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'Big Brother’ Contestant Raven Walton Documents Her Experience Getting a Gastric Pacemaker

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Raven Walton, the “Big Brother 19” contestant who has gastroparesis and famously showed off her gastric pacemaker on the show, has undergone surgery to replace the pacemaker.

Walton posted on Instagram on Monday that she would be having pacemaker replacement surgery the following day. Gastroparesis is a chronic condition in which the stomach doesn’t empty food normally (gastroparesis literally means “paralyzed stomach”). A gastric pacemaker, also known as a neurostimulator, is a small, battery-powered device implanted underneath the patient’s skin below the ribcage. Two lead wires connect electrodes to the stomach wall. These provide a mild electrical pulse, which can help reduce nausea and vomiting in some patients.

“I average a pacer surgery every two years but I’m okay with that because I’m so thankful it still works well for me right now. Hopefully, it will just be a pacemaker replacement and the leads are still good,” Walton wrote. “If my leads are messing up then it will be a bigger surgery. I’m on my third set of leads. I’ve had bad luck with them.”

According to California Pacific Medical Center, most pacemakers last five to 10 years before they need to be replaced.

On the day of her surgery, Walton posted a photo with her nurses and revealed she had named her new pacemaker Theodore.

She posted an update after the surgery and said everything had gone well.

“Thank you everyone in the medical field for what you do. I can’t express my gratitude enough to you all,” she wrote.

My surgery went great today! I’ll be down for a couple weeks but then my Arkansassy ass will bounce back quick! I’m ready to workout and start building those muscles back! ???? I wanted to thank everyone for the sweet messages I’ve been receiving. You guys are awesome and I️ can’t thank you enough for all the support! @mattclines @vanessas17 @christian_earl @thatchickbay_ and my wonderful mother… Thanks for dealing with my post surgery self! Lol! ???? Also I wanted to take the time in my post to thank my nurses and doctors today at the Jewish Hospital in Louisville KY. They were absolutely wonderful and very professional. Thank you everyone in the medical field for what you do ???? I cant express my gratitude enough to you all.

A post shared by Raven Walton (@walton_raven) on

Yesterday, she shared a photo of her scar and said she was feeling “rough” but encouraged others to be proud of their scars like she is.

“Every scar tells a story,” she said. “So love them and show them off with pride!”

Throughout her time on “Big Brother” (she finished in sixth place), Walton was accused of making up or exaggerating the severity of her medical issues and giving contradicting stories about her health. Viewers created the hashtag #RavenExposedParty to discuss their skepticism, prompting Walton’s mom, Stacy, to share a video response defending her daughter.

“For the naysayers who want to rip us apart, I’ll pray for you. Because you don’t walk in my shoes and you don’t know our medical history and everything we’ve battled,” Stacy said.

Since leaving the house, she has resumed her life as a dancer in Arkansas and is dating fellow “Big Brother” contestant Matt Clines. Walton has also defended herself and the claims she made about her health.

““I’m a storyteller! Everything I told in the house was true. Everything I’ve gone through, everything my mom went through, all the crazy stories I experienced, yeah! I just wanted to share how kooky I was,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.

Originally published: December 1, 2017
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