Archive for August, 2018

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 🙂  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’t recall the names of.  
  • Fall 2012 I worked in the fundraising deptartment at G-PACT
  • Spring 2013 I started 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’s Stomach among others
  • Spring 2014 I started with a GP Awareness store.
  • 2014 I ‘meet’ 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’s 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’s nice to be ‘confused’ with another great GP contributing member.  And I fully understand why as 99% of my pictures never had my face 😉 
  • Summer of 2016 I was finally feeling ‘better’, 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 “Helping Others Find Great Doctors” which was a list I built from GPer’s 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 store items.  Sadly, this was a great personal decision that I could spend ‘healthy’ 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:, and But my original (not updated or current) 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 (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!!!

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!




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