In 2005, after I  had just recovered from yet another large ulcer, I was still feeling unwell and was severely nauseated. It was the first time I had it since when I was pregnant forty years ago. The nausea put me down like a rock. Days would go by and I wouldn’t be able to have a  bowel movement. The food would just sit in my stomach and it felt as though it was fermenting in my body. The longer this went on, the sicker I got. Most of the time I was on my bedroom floor, crouched over a bucket, vomiting. My GI doctor did some more testing and diagnosed me with gastroparesis (paralyzed stomach/slow emptying) in my stomach and small intestines.

In 2009, when the surgeon was explaining that he could cure my gastroparesis by taking off more than half my stomach in a procedure called a partial gastrectomy, vagotomy, I was so shocked at the amount of stomach that he wanted to remove that I was trying to be calm and understand his theory of curing gastroparesis, which excited me. But I wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t thinking that I had gastroparesis in my small intestines as well and I didn’t think to ask what that fact might do to the outcome of the surgery.  I’m not even sure that he knows, after all, it is a theory, that he reassured me was thus far successful. I wish I could tell him what his failures are like.

At first it seemed fine, but eventually the nausea came back. From before the surgery, I had a prescription for the same anti nausea pills that they give to cancer patients. Somes days it barely touches the nausea and I don’t have enough of a stomach to contract, it is hard to vomit. Sometimes, it comes in small amounts at a time. I still have my bucket, my cold compress for the back of my neck, ginger candies from the health food store or ginger ale, licorice sticks to suck on and mint tea. I just recently found someone that makes lavender and eucalyptus lotion that when you apply it to your large muscles, it melts away the feeling of heaviness and the aroma of the lotions eases the nausea quite a bit. The rooms just spins and spins. These are all signs that the emptying syndrome is near, not to mention the intestinal area or what you might think of as your stomach, is so swollen that it looks like you are nine months pregnant.

That is where I am right now…within running distance of my restroom and all my accessories. I have the cleansing spray, the baby wipes, the healing lotion and the room spray that I sometimes carry around with me. Oh, the joys of deflating stomach. My clothes fit so much better then and people don’t look at me like I am another senior that is pregnant. They may even think they saw me on the magazine next to the cash register. I just shake my head and crazy scenarios go through my mind. I have to keep myself amused to keep strong. I’ll write again soon, take care of yourselves and your tummies.

Elaine