Make sure you have a doctor who specializes or treats those with Gastroparesis. The easiest
way to find out can be simply asking the registration department or nurse if the doctor has patients he or she is currently
treating with Gastroparesis.
Now to build your team of doctors. With Gastroparesis or any chronic medication condition you must think
of your care as a 'team' effort. This involves not just your primary care physician but other specialists. The better the
team the higher quality of care you will receive in the long run. Some may feel having a surgeon is jumping a bit too
far ahead however once you are faced with an emergency situation you don't want someone operating on you that doesn't fully
understand your unique medical condition. Planning ahead is not only wise but takes the stress off of family and loved ones.
Most doctors will require: recent medical records, tests, procedures, surgical operative
reports, etc. If you can personally retrieve a copy of these reports it will not only save you time but make your follow up
care alot easier. Make a few copies, one for your doctor and one to save on file for yourself.
- Insurance/Healthcare companies
Yes, I understand how frustrating figuring out the network policies and out of pocket
co-pays can be with insurance companies. Always make sure your specialist is in network and you fully understand what will
be covered. Sticker shock can be horrible when you don't understand your insurance policy and the bills start arriving in
the mail. Money doesn't grow on trees and always remember your doctor works for you so if it isn't a perfect fit the first
time there are plenty of other physicians out there in the world to choose from. You deserve nothing but the best and the
best is worth the wait.
- Diet-What can I eat or drink?
Remember, each Gastroparesis patient is unique. What might work for one patient might not work for another.
Never expect any specialist to give you a diet list or instructions that will work 100%. Trial and error will
help you determine which foods and liquids work best for you.
Do you have soley GP related stomach motility problems or does your GP affect the intestines, kidneys
or other organs? Fluids can range from sport drinks, low acidity juices, Smartwater, fat free dairy products, etc. Some foods
that can aggravate GP are high starches, pastas, red meats, fruits, vegetables and caffeinated products. Remember, McDonald's
and Burger King don't count unless you plan on visiting the emergency room later that day. Be wise on your new diet choices,
try foods with no MSG's, organic, pureed, protein meal supplement drinks and bars.
1. Will I die from Gastroparesis?
A-No one can predict your future but remember one important rule during your Gastroparesis
journey; Attitude can MAKE or BREAK you! If you want to give up and throw in the towel will you survive? Probably not
but if you keep the positive attitude and fight alive chances are you will live a good life around your Gastroparesis.
2.How will I know when I have a flairup?
A-Think of the worst flu or stomach virus you have ever had, now times that by 100 then add the feeling
after Thanksgiving day dinner when you had more than a few extra helpings followed by extreme fatigue that lasts more than
a few hours. Gravity is our best friend to help move food through the digestive tract. Too much sitting can prolong the digestion.
3. How will I know if I become dehydrated?
A-I highly suggest buying a scale that measures water! This will show you where your body water % should
be at as well keep you aware on days when you might need to take in more fluids. Water scales are a great tool to cut back
on emergency room and doctor visits. Pedialyte products are good to use as well any fluids that contain electrolytes found
labeled on the side or back of the product. Sports drinks are a good addition however be careful not to overdo a good thing
because excessive consumption can lead to kidney problems.
4. Is this really just in my head?
A-NO. If your specialist also gives you the run around statement-'I believe this might just be in your
head or anxiety and stress causing your GI problems', then RUN! RUN! RUN! This is not in your head, Gastroparesis is
a real condition. Time to move onto a new doctor if you are ever told its all in your head.
5. Does Gastroparesis cause pain?
A. Yes. Gastroparesis is a GI motility condition that doesn't allow the motor and nerve functions of
the digestive organs to work properly. You will have pain and how much pain depends on each individual. There are many
medications out there to help ease pain so work with your doctor to find out which ones might work best for you. Heating pads
are also great to help with Gastroparesis pain.
6. Will my Gastroparesis get better or worse?
A-This is a hard question to answer because each patient suffers a different level of Gastroparesis.
Some may have mild GP while others might have a moderate to severe case of Gastroparesis. Depending on your initial diagnosis
and if your GP is from diabetes, surgical, viral, etc will determine if your condition gets better,
stays in remission for long periods of time or gets worse.
- To work or not to work with Gastroparesis? That is the question....
A-Each individual will get to know over time with Gastroparesis his or her limits when it comes
to working. Most either try to continue working at a normal schedule while others might decide to cut back to part-time
hours. You may need to change careers to something easier working around your Gastroparesis or a job working from home.
Your body will let you know when enough is enough and working is making your condition worse. This is
the time you need to sit down with your doctor and explain your concerns with him or her about going on disability. Once you
both have come to a decision I highly recommend using a large law firm either in your area or out of state who can
represent your Social Security Disability case. The best national SSD advocate law firm that represents all 50 states for
Binder & Binder 1-800-66-BINDER/1-800-662-4633
Remember to stay strong, keep the good fight alive and don't panic. You CAN still live
a life with Gastroparesis. Diet changes and finding alternate ways besides medication to help ease symptoms takes time, it
won't happen over night but it will happen. Patience's is a must living a life with Gastroparesis. Now on with your GP
journey and get those boxing gloves laced tight! Life is worth fighting for and you my friend are worth the