Reflecting on Melissa GP Fight start

Today I was asked by another in the GP Community what GP groups did I find first (6 years ago), who did I become ‘friends’ with and how did I get started as Melissa’s GP Fight.¬† That’s a huge task since my memory of my “dark years” isn’t that vivid anymore, but thankfully via my blog I had a good majority of the info ūüôā¬† I’ll outline below all that I remember for those of you wondering the same!

First up …. many of you will know me as the Card Lady since I’m the one that designed the small cards that contain info on GP so you can hand them out.¬† Others know me for my Snail Shirt (pic above).¬† The majority of you have NEVER seem my face since it’s rare I posted my face (like the pic above), so when another Melissa came into the GP Advocate circle we often got confused….lol

Now onto the timeline:

  • Spring 2012 Diagnosed after 6 months of testing
  • Started looking for FB Groups and found: ¬†G-PACT, IFFGD and a handful of personal groups which I don‚Äôt recall the names of. ¬†
  • Fall 2012 I worked in the fundraising deptartment at G-PACT
  • Spring 2013 I started Melissagpfight.weebly.com to document my journey and provide resources and supporting FB Group and Pinterest page.
  • 2013 I connected with Emily Randolph Scherer via one of her groups.
  • Summer 2013 admined for Emily‚Äôs Stomach among others
  • Spring 2014 I started GPfight.com with a GP Awareness store.
  • 2014 I ‚Äėmeet‚Äô Melissa VanHouten via my online store.¬† She had just started to find her place with GP Advocacy.¬† I encouraged her to do it and said I was burning out, so we need all the help we can get as GPer’s.¬† From there she took off!
  • 2014 held a couple fundraisers with IFFGD
  • Fall 2014 I had to trademark a couple of my designs as they were being reprinted by others without my consent. ¬†¬†This was very costly!
  • I also worked with Colleen at low-FODMAP
  • I helped with a few blog posts for Emily Scherer and she continued to set up many different GP Groups to meet the special needs of everyone.
  • 2015 as an independent consultant for Jamberry I held fundraisers and helped other GPer‚Äôs start their own business with nail wraps for added income.¬† Including my dearly departed friend, Kerry.
  • 2015 – today Melissa V. and I get confused by others in the GP Community so we kindly pass along the messages we receive in error to the other. ¬†It‚Äôs nice to be ‚Äėconfused‚Äô with another great GP contributing member.¬† And I fully understand why as 99% of my pictures never had my face ūüėȬ†
  • Summer of 2016 I was finally feeling ‚Äėbetter‚Äô, able to work again and started hiking with my husband taking full advantage of Glacier NP in our backyard.¬†
  • 2016 I started to step back from GP groups and asked Melissa V to handle more of mine in my absence…such as the ‚ÄúHelping Others Find Great Doctors‚ÄĚ which was a list I built from GPer‚Äôs wanting to give credit to their great Dr. ¬†It was featured as a FB Group and on my blog.¬† She did great juggling her stuff and mine.
  • 2017 I received the Montana proclamation that I gave to Melissa VanHouten.
  • End of 2016 through 2017 I stepped back from all the negativeness in the GP groups, closed mine and started to sell off GPfight.com store items. ¬†Sadly, this was a great personal decision that I could spend ‚Äėhealthy‚Äô time with my family, be outside and do what I needed for ME.
  • March 2018 I decided to step back even further from my GP Life label by shutting down my websites: ¬†GPfight.com, GPfight.weebly.com and GPfight.bigcartel.com But my original (not updated or current) MelissaGPfight.wordpress.com is open for viewing (as you are reading this there….probably).¬† I’ll slowly get it updated!
  • Spring 2018 we sold off everything to move into a 5th-wheel full time to explore this great country.¬† We’re still trying to get ‘settled’ in this new lifestyle as well as finding jobs.

I’ll continue to help where I can with Gastroparesis Advocacy, fundraisers and any groups that want to collaborate.¬† ¬†However, my main focus is our AdventuresInRVLife.com¬†(coming soon) where my husband and I will be v-logging of our new lifestyle…full time RVer’s!¬† ¬†Our blog will feature living with GP on the road once we begin to travel full time.¬† I feel this will be a great way to spread more awareness about GP to other communities!!!

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2017 Recap of Melissa’s GP Fight


Continuing from 2016 where I began to get a good handle on my triggers (foods, allergies, etc) I continued to feeling better with my GP symptoms (nausea, pain, fatigue and less dizzy spells) and overall health.  Why NOW after having been very sick for about 5 years?  I believe it boils down to these two key features:  

Eating Healthier

  • We no longer eat packaged foods, canned goods or frozen dinners/pizzas
  • Only eat out once a month as a ‘treat’ to a restaurant we know cooks from scratch with home grown or local ingredients.
  • We now make our own hamburger and ground pork (no pink slime for this family)
  • Produce is either fresh or frozen
  • Taking time to can: apples, pears, tomatoes, etc
  • Making soup in large batches and freezing
  • Baking: rolls, breads, etc
  • Cooking our own pizza including making the dough
  • Growing fresh herbs, then drying them at the end of the season

All of this has allowed us to cut out:¬†High Fructose¬†Corn Syrup, excess Salt and unneeded Preservatives.¬†¬†Our change over 2016-current has enabled my husband to loose 50 lbs!¬† I gained my energy level back and felt less ‘sick’.

Exploring The Outdoors To De-Stress

2016 is when I really began to get into hiking!¬† Yes this city girl found the great outdoors to be a very peaceful and relaxing place to be in.¬† We went all over Glacier NP as well as surrounding areas, taking pictures, having a lunch and watching sunsets.¬† Being able to be in the ‘wilderness’ exploring has a strong hold on me to be able to just let go of a bad day.¬† Also studies have found that walking after a meal helps the stomach to process foods (true or not, I felt it really helped).

 

Here’s Some 2017 Highlights

 


Of course we are all different, how we acquired GP differs so what may work for me may not work for you.¬† I’m just here to tell my GP Fight story and in the process maybe you will walk away with an idea or just simply some inspiration that you are not alone.

HUGE CHANGES FOR 2018…Don’t miss out!

 

 

 

Why get your Vitamin D checked?

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc.   Read more HERE

Why get it checked?

Did you know that your digestive track will not absorb D well if you have GI issues (Crohn’s, Cystic Firbrosis, ¬†Celiac and I have it with Gastroparesis as well as many more GPer’s). ¬† Did you know it’s hard on kidneys to convert vita D? ¬†So if you are diabetic you may also want to have it checked. ¬† It’s said if you have a body index of over 30 it’s harder for your body to convert the vita D. ¬† ¬†Maybe you are allergic to milk products or have a diet lacking in D rich foods. ¬† All great reasons for this simple blood test the next time you are at the Drs ofice. ¬†More info HERE

Melissa’s Vita D struggle….

Around 2013 my vitamin levels were finally checked to help figure out more about my gastroparesis issues. ¬†However, only Calcium was checked and NOT Vitamin D! ¬†My Calcium came back low and I was told to just take over the counter (OTC) vita D. ¬†I tried a pill form and it burned my stomach, so I tried a liquid form which went okay. ¬†However at $8 for a couple week supply while I wasn’t working, I didn’t take it too often. ¬†Plus I found it to give me migraine headaches. ¬†Click HERE for that blog.

Dec 2015 was the next time I was able to get to a Dr who could do all the testing I needed to see what was going on. ¬† When I was done in the lab – 12 tubes later – I thought they had drained it all out of me! ¬†Thankfully, she checked my Vita D level and not just Calcium. ¬† I was very very low. ¬†Which explained my: ¬†tired feeling, leg pains, shortness of breath for no reason (asthma inhaler didn’t help), headaches, mood issues and an overall not wanting to do anything or get out of bed. ¬† All of these are symptoms to low vitamin D. ¬†At this point I was around 15 (range is 30 – 100).

I was prescribed 50,000UNI (an amount given to patients with rickets) to take 1 pill per week until the levels come up. ¬†She thought it would take about 3 – 6 months at the most. ¬†It’s best to take the pill with a HIGH FAT MEAL, but as you know people with gastroparesis have to have low fat and fiber meal. ¬†So I did the best I could.

By April 2017…. 1 year, 4 months and 19 days later…. ¬†I was at 37.1 ¬†(30-100 range). ¬†It took that long to raise my levels up 21 points. ¬†Which was an average of 1.3 points per month at a total of 200,000 UNI (per mo).

To my shock the Dr told me to just use OTC Vita D now that I’m in the normal range (yeah all of 7 points into the range now). ¬† I told her I wasn’t comfortable stopping, now that I am finally feeling good and the fact it took me almost a year and a half to get back to this point. ¬†She thought I’d be fine and we’d recheck the numbers next year.

It’s now Aug 2017 ….4 months later…. and I noticed the following:

  • Headaches
  • Leg pains constantly
  • Shortness of breath going up steps
  • Overheating (causing nausea and dizzy spells) when not doing much
  • Can’t seem to get enough rest
  • No desire to do anything

Of course I called the Dr to ask for a Vita D lab test and listed off the above issues I’m having, since I didn’t want to wait until my next annual exam. ¬† Thankfully she was on top of it and called it in, I went on a Fri and results were back to me on Monday!

In the 4 months with little vita D (foods when I can and a OTC vitamin) I am not sitting at 21 (30 Р100 range).  This is a LOSS of 16 points (37-21) in 4 MONTHS!   Almost 4 points a month!!   Remember I was only gaining about 1 point per month at that 50,000 dose.

Now I’m back on the 50,000 UNI once a week, as I wanted to continue doing all along. ¬†I had enough pills to do so, but feared it I continued (until the script ran out) we would not have the proper data for her to see that my body does not do well off of the pills.

For now I just get to suffer 6-12 months from the symptoms until I can get my levels back up. ¬†When I get to the ‘normal’ range, I will not allow her to stop the meds. ¬† These symptoms are awful on so many levels: mind, body and family.

Thank goodness I know my body well enough to call when something isn’t right and ask for the proper plan to get it checked. ¬† So if any of you reading this have similar symptoms (below in the blog) I urge you to do the simple blood test Vitamin D 25-OH.

PILLS:  Some have been asking on Facebook and YES this is a prescription of 50,000 UNI Vitamin D GEL caps.   I still can not tolerate any other form.

 

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms:

  • Excess Sweating – while mildly active or for ‘unknown’ reasons.
  • Unexpected Weakness
  • Exhausted – even with proper sleep
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ache or Pain in your bones
  • Fibromyalga
  • Mood – sad, depressed or just feeling blah

 

Why wait? ¬†Go get your Vita D levels checked the next time you are at your Dr! ¬†It’s amazing how much better I feel when my numbers are where they are supposed to be. ¬† Follow my new blog at GPfight.com

pills

Can The Norovirus Cause A GP Reset?

December 2016 is here and Melissa is feeling something odd happening with her stomach. ¬†It doesn’t feel like the ‘normal’ GP flare, so could it be a cold or flu coming on? ¬†She had been in stores, around lots of sick people who where coughing up lungs. ¬†So maybe!

The days went on with the continued high nausea until one night where she was unable to leave the restroom.  The next morning, afternoon and night were the same.  By now she KNEW this was NOT her gastroparesis so it had to be a bug of some kind.

Before she had time to research the news came on with a school closer in town and the hospital not allowing visitors because of a very bad case of the Norovirus going round. ¬† What is it? ¬†Click HERE to read all about it keeping in mind Melissa ended up with almost everything it said….for TWO WEEKS! ¬†Yes she missed out on Christmas as she was so very sick and dehydrated at that point.

The virus seemed to last a good 4 weeks in total.  Then out of nowhere Melissa was able to eat almost everything!   What an amazing sense of freedom to be able to not think about how much fat or fiber is in what you have in your hand nor if you stomach can digest it or will reject it.

Taking this opportunity she wanted to give her system yogurt to introduce the good bacteria after the long lasting deep cleanse she just had for a few weeks non-stop. ¬†Now this is something that would normally ¬†make her very nauseated to eat, so monitoring symptoms she was very surprised to notice nothing happened after she ate it – nor the next day! ¬†Is this a miracle?! ¬† One way to find out….eat it again the next day and also eat other ‘bad’ foods she was never able to tolerate (such as a stake). ¬† YES, it was all being processed without much issue! ¬†Hallelujah

As with all good things, about 10 days of this blissful freedom came to a halt when one nigh the yogurt made her sick. ¬† ¬†Now she’d have to go back to what she became use to over the last 6 years of no-no foods to avoid and get herself back on track.

Fast forward 6 months and Melissa is still able to eat most fresh fruit and vegetables without much issue (nausea, pain, bloating), even some nuts.  However that lovely steak remains an issue.

She still has her flare each month during hormonal changes for 3-4 days of pure nausea. Still has foods that she has to stay away from and recently discovered that Gluten has been an issue all along for her headaches, fatigue and inflammation. ¬† But to be able to tolerate once again a green salad for dinner or a piece of fruit from the tree is a BIG DEAL for her and anyone with gastroparesis who’s stomach’s can’t process the high fiber (if they are even able to eat solid foods).

So was the Norovirus a bless? ¬†I’m not sure we will ever know the true answer to that, but in the meantime Melissa’s liven’ it up with the no-no foods!

 

GP Awareness SNAIL Shirt is BACK

Back for a limited time are the snail SHIRTS and TOTES in our GP Fight Store!!!!

Jan 1st – 13th ONLY.

I’ll place our bulk order on the 14th which allows me to keep the costs low for all of us!

Find out more HERE

winter-sale-gp-fight-store-tote-shirt

We are 3 years old today!

Thank you

MelissaGPfight.weebly.com was a side thought one day when I was answering so many question in Facebook Groups to help those with Gastroparesis. ¬†Many of which had the same questions, over and over again. ¬† So a light bulb came on in my head asking me why didn’t I have a better way to get the answers to their questions to them ~ saving me time from typing the same thing over and over again. ¬† Duhhh…. it was time to blog!

Little did I know that 3 years later I would still be putting the info I deeply researched for quality advice and guidance to use.   But with a new and improved website GPfight.com AND a store with GP Awareness items!!!

HERE is a link to my very first blog post.

Thank you all who have supported me over the years and I really do hope that I’ve helped a few people along the way.

HR 2311 Bill …. For Gastroparesis Awareness, Research and Education

Our bill, now known as HR 2311 (former HR 842), has been reintroduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin.

It is titled “Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2015,” and has been introduced/referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

This bill would expand research and promote awareness of functional/motility GI disorders such as gastroparesis. It is designed to help promote education of physicians and the general public, increase efforts to find new and effective treatments, expand clinical research, and create new medical centers designed to study these disorders and share information with others.

I urge you to read the text of the bill and contact your representatives.  Ask them to sign on as cosponsors and support this bill!  I cannot express the importance of this bill.

You can find additional information and read the text of the bill at either: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2311 or https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr2311

Who is your representative?   Click HERE

gp awareness month ours 2

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