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15 People Reveal How Digestive Tract Paralysis Changed Them in a Positive Way

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Gastroparesis Awareness Month is almost over, but it’s not over yet.

You still have time to drop some wisdom on your loved ones or get the attention of thousands by doing the Gastroparesis Pie Face Challenge.

What we here at G-PACT did was, with some help from our friends at The Mighty, we asked you all a really tough question:

How has digestive tract paralysis changed you in a positive way?

Here’s what you said:

1. “I would not have traded a moment of the nights sleeping with my daughter to ensure her care or her stays with her in the hospital. We have become a closer family.” — Kim M.

2. “I learned to care for myself. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. I listen to my body now when it’s screaming that I need rest or to take greater steps to stay healthy.” —Pamela H.

3. “I was forced to learn to slow down, breathe, take things into perspective and do whatever I could to stay calm under pressure. Take baths, try to find the humor, go for a small jog, try to look at the stressor from the perspective of someone else.” — Kallie S.

4. “It gave me hope that I might feel better one day, now that I finally have a diagnosis…” — Chantal M.

5. “I learned how to fight for my health and for my best self, despite discomfort and challenges, in a way I never dreamed that I had in me, and despite my ongoing struggle with medical issues, today my eating disorder is a thing of the past, and I truly practice self-care every day.” — Rachel N.

gpact image climbing over wall

6. “I have way more empathy for people suffering now. I think twice now and care when people tell me they are sick or in pain.” — Courtney V.

7. “It has made me proud of myself and accomplishments. Not in a boastful way, but in a way that reminds me I am beautiful, strong, and capable.” — Elizabeth N.

8. “Learning that times with family and friends don’t need to be about food. Conversation is the heart of these times. I don’t need to eat to be social.” — Elizabeth W.

9. “I became an author and had two books published because gastroparesis forced me to have to quit working at 25 and pushed me to send in my books. I also found out how much my family and husband truly love me. I am blessed despite gastroparesis and all it has taken from me.” — Kristen G.

10. “Our whole family is eating healthier.” — Jennifer F.

11. “It’s made me more vocal about what I need and it’s shown me who is really there for me.” — Stephanie D.

12. “I never take my good days for granted. In the two years since sepsis threatened to take me down, I have gone skydiving, whale watching, learned to snowboard, rode an elephant through a jungle in Thailand, piloted a helicopter, went on an 8,300-mile road trip by myself, took ice skating lessons, have spent countless days hiking, kayaking, camping, jet skiing, etc. Before I always wanted to do these things but kept putting them off. Now I live very much in the present.” — Erika H.

13. “I’ve learned that I’m stronger and more resilient than I thought I was. I take pride in that.” — Sarah-Jayne E.

14. “I’ve learned how to be an even better caregiver from all of my experience as a patient.” — Rachel B.

15. “It’s changed my life in good and bad ways. In bad ways, I don’t get to go to every place we eat anymore, and I can’t go out with my friends every Sunday evening. In good ways, I’ve learned that I am a strong person, and I’ve learned not to judge everyone with an invisible illness.” — Nicole K.

Thank you all for your feedback. We know that it isn’t always easy to find something positive about being sick, but that you have nonetheless, is inspiring.

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

Originally published: August 29, 2017
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