STEPHANIE'S PERSONAL STORY

February 11, 2016 Gastroparesis

I have always struggled with my weight, my doctor would constantly ask my parents if I showed any signs of anorexia, people would compliment me on how flat my stomach was or how skinny I was, but little did they know what I was dealing with on the inside. I was always able to eat anything I wanted without gaining any weight.I was hospitalized 8 times in the year leading up to my first year of high school, all I wanted was my life back again.

It all started when I made the courageous decision to walk to the bottom of Grand Canyon with my dad and two siblings. It wasn't until I had just reached the bottom where I started experiencing light headedness, dizziness and diarrhea. My dad was convinced I was just dehydrated and the altitude was taking a tole on me. I was only three miles from the top when it hit me. It was like the vomiting would never stop, I felt as if I would pass out any minute, I knew continuing would be at a disadvantage, so I had to be air lifted out of the Grand Canyon and taken to a hospital three hours away.

The doctors still had no clue what was wrong with me. I went through numerous tests including a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, stool sampling, gastric emptying, gall bladder sonogram, and an EEG of my stomach. After numerous antibiotics and prescriptions I was put on, I have been narrowed down to only taking a probiotic pill every night with dinner. Since my diagnosis, I've realized that it is hard to enjoy everyday activities without having a fear of throwing up.

Because of this I live everyday with the fear and the memory of the day I was diagnosed with GP. I am on a strict diet and reduce to consume any foods that bring back any reoccurring memories of that day.

Getting Gastroparesis at such a young age has taught me to always keep fighting. Discussing my illness with others makes me feel weak so I try to avoid that subject at all times, but hiding from the truth is just going to make things worse. I have Gastroparesis, there is nothing I can do about it but take my medications, keep my head held high and hope that every tomorrow brings me the courage to keep fighting my disease and not letting it define me.

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