Posts Tagged ‘GP’

Can a pen spread gastroparesis awareness? You bet!

The GP Fight Store has NEW pens.  Why are we so happy about this?   Because everybody needs a pen at some point in the day (technology has eliminated the pen – not just yet) AND it will spread awareness (if the person reads the pen – haha).

If you have ever purchased pens from The GP Fight Store, these are completely different.   New style, new green color, new slogan and now with blue ink.   These pens were offered to us at 1/4 the regular retail price, so we were able to pass the savings onto  you.  Once we run out, we may not be able to get more — so hurry!

Available at GPfight.com (Store tab – Shop Now) the pens will come in a 4-pack for $5.50.   Pair these up with the ever popular GP Awareness Cards for an unstoppable duo.   The GP cards now are available in both styles (folded and classic) we have had since we opened the store (few updates have been done).

New Pens 1

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Tips On Surviving A Car Trip With Gastroparesis

 

Each person with gastroparesis can have different symptoms, will react to medications differently and not all natural remedies will work.  For these “Tips For Traveling With Gastroparesis” will be based on what I do.   Keep in mind that I do not have a feeding tube and not too many other medical issues that I need to worry about when traveling.  This list is simply to give you an idea of what a person with a chronic illness must take into consideration when planning a trip.

 

Around Town Outing

No matter where I go, I always have a small bag in my car with the following items:

  • LifeSaver Mints – helps with nausea (click HERE for other nausea remedies).
  • Protein Bars – the Balance Bar brand seems to be best on my stomach.  I eat 1 when I start to feel dizzy (lack of protein is my trigger).
  • Single serve size of peanut butter – again for the protein to ward off the dizzy spell.
  • Vomit Bag – just in case
  • Always know where you are going, so that you know where restrooms are along your route.
  • A change of clothes – just in case
  • A liquid item – for me I make a cup of hot mint tea and put it in my travel cup.  Also have bottled water.
  • Medications – nausea, headache, allergies and whatever else I can think of.
  • End of a roll of toilet paper or tissues – those of you that have gone into a restroom with no TP will understand!
  • Know which restaurants have ‘food’ that you can consume, in case your with friends or family that want to stop for a bite to eat.  Most restaurants have their menu online, so it is easy for us to glance at and know if we can eat there or not.  Keep a list with you or in your phone.

 

Planning A Trip

Even if it is going to be a short trip (or overnight) try to give yourself plenty of time to plan, prepare (mentally and physically) and pack.   The short trips can be just as hard on us as a long trip.   If by chance there is a time change involved, that can even be harder on our system to adjust.

  • Keep in mind your health schedule when you plan a trip.  Is there a certain season that you feel better in?  A certain time of the month or week that you typically feel better?
  • If your trip is for fun, then consider the weather of where you want to travel.  Will it be cold during the time you want to go?  If so, how does your body do in the colder weather?  For a lot of us with Gastroparesis either very hot or very cold can easily put us into a flare mode.

Now that you have found where you want to go and when you want to go, now it is time to look how you will get there.

  • Car – typically the best option for most of us, depending on how far you are going.  This method allows you to stop when you want along the way (rest stops for example) and you can take the travel at the pace that is best for you.  Another plus is that you avoid all the TSA hassle (especially if you are feeding tube dependent, take insulin, have a pacer for your stomach or other medical devise.
  • Train/Bus/Boat – I have not traveled by these means, but can only assume that there would be pros and cons to these as well.
  • Air – My least favorite method of travel mostly due to the heightened nausea I experience and dizziness.   I need to plan accordingly and made sure I have a day or two to recover when I arrive, if this is how I travel.

You have picked how you want to arrive to your destination and hopefully have allowed enough time for your body to recover when you get there.  Now it’s time for our suggestions on what to pack and other tips based on travel by car and plane.

 

Travel By Car

  •  Everything in the “Around Town Outing” goes into our magic bag of goodies.
  • Recently I have found that SeaBands or Pressure Bands work okay if applied 20 min before you get into the car and during the entire trip.  It’s not a cure or 100% fix, but in combination with other nausea remedies, they do seem to help.   They can be found online and most local drug stores will carry them.
  • My other favorite is “Nauzene Motion”; which is an all natural nausea over-the-counter pill.  This has high amounts of Ginger, so it would not be recommended if you have GERD (acid reflux).  As soon as my tummy has time to digest the pill, it is working for me.  I never thought I would find this small miracle.  Every single other OTC or Rx nausea medication has not worked or had too many side effects.  My suggestion is to keep trying until you find something that works for you.
  • Music!  It is a great distraction, just lay your head back, close your eyes and focus on the music.  This helps when the pain or nausea wave hits.   If you are playing the music on a phone or other devise, make sure you have batteries or a charger.
  • A pillow and/or blanket.  I don’t know about you, but my body temp really seems to go up and down quickly when I am in a car.   Also these are great to have on hand so that you can pull them into your stomach when it is cramping or you are in pain.   The light self-hug seems to help me.
  • I probably don’t have to tell you, but here it goes anyway:  wear shoes you can kick off and loose clothes.  Heck if you are just headed to a hotel, PJs are a good choice.  My go-to is yoga pants and a loose shirt.
  • Heat is always my friend to help reduce pain and nausea, so don’t be afraid to use those Icy Hot Packs (band of your choice) and put one on your side pain or tummy area.  When I can’t have my heat pad, this is the next best thing.   But be sure to pack it!
  • Cooler filled with ice and anything that you are able to ‘eat’ or drink.   Take small amount of anything that you typically snack on during the day.  This will give you a wide selection to choose from and you can pick what you think will be best for your system that day.   NOTE:  after being Dx with GP and needed to travel by car, I thought it was best to not eat.  Eating always made me feel worse, so I thought not eating was my answer.  Turns out that my theory was not very good.  With picking the right food choice, making sure you eat a little less than ‘normal’, really helped me keep the dizzy spells away, headaches and I actually felt better that next day.  The choice is yours!
  • Since you don’t have to deal with weight limits, luggage size or any of that stuff, this is when I like to pack a few extra amount of clothing.  Anything that I typically can wear in public on a bloated day gets packed as well as maybe 1 or 2 of those favorite pieces I have, which can only be worn on a non-bloated day.  For the ladies:  safety pins are a great option if you choose to purchase a skirt that fits the bloated day, so you can ‘keep it on’ when that belly goes down!   Empire waist dresses seem to be a perfect option too.
  • As mentioned before, be sure to know where you are headed to so that you can find some places that you would be able to tolerate food at.
  • Even if you are in a hurry and just want to get there since you may not be feeling very good, I find it is better for me to get out at a rest stop or two.  If you don’t want to walk around (or need the bathroom), then just open the door or window.  The fresh air (if the temp is not too hot or cold out) does our body good.

 

Picking A Hotel

You may think a room is a room and you just want to book the least expensive option.  However, think about what you NEED and how long you will be there.  Here are some suggestions:

  • A mini fridge is a wonderful thing!  You can try to keep your cooler filled with ice all the time, but that is a pain and you could easily spoil the food in there and none of us want to deal with that, plus gastroparesis.   When I was doing smoothies for my main nutrition, a fridge was a must needed item.  Now it is a place to house the items that my diet requires and gives me the ability to eat when I need.
  • A microwave is a good thing to have as well.   Besides to heat the food you have or make tea, you can heat up your own rice packs if you don’t have a heating pad.  Check out all the ideas that are on Pinterest to make your own heat pad.   Add this to your list to pack too.
  • A coffee pot can be used for more than coffee.  I run just water through it so that I can have my mint or ginger tea, cup of noodle soup or hot cocoa.  With that said, I pack a mug when I travel too.  Those hotel cups are almost worthless.
  • Room Service Please – on those days that I am not able to leave the room, having room service (some menus can be found on the hotel’s web site) is a luxury to me.   And I was not talking about not leaving the room because I am on a honeymoon!!
  • Free Breakfast – if you can tolerate gluten, then most of these continental breakfasts don’t add that much cost to the room verses how much your family would pay if they ate out.  You can even find some that offer muffins, waffles and pancakes (in moderation, can be okay with GP — this is always different for each person).

If you are driving and have the space in the car, you could always bring along: blender, microwave, personal size fridge and a box of dry food that you can tolerate.  We usually get rooms that have a small kitchenette in them (depending on our length of stay), so that I will be able to have some food with the family.  It also saves a lot of money to not got out.  Yet the down side is, if you didn’t bring a maid or cook, you may not want to spend the energy doing this … it is a vacation after all.

 

We hope you walked away with a few idea and keep these main points in mind:  plan around your expected health flares, take anything that you would use in a given day/week, do your homework to look for places you can eat at along your route, map out potential bathrooms, have all the conveniences you depend on at home in your hotel and be sure to stop along the way for fresh air.

 

Side Note:  This blog was done at 3 in the morning and I did not have time to proof it.  Getting my rest now, as I will be traveling to VEGAS for a 2-week vacation!!  Future blogs on how this went and if there are any more ideas or tips I can share with you. 

 

Here are a couple great resources as well:

Fighters Tab on MelissaGPfight.com

Fighters Tab on MelissaGPfight.com

We have updated our “FIGHTERS” tab located at the top of our page, with 12 great stories of people like you and me.   This is a collection from the past few years of newspaper and internet journal articles (free to the public) that have been gathered together in one place for you to enjoy!  Legally, we can not copy the entire article and post it on our page (with our permission from each journalist), so we did a summary of each article and posted the link to where you can read it. 

These stories are so inspiring that we hope you take a moment to read them.  Maybe on a day in bed when you have nothing else to do?!

May the new 2014 year be kind to you all.

GP Fight Store – Updated

We are happy to announce that the “GP Fight” store has been stocked with more items and is up and running for business!  

Check it out at:  www.GPfight.bigcartel.com

There is a little bit of everything for everyone.  Following is a small sample of what is available:

  • Gastroparesis (GP) Awareness Ribbon Cling for your car or truck
  • Buttons & Keychains (4 styles to choose from)
  • Shirts (4 styles to choose from)
  • Pens
  • Greeting Cards

Item costs are as low as we can posiably make them.  This was our main goal in creating this store for you!  To make sure that you would be able to afford something to spread GP Awareness.   And we know how hard it is to wait for something to be mailed to you when you place an on-line order!  For that reason we work hard to get your orders assembled and shipped within 1 – 3 business days.  

If there is something that you do not see or we don’t have enough in stock to fill your wish, e-mail us via our store link and we will see what we can do for you!

 

 

 

 

 

A Job Found Me (personal story)

I know I promised you all a blog on travel tips and my journey to the new world – okay, to the new smudge mark on the map of a town.   But, I have not had time by to scribble a few notes down on paper.

Why?  Well, I fell into a job!  Yep, you read that correctly.   They person that could not get unemployment because they said I was too sick to look for work and maintain that level of job, so they did not give me benefits, got a job!  That same person that tried to get disability, since I was so sick, then got denied… got a job!  Okay, technically, I would still qualify for disability, as my income is still less than the amount required for cut-off.  But still, it’s a job.

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Nope, that’s not me in the pic. Sorry gang!

 

How did it happen?  This is a great story.  So, pour a cup of tea and snuggle in! 

I was working on our budget after my husband received his first paycheck after we relocated.  To my dismay, we are short every month.  We have two options:  use the savings we have from the sale of our home to supplement us or I find a job.  Say what?!  After some thinking I decided I could apply to do some sort of part time filing job.  I need something that is low in hours and easy to do.  These two requests, should keep my nausea from going too wild.  As a reminder, I can not take any medications for my gastroparesis.  Therefore, I have a very ridged schedule to stick to.  This includes foods, liquids, sleep times, stress levels as well as supplements and so on.   There was no way I could go back to the high stress type of job I had before (Claims Manager for an Insurance Co).  

I got my resume in order, hooked up the printer and printed out my new life.  There were a few great options I found on line via the local job center.  Only catch was, I had to go to their office and fill out specific applications and do some testing.  Ugg.  Really?!   I put on some nice clothes (skirt, for my tummy that can expand at any moment), mapped where on earth I had to go for this, hopped in the car with a few resumes and in less than 2 minutes was at the door of the job center.  That was easy.  I found what the applications I needed and a guy told me that they do not set up appointments for the testing, it’s first come, first serve.  I said I would be back tomorrow.   Which I did, with all 6 of the applications all filled out and ready for them to do what ever they wanted with them.  That morning I did receive a rejection of a job that was located 60 miles (one-way) away.  That was a happy-sad moment.  I could not imagine that in the winter.   My heart was set on a filing job for the County Sheriffs Office.   The testing center was open, so 45 minutes later I did all 5 of their stupid tests and was happy with the results — pat on the back!  My scores were above average and I was very proud.   The gal was going to send off the apps to the specific places and all I get to do is weight! 

I drove to the store for some last minute items for dinner.  When headed out of the parking lot I saw the building across the road and had an urge to go in and see if they had any openings.  Sitting at the stop sign with the building directly in front of me, I decided what the heck, I look good today, might as well.  I parked, almost left the car running, but didn’t and went inside.  I ask if there were any openings and the young gal said there was.  She asked if I was willing to do the application now and she would have the manager come see me.  Umm… okay.  In my head I was thinking about what in the car could spoil.  I told her this was a little unexpected and told her I had to run back to my car for my resume.  I had just one left.  Wow, this is going better than expected.  Since I had filled out 6 applications the night before, I knew most of the answers to these questions too!  I’m on a roll.  I sat and waited for the manager.  Then I noticed she was giving a tour to some people and wondered on much longer will this be?   I gave it a little longer, then gave in and walked back to the front desk.  The guy behind the counter said she would be with me very soon.  So, I plopped myself on a couch, grab the free newspaper and a cup of mint tea.   Finally, the gal came in and was very up-beat and out-going.  I liked her.  We chatted like we were old friends.  She didn’t ask the normal questions for an interview, these were more of what she needs at the front desk and to see if I could fill that void.  She was very happy with my resume and all that I have done.  She was even more excited that I wanted part time, as that is what is needed right now.  A person to fill in for vacations, sick leave and a few days.  I told her I was willing to be on call and even work the late shift, as I understand that is not too popular in some business’s.   She was thrilled.  Furthermore, she hoped she could use me in an accounting position too.  Basically everything that she does, she wants me to learn… is what she said.

WOW… pinch me…. is this really happening?!!

I accepted the job offer she verbally gave me, even though I didn’t know the pay or much of the details.  I told her I just handed in 6 applications to the job center.  She told me to let her know if something I find better is offered, but she would be heart broken.  I received a few offers, but none of which I wanted to take.  And no, the job I had my heart set on never called or e-mailed me.  Oh well!

After the verbal offer and I accepted, she continued to tell me about a person she has on staff that needs to go to the doctor a lot.  It’s nothing dire, but that leaves them short a person and it would be great if I could fill in on those days.   That was a good opening for me to tell her I have gastroparesis.  It’s a personal choice to say it up front.  But since I was already offered the job, accepted and she is now telling me personal stuff, I felt the need.  I almost fell on the floor when I didn’t have to explain GP, she already knew about it and was concerned for me.  Later, I found out she was a nurse and has diabetes along with tummy issues, so who knows how she knew about it, but thankfully she does and that part of my life is out in the open.  I told her I have had it mostly under control and seem to have a few bad days a month.  That I didn’t know if it was because I was out of a stressful job for a while now, that I am learning my triggers, or a combination.   She talked about the stress of the job and that it is okay to come grab her or another person if I need to step away.   She was so caring, I almost cried.  My prior job of 16 years was never that way when it came to the work we do.

I was asked if I could come in the next day to do l the legal paperwork with the General Manager.  I was there and come to find out he worked for an insurance company and was so excited with all my work history.  He even made the comment that he was excited to have a person like me on board.  Very nice man.   Later I found out that my husband is this guy’s daughter’s manager.  What a turn of events!  

The next day I got a call from the new work place and they needed me to answer some of the normal interview questions so she could write them down and send it off to their corp office.  I had been thinking about it the night before and had some good answers picked out for the normal questions they ask.  Thank goodness I did, as I needed that info!

My first day of training started Monday at 7am.  I had told her that mornings are not very good for me, due to the high nausea.   She was sorry to hear that and wanted to know if I wanted to work something else.  I said no, I need to learn all the shifts (as she intended).  Well Monday went fine, it was the next day that my head was in the toilet and I had to call in sick.   If it was just high nausea, I would have tried to do it.  But there was no way I could go in like that and the bathroom is so darn far away!  I hoped by afternoon, I would be better and could clock a few hours of training, but no.  So I called her directly and she was very short with me.  For the rest of the night I panicked.  I loved the first day and wanted to work there.  Otherwise, I would not have cared.  

Wednesday was my day off and I nursed myself back to health…so to speak.  Thursday was training on a different shift.  At least that one was slow and I liked it for the most part.  Gave me time to learn the ropes a little bit.   The manager was in and she wanted to ‘talk’… oh crap.   Mainly she was concerned that the mornings were going to be too hard on me.  I told her I thought it might have been nerves and a new food that I tried.  Well, not exactly a new food, but rather a new brand of the same food.  Even a brand switch can upset my system.  I explained that I was very upset I could not come in, that I loved it here and do want to work here.   After that her and I were back on the same page.

Friday (the 13th) was the late shift and I was asked to run it myself as my trainee sat in the back office (goofing off), in case I needed him.  I did a couple of times, but handled the psycho guest all by myself.   Even though the night shift is GP friendly (for me), it is so dang boring and it’s hard to sleep when I get home. 

Monday and Tuesday I am back to the morning shift.  The manager said she was going to put me down for 8a (instead of 7am) since that is the latest she can schedule me to come in for that shift and hoped that, that would help my tummy.   Can a manager get any better than that?!   I’m not sure if it will help or not, but I didn’t want to make a fuss to her kindness. 

Typically I am given 1 day off after working 2 days, to insure I get rest and not push my GP.  But this week is a little crazy and she wondered if I would help them out by working Wed late shift and having Thur off.  Well… I have told her, “I will not know, unless I try”.   The guy to work that shift was asked to come in early and she hopes I will be okay on my own, so he can leave early.   I assume that is why he pushed me so hard on Friday night.

There is a ton that I do not know, but I will have phone numbers to ask people and can tell guests that the morning staff will get back to them (if it’s nothing urgent).  I have bluffed my way through a lot with my former job, I am sure I will do just fine with this client base too!

Right now all I ask is that my tummy please continue to be good and all will be well!!  I love being around people again and feeling like I have a purpose in life.   And I don’t want that to read wrong.  I have all of you and love all the advocacy work I do for gastroparesis (along with chronic illness in general), but being home alone gets old real fast.  My bird is good company, but not enough. 

So, with the odd hours I have to work, I am afraid I will not be on as much as I have been.  But, that does not mean I am not here for you.  I will always be here and I will also continue to fight for all of us!  

Did you drink all of your tea?  Haha, told you it was a long story, which I hope will inspire you to do all that you can too!!

 

4,500 Views …. Thank you!

4,500 Views .... Thank you!

We were traveling when “Melissa’s GP Fight” Blog hit the 4,000 mark of viewers. I was amazed to see how many of you still went to the blog despite my absence. You are truly a blessing.

This post is for all of you that continue to support me and those of you that come to the blog to find information, advice and suggestions that may help you on your GP (or other chronic illness) path.

There is so much more for me to do with the blog to make it a better resource for all of you, so please keep checking back, as it will get there (one 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:

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