I can’t believe it’s only been eight weeks since my second gastric pacemaker surgery. So much has happened since then. I attended the DDNC, my health coaching career has really taken off, and I’ve started working with Dr. John Douillard (more about this soon). I’ve made some great strides and had a few set-backs, but overall I’m really happy with how things are progressing.
Both the frequency and severity of the nausea, pain and vomiting are much improved with the new device. Instead of feeling sick all day, every day, I’m now having more good days than bad ones…and even days when I don’t feel sick at all!
It does seem that I have flare-ups every 2-3 weeks, during which everything stops moving and the regurgitation and stomach pain return. On the upside, while I feel very full during these flare-ups and have to tweak my diet, nausea still isn’t much of an issue. That alone is a huge relief since it allows me to sleep through the night.
While my diet is still fairly limited day-to-day, I am experimenting. Peanut butter & jelly and almond butter & honey on fresh, toasted bread have become staples in my daily diet. I’ve also found that gnocchi settles well. I’ve even been able to add in some true treats here and there. Things like french toast and…cupcakes!
Yes, I’ve had cupcakes (from the amazing Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe) on three occasions now and I’ve found that the key to minimizing symptoms is proper planning. So long as I don’t eat several hours before the cupcake and I limit my fat intake more than usual the rest of the day, I do just fine. Two of the times I didn’t feel so hot a couple hours later (poor planning on my part), but a Zofran and a good nights sleep took care of it. No lingering symptoms. Thank you, Medtronic & Mayo!
So while I cannot say that the Enterra device has allowed me to eat/live/feel completely normal (yet!), all in all, things are much improved and I’m very grateful. I know that this is an on-going process, both in terms of finding the ideal device settings and experimenting with diet and lifestyle habits, so I’ve been keeping careful notes along the way. In doing so, I’ve learned a great deal about what works for me, what doesn’t, and what needs more attention.
Here’s what’s I’ve discovered:
- Stress, anxiety, worrying, etc. really do exacerbate my symptoms, especially stomach pain and nausea.
- Relaxation, meditation, and yoga really do improve my symptoms — both immediately and over time when I practice consistently (something I am becoming more and more focused on).
- While many GPers thrive on 6-8 small “meals” a day, I’ve found that I feel my best when I eat 4 or 5 slightly larger meals. But…
- The amount of food I eat, both at any given time and over the course of a day, is still the biggest factor in how I feel.
- I’m doing well with foods that are a little higher in fat, like nut butters, in moderation. (I’m excited to keep experimenting with this and I’ve added avocados to my to-try list.)
- The combination of my own dietary and lifestyle modifications, plus the Enterra device, and having the Zofran on hand for experiments gone wrong and flare-ups seems to be working well for me.
- Constipation is still a big problem, perhaps even more so with my increased food intake. Much of the nausea that I do experience now is related to either the constipation or the daily laxatives. I’m on the waiting list for the pelvic floor retraining program at the Mayo Clinic and adding that to the combo of remedies I outlined above can only mean even better results!