The Ins and Outs of My Gastroparesis Diagnosis
So here it is:
You have had test after test done, you’re finally diagnosed, and now what? Here’s the truth.
You learn to be your own advocate quickly. I have learned the hard way that your doctor’s small information packet on this disease is not enough. Nowhere in that little packet did it ever say what day-to-day life would be like, what certain foods would really do to you, and it did not tell you how bad a flare-up would be.
No worries, I’m here to share my ins and outs of this because no one should go through this scared and alone.
First off, the diet might suck, but I have found sticking to the diet my doctor shared with me along with going gluten-free has made a huge difference! Yes, I know I just said those two scary terms: “diet” and “gluten-free.” I promise it’s not as bad as it seems.
Second, inform your friends and family. I know no one wants to share the news of having a disease. When I did, lots of tears were shed followed by a million questions, but there is hope! My friends and family have rallied behind me, coming with me to appointments, making it easy for me to go out to eat, and just being a good support team. You will learn quickly that you really do need a support team. Maybe you’re thinking right now, “I don’t have a supportive family, or I don’t really have anyone.” Then learn to trust in one good friend, and trust yourself. More than anything else you must learn to accept the fact that yes, you’re sick, but you’re living with it daily and doing OK.
Third, learn your own body. I have studied and read so much information on GP that it’s scary, but the most important thing I have learned so far is that no one is alike. Each person with this disease reacts differently to it. We all have what I like to call “trigger” foods — you know the ones that send you right to the bathroom 30 minutes after eating.
Lastly, learn to love yourself. I have found that to be the hardest thing to do. Once you get diagnosed you may immediately feel inadequate and all alone (at least I did). It was nerve-wracking, scary and a whole new world I knew nothing about. I have had to re-learn to love myself and be OK with telling a date I have a specific diet or that I can’t go out because I’m sick. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, but it’s my life now and I must learn to accept it. I have also found God, my savior, to be an awesome tool in all of this. As a Christian, I have found my faith to really hold me together. Even if you’re not religious, find your faith. Whether that’s in your religion or whatever else, you’re going to need something to really lean on, especially when the bad days come.
If there is one thing I want you to take away from this post is that you’re not alone, you’re loved, and you will make it. No matter what stage you’re at right now in this messy thing we call life, you can do this, and if no one has said it lately, I’m proud of you.
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Photo by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash