Archive for July, 2013

Note To My Readers

The rest of this July 27, 2013 week I will be finishing up packing and the following week (exact move date unknown) my family will be moving out of state.  The final destination will take us 2 days to reach, so I will not be on-line.   Once we arrive to our destination, it is unknown when I will have internet service.  

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At this time my husband will be driving the rental truck with a car in tow and I will drive our other personal vehicle (with or without pulling another vehicle).   My main concern is trying to stay hydrated in the hot summer weather and my nutrition levels up.  Once we get to the destination, we have limited time to unload and return the equipment.  I can only pray my body holds out! 

But I will certainly fill you in on my adventures and pass along any tips with trying to move while you have GP.  Where we are now is on the 3rd floor of an apartment building.  Moving to this location from our house we sold, was no easy task.  I hope I have learned a little from that experience to make the move out better.

Cheers to a new chapter of my life and a great experience for me to blog about later!

3,000 Views … Thank you!

3,000 Views ... Thank you!

In less than 3 full months there have been over 3,000 viewers reaching 30 countries. I want to tell you all THANK YOU for your continued support.

I have received many messages from you and am happy to hear that you like what you read and have walked away with some tips.

It’s so nice to see that some of you share the blog to help others as well. Without your continued support, this blog would not be where it is today.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

Bloating and Distention Non-Prescription Remedies

What Is Bloating?

When your stomach (and/or intestines) becomes filled with gas and is not expelled, you will experience distention.  What is “Distention”?  Per MedicineNet.Com it means “The state of being distended, enlarged, swollen from internal pressure”.   For me, I can easily expand 4 pant sizes due to bloating after something I ate or drank that my gastroparesis tummy did not like.

What Causes Bloating/Distention?

  • Swallowing Air
  • Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Celiac Diseas
  • Dumping Syndrome
  • Food Allergy (such as milk or gluten products)
  • Bacteria over growth (stomach or intestines)
  • Acid Reflux (GERD)
  • Medications: some diabetic medications, narcotics and diarrhea medications.
  • Aspirin
  • Supplements: Multivitamins, calcium supplements and iron pills.
  • Hormone changes
  • Dehydration
  • Being bed ridden
  • Carbohydrates (that do not properly digest)

What Foods/Drinks Should I Avoid?

  • Fructose
  • Carbonated beverages – to minimize the air going into your stomach
  • Excess Salty Foods
  • Chocolate
  • Sugarless drinks/food (Sorbitol)
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Radish
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Raisins
  • Wheat Bread

Non-Prescription Remedies:

  • Chamomile and Peppermint Tea
  • Cinnamon infused water (boiled and cooled) add Honey and drink
  • Lemon Juice after a meal (do not try this if you have GERD)
  • Turmeric – breaks down proteins
  • Fennel Seed or Tea
  • Clove or Eucalyptus Oil (Tea)
  • Cardamom and Ginger – work by stabilizing stomach acids
  • Carom Seeds – fights stomach bacteria
  • Chew Basil or Mint leaf after a meal
  • Take a walk
  • Take a bath with: lavender, rosemary, thyme and tree oil
  • Yoga
  • Charcoal pills
  • Heat pad on your stomach

My bloating experience:

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FODMAP Friendly Foods to Relieve Gas — from our friends at FODMAP Life:

6 FODMAP Friendly Foods to Relieve Gas.

 

GP Community Recommends The Following:

I have not tried any of these products and do not receive any personal gain from placing them on my blog.   They are simply listed as suggestions for YOU to look into to help your bloating and distention issues.  As always, read the manufacture label for any allergies you may have and seek doctor or pharmacist consultation to verify any product will effect your current medications.

  • Papaya Enzymens – I recommend you read an article on LiveStrong.Com, “Papaya Enzyme Dosage” (Jul 5, 2011 | By Karyn Maier) for more information.  Click HERE.   They advise that papaya can lead to miscarriages as well as effecting blood sugar levels.   Also “How to Use Papaya Enzymes for Gas” (Feb 12, 2011 | By Maura Banar) Click HERE.  This suggests to contact your doctor first, since Papaya Enzymes can interfere with some medications and lists a few possible side effects.
  • Iberogast — mix of 9 herbs.  Click HERE for more information by Wikipedia (search ‘Iberogast).   Following is a link to Iberogast’s web-site:  http://www.iberogast.ca/about-iberogast/
  • Physiologics Zygest – “contains multiple enzymes designed to serve as biological catalysts for the breakdown of macronutrients” per the Physiologics web-site.   Click HERE for more information.

 

Links:

GES 4Hr Test Results Are In …. (personal story)

In the mail was a letter from my GI Dr (yesterday 7-20-2013) with the results from the 4hr GES she had me do.  I think I have calmed down enough to post this today.  All she wrote was:

Dear Melissa:

Your gastric emptying scan was normal.

If you have any qusetions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call.

Sincerely,

xxx

This told me nothing!  I do not know what my ‘normal’ times were or anything!!  On Monday, I will order my records from her office and the lab that did the work.  

The other issue I have is now she will not diagnose me with Gastroparesis.  As a reminder, I was diagnosed with GP after the 2 hour GES (gastric emptying scan) from a different GI Dr.  Whom I fired, as I didn’t like her.   Now the new GI Dr (whom I liked a lot) will not help me any further.   She felt as if my problems were neurological and not necessary gastroparesis.  For her to confirm GP, she wanted results from the 4hr GES. 

I know something is wrong with me and feel strongly still that I have GP.   It could have been a ‘good day’ for me when I had the test run.  In addition, what they gave me is of course low-fat and low-fiber, so it too may go quicker in my tummy than what I try to eat.   This does not in any way negate that I have pain 24-7, nausea 24-7, dizzy spells, vomiting, fatigue….

My next big problem is what will SSD (disability) do?   They will see this new result and may determine no benefits because I showed ‘improvement’.   At this time, they are only basing their decision on the results of the 3 Drs that they sent me to and I should have a decision in the next few weeks.   But, if I have to dispute (forgot the word) the denial (about 98% of SSD is denied upon the 1st request) then disability will see these results.  I have a good lawyer set up who has handled GP cases, so he will defiantly earn his keep!

ImageIn the mean time my PC Dr has asked for me to see her, as she is getting some of the SSD Dr’s notes in  and wants to send me to a neurologist.   This leads me to my last problem.  Financial.  I have no clue how I begin to pay for all of this.  I am not working and already owe about $1,000 for the GI Dr office visit of 11 minutes and the 4hr GES.   Then the PC Dr and Neuro Dr will all add up, besides any tests they may want to do.   I simply do not know how all of you GPer’s do this!

I want to know what is wrong with me and to find the help that I need…. so I keep shelling out money to continue my needle in a haystack adventure!  

My chin is up and I am plugging along, the best that I can do, like the rest of us.   Thank you all for your encouraging words the other day.  I hold you all in my thoughts as I continue to help spread awareness to find a cure/treatment for us all!

HERE is my blog on my 4hr GES vs my 2hr GES (the differences).

HERE is my blog on my last GI Dr visit (6 week wait for an 11 min appointment)

Muffin Tins For Leftovers?

Today was a rare day in the way that I was cooking just for me.   Tacos sounded good and I had 1/2 pound of frozen hamburger along with a little cheese and a potato.   “Potato”, you ask?   Yes!  I am a little odd and like a small amount of taco meat on a potato.   I know my stomach does well with potatoes, so YES, a potato and taco meat.

As I am cooking the meat, I know I am only going to eat about 1/3 of a cup.   The next day my tummy will not accept the taco meat, so it sits in the fridge for many days and seems to end up in the trash. 

How can I prevent all that money going into the landfill?   I bright bulb came on in my head and the image of a muffin tin glistened.  This is perfect!  I can portion it out based on what I can tolerate. 

Cook up the meat as normal, let the leftovers cool, divide it into muffin tins and set it in the freezer.   I keep mine in the freezer for a good 24 hours (to ensure it is solid) and put the taco meat pucks into a freezer bag or storage container.   Next time I want tacos, I simply grab one, heat it and enjoy! 

 

This can be done for all sorts of things in mini, large or regular size muffin tins:

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  • Shredded chicken
  • Shredded pork
  • Ground turkey
  • Diced up ham
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Casseroles
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soups
  • Anything pureed

 

The key to doing this is to make sure that the container you put the frozen product into, is of good quality so air does not get into it and therefore, it will last longer in the freezer. 

 

If you are going to do this on a frequent basis, I suggest you spend the money to get the silicone muffin tins.   The food comes out of them so much easier!

 

 

New Facebook Page “Tats For Gastroparesis”

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My new Facebook Page is up: 

https://www.facebook.com/TatsForGastroparesis

 

Feel free to post your Awareness Tats or inspirational tats.   I had seen so many this Spring, I felt a page to hold them all would be great for all of those that are considering a new tat and just to show off your great ink!     Later I hope to hold a ‘vote’ and the winner will get a small prize.  

 

Any abuse or inappropriate posts will be deleted and you will be banned/reported.  I have a Zero Tolerance policy.

 

 

My 4 Hr GES (Gastric Emptying Study)

After already having a 2 Hr GES about 14 months ago, I thought I was well prepared going into today as far as knowing what to expect.  Man, was I wrong!   The 4 hour version was nothing close to the 2 hr GES.

2 Hr GES (for me – others have reported differences) :

  • Egg Salad Sandwich and water.
  • Lay down for 2 full hours as the machine above you takes pics every couple of minutes.

 

The 4 Hr GES for me (apparently others have had slightly different experiences) went like this:

  • I got to eat Egg Beaters (about 1 full measuring cup), 2 pieces of toast with strawberry jelly and water.
  • I was told to make sure I eat the eggs, drink the water and eat as much toast with jelly as I could.  They told me the sugar in the jelly was a key component to digestion.
  • I had only 10 minutes to eat it all.   Since I eat chew everything until it is almost nothing (this helps reduce the pain when I eat real food), I knew I had to eat like I did pre-GP and pray I don’t get sick.   I managed to swallow the eggs with the water and eat 1 piece of toast in the 10 minutes.  Yuck!  Is all I have to say about that.
  • The bell rang for 10 minutes (they checked on me at 5 min to let me know), and I was escorted to the other room to stand in front of a machine, not moving, for 2 full minutes.  Being dizzy does not help achieve this goal very easily.
  • At the end of the 2 minutes and the tech is happy with the picture(s), I was taken to the main waiting room.   They would call me back in 30 min to do another session of the 2 minute photo-shoot. 
  • We continued this process for 2 hours – or 4 picture sessions. 
  • Once the results from the last test was in, the tech looked them over and said that I would need to come back in 2 hours and have one last image taken.   That my stomach was slow enough (couldn’t tell me how slow) to warrant me to continue with the GES test.
  • I could go where ever I wanted, do what ever I wanted, as long as I was back in 2 hours and did not eat or drink anything.
  • When I got back he had to note if I got sick in any manner, which I did not (pat on the back)!  It was a nice day, so I hung out by my car and played on my phone.   The time was too short to drive home and I was too dizzy to actually walk around a mall.
  • The last of the pictures were taken and I was on my marry way to wait 1 week for the results from the GI Dr’s office.

 

I can say that I am very happy with this test.  I would do the 4 hour GES in a heartbeat over the 2 hour (laying down for that long made my legs and butt go numb).   The waiting room sucked to be in for that long, but was much better than counting tiles.   The place I had the GES done does not have clocks or tvs.   I hear from other people that some got to watch a movie!   All I got to watch was the blurry computer monitor screen with my digestive track.   This was much better.

The only bad part of today is that I now have a GP Baby and it is killing me!  The pain from the bloating is crazy and the heat is not helping me stay comfortable.   Below is a pic of my normal tummy day (taken a few months back -but I’m still the same) and a pic from a few hours ago.

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4 Hr GES Study Tomorrow (personal blog)

If you have not read my last 3 blogs then following is a very brief update:

  • My first GI Dr (who I do not like and no longer see) had me do a 2 hour GES (Gastric Emptying Study) and diagnosed me with Gastroparesis.   My half-time was 240 min (or so) and a ‘normal’ person would have completed the GES in 60-90 minutes.
  • My new GI Dr will NOT diagnose me based on a 2 hour GES.  She wants the full 4 hour study.   She has been in our town for 1 year and has made the clinic agree to do the 4hr test on her patients.  
  • I had written a blog on 2hr vs 4hr, as I do not feel the 2hr is good enough to diagnose with GP.   Link is HERE.   But don’t really want to have to pay for this test ‘again’.  It was several thousands of dollars the first time around.   Plus, digesting that crap so they can take pictures of the food as it goes through my system, can’t be too good for me either!

Tomorrow is the day that I have to do the 4hr GES.  I could hardly get down the egg salad sandwich last time (plus water), so hard to say how my body will react this time.   Also, my body does not do well (high nausea and pain) if I get up before 9am.  I do not understand WHY this happens, it just does.    My appointment is at 8:30 with 30 min needed to get there.  Guess I will set the alarm for 6:30 so I have plenty of time in the bathroom with my nausea issues.  

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I am scared this time around.  It is not because of the unknown of what to expect (what will it be like, where am I going, etc).  Been there – done that.   This time it is “what will the results show?” 

I am scared that if denied disability (should know something in the next few weeks) and if this 4hr test comes back with better results than the 2hr test (14 mos ago), that I may not have a leg to stand on for an appeal.   

The other thing that makes me scared is if the test comes back saying I digest at a normal rate or even a slightly longer rate than the average person.   Meaning, “gastroparesis” will not be diagnosed by this doctor.   So what is wrong with me if I don’t have GP?

All these thoughts have been running through my head for the last week now.  Along other family issues (possible relocation) and a few other issues.   The stress of all of this is not good for any person and especially one with a chronic illness. 

Crossing my fingers and praying all goes well tomorrow.   It is going to be a restless night that’s for sure!   The heat will not help me get to sleep either (I am slowly not liking summers due to the effect on my body). 

Thanks for your continued support and I wish everybody a good tummy day!

 

I Was Very Bad – Stupid Emotions

After the bad GI Dr visit (Part 1 herePart 2 here), I was very upset.  I know how I feel and it feels like gastroparesis, just like my first GI Dr diagnosed me with from the 2 hr GES test.   But now this GI Dr will not diagnose me with it until I have a 4 hr GES test.

Unfortunately what I focused on when I got home was how she didn’t think I had GP, but rather something neurological.

I was so tired when I got home, I watched my couple of favorite tv shows and then took a nap.  2 hours later I woke, still upset and now needing something to eat.  Since I didn’t feel good (GP wise), I wasn’t hungry but hadn’t ate anything all day.   So, what do I reach for?  A smoothie?  Soup?  No and No.

ImageMy mind went to, ‘what can I eat that is high in fat and high in fiber?’, ‘if I don’t have gp then it will not matter what I eat’.   Not a good thought.   I wished my husband was home and he could have stopped this self destruct.   I made something very bad for me and in a very large amount.  The amount that I would have eaten, pre-gp.   Then looked at it one last time before I dove in!  I never had a second thought.  When tears ran down my face, I should have stopped.  It wasn’t from the physical pain, but the emotional pain of that stupid GI Dr meeting.

The thoughts of how I held her so high on a pedestal and how hurt I was with today.   How could any Dr do that?  But I knew the answer to that.  My 1st GI Dr was that way, yet I still think she was a little worse.

For some reason the meal did not hit me as bad as I expected.  I really didn’t have any other heightened issues from eating that.   Then that part worried me.  Maybe I don’t have GP, since I didn’t have the reaction I was expecting.   Then the past came flooding in.  Why was I not throwing up as much as I was when I was first diagnosed.  Am I getting better?  I didn’t think so.  None of my family thinks so.  So, what is wrong with me?

I was on the fence to decide if I wanted the GES test done, as it could effect my disability claim down the road.  But with all of these thoughts in my head, I have given in and will go do the test.

In now way am I recommending that you go off of your GP ‘diet’ and have a food-frenzy as I did.  That action could land you in ER.   I am sorry that I did it. Yet happy for it, as it helped me decide what I need to do next in my medical journey.

A Disappointing GI Dr Follow Up (Part 2)

This is continued from Part 1 (Click Here ).    In Part 1 I told you how it took me a little over 3 weeks to wait 10 weeks for the actual appointment with my GI Doc.

The long wait was filled with my ‘normal’ symptoms.  Nothing better, nothing worse.  And finally the appointment day was here!  I was excited as I had not seen her since October 2012, but we spoke on the phone several times and even during her maternity leave.  She was new to the profession, but on top of gastroparesis, which is why we got along so great.

I was asked to come in at 8:45am for a 9am appointment, just to get the new computer system up to date with my info.   That was fine, my insurance had changed as well as my address since my last true visit.   It was a bad GP morning (as most mornings that I have to get out of bed before 9am).   A few stops to the bathroom and I made the 30 min trip by car to see her, but I made it and on time!

The check in did take that long.  I looked at my phone when I sat down and it was straight up 9am.  I figured I would be called back soon and didn’t get too settled.  My mistake.  At 9:20am I was getting a little anxious and updated my FB Status (that’s how I know what time it was).  A few seconds later, the nurse came to take me back.  Thank goodness.

ImageThe nurse part was the same as always with questions and stats.  Took just a few minutes, as not much had changed with my history.  Like normal she said the Dr would be right in.  I hoped so, we were already past my appointment time and I had brought a 1 page print out of topics I wanted to address.

I got down off the exam table to get my sheet of questions and pen, glancing at my phone for a time.   Isn’t it convenient that they never put a clock in the room?!   Well we were up to 9:35a and still no Dr.  About a min or 2 later, she came in.  Thank goodness!  I am so ready to get help and catch up with her and her new child!

Chit Chat was not going to happen.  She was in a horrid mood!  She founded when I said I was not feeling any better.  We went over (very briefly) what I tried to eat and what my ‘issues’ were.  I kept getting cut off when she was asking me things.  I would continue to talk and she would go back to her computer.  Grrr.  I was not getting any where.  She had a problem getting my old records up and called a tech to come in.  Then asked if I had been to the Neuro Dr that she told me to (back in Oct), I did not.  That didn’t make her happy either.  I said I was planning on it since a Disability Eye Dr told me I was having minor issues.  I then told her I applied, told her I lost my job, lost the unemployment appeal in court.   I never went into detail as I was loosing her focus and as soon as I said the word ‘disability’ she became very cold.

My other goal to go there was to see if she would be on my side should (when) I need to do the appeal for disability.   A credible GI Dr of mine would help a lot.  Guess that isn’t going to happen.

She laid into me saying that she can not diagnose me with gastroparesis based on the 2 hr Gasteric Emptying Study that I had done.   The 2 hr test was done by the 1st GI Dr and based on the results I was diagnosed with GP.  Click here for my blog on that.   But this GI Dr does not believe in any results of a 2 hr GES.  She made that clear the first time I saw here and I agree for the most part.  Our town would not do anything longer than 2hrs and didn’t even want to do it for that long.  I was told at 30 min it was okay to go.  But now she has the clinic that does it to agree to do just her patients with the 4 hr test.   And now wants me to do it for this long and go from there (to be diagnosed or not with gastroparesis – by her).

Doing this could hurt my disability, if the GES comes back better or in the even that my delayed emptying is not that delayed at 4 hours.   Then she will not diagnose me with GP and I would have to do a disability appeal based on just my symptoms, as we would not know what the heck is wrong with me at that point.

At 9:46a I was being walked out by her.   I have a print out that tells me so.   It also tells me to get the GES and to take Mirolax to improve my bowel movements.

I set up the GES and have thought long and hard about it.   The 2 hr was bad enough for me.  My butt and legs went to sleep.  I can’t imagine 4 hrs, plus if I don’t get protein in my every 2 – 3 hours then I become very dizzy and at times have fainted.   But, setting that aside, I want to know what the heck is wrong with me for sure.  If it isn’t GP, than it probably is Neuro.   Don’t worry, I will never give up the GP Fight!  I still fully believe that is what I have, but I guess GES test will tell me how delayed my tummy is!

The insurance company I have, has no co-pays.  What they do is,  I have to pay out of pocket 100% of the Dr visit and that amount is then deducted from the deductible ($5,000 family).  I looked on my prior bill (different ins co then), but walking in the office was billed at $500.  That was one heck of a 11 min Dr visit!

So that too pissed me off yesterday and I found an email to send a complain to.  Well,  I found 2 places to send it to and I did!   No, I don’t expect anything to come of it.  But felt better that I got it off my chest.  When the bill comes you can count on another copy of my email going inside of it!

THE END

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