Gastroparesis. I’d be amazed if you actually knew what the condition is, after all, it’s never spoken about. We know the main ‘important’ conditions and diseases. Cancer. Alzheimer’s. Arthritis. Depression… but what is Gastroparesis?
This is an incurable and chronic condition, meaning ongoing… won’t ever fully get better or go away - heck, could even progress and become worse. But manageable. It won’t kill you, specifically. It’s one of those conditions where a doctor will check on you every now and then to make sure you’re plodding along… but will never fess up to the fact that 1) they don’t know what they’re doing and 2) they currently can’t help you. I say currently because, once upon a time, Cancer was a death sentence. HIV was a ticking time bomb, and malaria was an indefinite grave. So despite Gastroparesis being chronic and incurable, it only remains so ‘currently’.
I developed Gastroparesis aged 17, after a tumultuous time with an eating disorder. Id’ essentially battered my gastric system to such an extent that my muscles one day, albeit gradually, decided to shut up shop and go on a permanent vacation. Digestion is something we take for granted - the automatic ability for the body to grind our food that nourishes our cells, feeds our mind, revitalises our senses… gone. I struggle every day to keep food and drink down. My diet is dominantly liquid. I’ve had hospital admissions, near death experiences and my weight has plummeted to as low as 24kg… which, I can tell you. Is not an enjoyable experience. You’re body is shutting down. You can’t walk up the stairs. You’re weak from breathing. Gastroparesis can lead to this, without the proper knowledge and understanding, because you're at a loss as to how to get your body to do one simple task: digest food.
Gastroparesis is widely misunderstood and often misdiagnosed because of the strong overlap in symptoms that correlate with anorexia/bulimia, Crohn’s and IBS. Wrap it all into one, and fall into the care of the wrong doctor, and you’re essentially screwed. Which is why, as someone who has come out of the other side, with plentiful trauma attached, want to shed light on the condition, educate, and motivate sufferers and those suffering alongside the condition to grip the reigns on this illness, and - despite being in a boat that isn’t quite sailing but isn’t quite sinking - can learn new coping mechanisms and tactics to life as normal and meaningful a life as possible.
These infographics don’t cover everything, and there’s more to come on the topic. But for now, please see below and share across all social media platforms, the importance of gastroparesis awareness by educating yourself on the basics.
Love always and forever,