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You Know You Have Gastroparesis When...

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Editor’s note: The following is based on personal experience and is not meant to be diagnostic criteria. For questions or concerns regarding health or diagnoses, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

Imagine a stomach flu that never ends. That is the reality of gastroparesis. Gastroparesis translates to a paralyzed stomach. In other words, gastric emptying is sluggish and digests food at a slower rate than what is normal. In severe cases, the stomach does not digest at all. Eating becomes a struggle, sometimes requiring interventions like feeding tubes.


With the mention of such a condition, most would think that those with gastroparesis have lives as rotten as the food in their dysfunctional stomachs. That is far from the truth.

I have gastroparesis, but I also have love and happiness in my life. Still, there are certain aspects about living with gastroparesis that only fellow warriors can understand.

In honor of Gastroparesis Awareness Month, you know you have gastroparesis when…

– There are at least 10 types of nausea.

– You have mastered the skill of feeling hungry while simultaneously wanting to puke your guts up.

– Your GI doctor is practically family.

– Strangers ask, “When are you due?”

– Grocery shopping is your least favorite pastime.

– Your shopping cart consists of crackers and baby food… You do not have a baby.

– You have had morning sickness for the last nine months and counting.

– You wish you had a deflate button.

– Weakness and blackouts are just par for the course.

– Feeding tubes and central lines can be lifesaving.

– You have had the dreaded “nose hose” more times than you can count.

– The thought of Ensure makes you shudder.

– Glucerna, Orgain and Carnation Instant Breakfast are not much better.

– You give your medications pet names.

– Bless good ol’ Phenny.

– And ODT Zofran.

woman lying in bed with tubes in her nose and chest

– There is always that one annoying person at social gatherings begging you to eat.

– The lie, “I ate before I came,” has saved you from many lengthy explanations.

– All of the flavored gum and candy in the world cannot replace real food.

– You hold back tears when noticing the low number on the scale.

– Waitresses nod their heads disapprovingly, questioning whether or not you want crayons after requesting a kid’s menu at a restaurant.

– You met your bestie on an online GP support forum.

– Leggings make up the majority of your wardrobe.

– You plan your “escape routes” in case you need to throw up in public.

– Reglan side effects are terrifying.

– You curse the medical professionals who do not understand that patients sometimes gain weight when the body is in starvation mode.

– Nighttime Prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep / I pray the Lord my feeding pump doesn’t beep / If I should die before I wake / I pray I dream about eating that chocolate cake.

– True friends keep a stash of your safe foods at their house.

– Others are envious of your slim figure.

– You are jealous they are not starving to death.

– Your feeding tube leaked on the guy you had only been dating for three months. (Yes, that really happened… Ha!)

– Liquid diets are not a cure.

– Your 90-year-old great-grandma takes less pills than you do.

– You have been told by others that they wish they had your illness so they could lose weight.

– Tired. You are so tired.

– Bowel movements and bodily fluids are a common topic of conversation in your household.

– Leaving the house entails packing an artillery.

– A good day is when you are able ignore the discomfort in your abdomen for a few moments.

– Although you are accustomed to extreme pain, you realize the value of life.

– Living with gastroparesis is challenging, but it has strengthened your character.

– The illness has taught you to always be empathetic and kind, as you never know what invisible battle another might be fighting.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Originally published: August 11, 2017
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