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4 Words You Should Know When You're Diagnosed With Gastroparesis

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First, gastroparesis is a rare stomach disease where the stomach takes too long to empty. The stomach muscles in someone with gastroparesis are paralyzed, causing the food in the stomach to sit and produce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Around five million people in the United States have been diagnosed with gastroparesis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for gastroparesis and not many medical treatments options for symptom relief.

There are four words that I advise every gastroparesis patient to glue in their minds:

Don’t. Ever. Give. Up.

I understand times can be really hard. It sucks not to have answers to how this happened to you and how this disease completely changes the way you live your life.

Gastroparesis makes you deal with the daily struggles most people would never even think of. There’s the struggle of getting up out of bed when your body feels like a semi truck ran over it. Then the struggle of feeling like your going to puke your guts out every time you eat. Next you have to deal with your friends and family. These people are your rock, but it’s hard to constantly cancel plans on them or decide whether or not your stomach can really handle fun nights out. Even simple things like going to the grocery store, attending class, or even having a social life can be a huge struggle for you.

Most people don’t fully understand what you go through. They don’t understand this disease will never go away. They don’t understand how bad you really want to eat food, but that you can’t because of how sick it makes you feel. Your bad days are likely filled with tears and frustration, but that being said, you can’t let gastroparesis, or any chronic illness for that matter, keep you pulled down.

You stand up strong and you beat the hell out of this disease!

Smile. Laugh. Be happy.

Those three actions can get you past any challenge you face in life.

You are stronger than what most people will ever be. You know how to handle stress. You know how to deal with your emotions. You know how to battle challenges. Most importantly, you know life is about the precious moments that most people take for granted. Life is all about the little things. No matter how inconvenient gastroparesis is to your life, just remember… don’t ever give up! Challenges are what make life interesting, but overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

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Originally published: September 6, 2017
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