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5 Things I Am Tired Of Hearing About My Gastroparesis

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I have had a recent setback with gastroparesis and am back to puking again everyday. So, I’ve decided to write a story of things loved ones, doctors and friends say to me that I cannot stand.  

1. “Are you anxious? Is that why you puke?”

woman sitting with legs crossed in front of the toilet
Samantha in front of the toilet

No, it is not why I puke. I puke because I have a disease that makes me puke. I know for a fact I’m not anxious 24/7 and vomiting because of this. Yes, I have an anxiety disorder, but no, my gastroparesis and anxiety are not related. A doctor actually once told me this was the reasoning behind my puking and I was livid.

2. “Are you bulimic? Are you sure?”

This is the most inappropriate question on this earth to ask someone with gastroparesis and sadly, it was asked by a doctor. Bulimia is an eating disorder — not one to be taken lightly, either. But it is not related to gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is when you have a stomach that doesn’t function. I throw up after every meal but my digestive system makes me do it. People should never assume the reasoning behind what my body does; I can’t control it. It’s the honest truth!

3. “Well, it makes sense you’re vomiting because you ate unhealthy food.”

No, it doesn’t make sense! I assure you: whether I eat a carrot, a smoothie, a piece of candy, or sometimes even just water, I will throw it up! I can’t change it, I can’t control it — it just happens.

4. “You’re on medication… shouldn’t you be better by now?”

No, I am not better by now. My medication worked for a while but it makes me super tired and is no longer working. I am back where to where I started.

5. “Why do you need to wait a certain amount of time before you eat?”

I need to wait a certain amount of time because if I don’t wait at least 30 minutes, my medication, Reglan, doesn’t process in time. I will get sick after I eat — even sicker than Reglan makes me. Is it annoying when my friends can just go eat whenever and I have to strategically plan when I eat? Or when my boyfriend surprises me with a sweet treat and I have to wait to eat it and come off unintentionally ungrateful? Or when my parents say dinner will be ready soon and I have to ask how soon so I take my Reglan in time and they can’t give me a time? Yes, it’s very annoying — but I have no choice.

If you know anyone who has this disease, please keep in mind we are not in control of our bodies; our bodies control us. Whether we’re perfectly fine one day or leaning over the toilet for hours on end the next, it’s not our fault! Please stop trying to make us think it is.

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Originally published: October 14, 2016
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