenting on My Weight
Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.
Contrary to popular belief, sometimes losing weight is not a good thing. Sometimes it’s the opposite of your goal and every time you step on the scale and you weigh less, or your leggings sag in the butt it’s actually quiet devastating.
Before gastroparesis, I was very fit and athletically strong. I actually didn’t realize at the time how good of a condition my body was in, until it started to fail me. I was going to school, working, held up a social life all while still going to the gym, lifting pretty heavy. That all exhausted me, but it was a very wild and free part of my life so I didn’t care.
Fast forward to gastroparesis and my body was the opposite. I could not work, could not go to school, could not work out, and had no social life. When I was undiagnosed, throwing up all day long multiple times a day, keeping absolutely nothing down, my weight dropped to a very scary place. My family and fiancé were absolutely terrified. I didn’t really fully see it until I was TPN and gained weight back. At one point I was actually starving to death. No, I’m not saying that out of extreme hunger — I mean it. I was admitted for low labs and started TPN which saved my life.
Since losing all the weight and gaining it back, it has been a little weird because I’ve seen my body in so many conditions. I’ve seen it at its peak, and at its weakest and malnourished. I lost all my confidence because I felt like I lost all my curves. My body got so weak I could not stand for a full shower, going grocery shopping and walking around a store was a struggle, I was so fatigued. I even passed out due to lack of nutrition.
So you would think after giving nurses and doctors all your extensive history they’d have compassion and empathy, but some of the most ignorant comments have come from them.
“I wish I could get sick just to only lose weight!” No, you don’t. I promise puking every day is not glamorous.
“Well, at least you get to be skinny!” Actually my body was stronger, and more me before.
“You weigh less than you guessed, and less is always better!” Did you not hear me say I was malnourished before and have been struggling with maintaining weight lately? Did I not say my nutrition needs to get better? And did you not hear me say “aww man” with a bummed look after I saw I lost weight?
We live in a world that is fueled by the idea that being skinny means being happy, but that’s not the case. Things didn’t go quite as I hoped when I got off TPN. And people seem to be under the impression that because I am no longer on TPN I am better, which as much as I wish that was true… it’s not. I was so much more fit on TPN. An abdominal hernia/surgery, an extremely bad flareup in my shoulder I’ve had a couple surgeries on so I need physical therapy, and lately struggling with maintaining weight because of gastroparesis has really messed me up.
I know this is just going to be a lifelong struggle I will face (unless a cure comes out!). But I’m not down for the count, I will get back to where I want to be!
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Thinkstock photo by finwal