There’s a common misconception that gastroparesis cannot or does not get better. The fact is, it can and often does. I’ve received countless emails and messages over the past six years from people who were diagnosed with gastroparesis, some of whom were VERY sick, whose conditions have since dramatically improved or even resolved. I’ve decided to share some of these stories — exactly as written, with permission — to illustrate that it IS possible to get better and even recover after a GP diagnosis.
In the past, the question has come up whether these people have proof that their gastric emptying has improved or normalized, or whether they “just” feel better. Some have had follow-up gastric emptying scans, some have not. To my mind, it doesn’t really matter. If they are free of physical symptoms, eating and living as they wish, and they feel that they are better… that’s good enough for me.
These stories are meant to illustrate that gastroparesis is not necessarily a “forever” diagnosis. They are not meant as medical advice or a template for your own healing. Each person’s journey toward living well and/or getting well is unique. However, having worked with hundreds of GPers on this path, there are certainly common themes and practices that you’ll notice come up again and again.
I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in May of 2013. My symptoms started quite suddenly in March of 2013 and two ER visits and several tests later I had an official diagnosis. On May 15, my gastroenterologist diagnosed me with idiopathic GP, gave me prescriptions for erythromycin, Nexium, and zofran, and told me to eat six small low-fat, low-fiber meals a day. That was it.
I was confused, angry and lost. I’d been a vegan and a crossfitter. I had been in great health but now I couldn’t stop losing weight, I couldn’t eat, and I was tired, nauseous and in pain all the time.
Then I found Crystal’s blog, books, Facebook page and videos. I jumped in with both feet and wanted to learn everything I could about GP from her. I started to have hope and could see even small changes making a difference. In the fall of 2013, I took the Living Well with Gastroparesis 12-week course. To say it was a life changer is an understatement.
With the tools I learned in the LWWGP course I was able to maximize my nutrition while still eating GP-friendly meals, reduce my stress, and incorporate complimentary therapies. I made a commitment to actively manage my condition. I gained the courage to try new things, learned to cross them off when they didn’t work and to rejoice in the small victories when they did. I felt better, looked better, and stopped losing weight. I no longer needed the prescription medication and was able to get off proton pump inhibitors with your recommendation of d-limonene. And then in the summer of 2014 things really started to change. I was no longer in management mode but I was now in HEALING mode. I started eating solid foods and I gained weight. Week by week I was feeling better.
Fast forward to today and GP is no longer the focus of my life. Most days it is an after thought. I still use the tools I learned in the LWWGP course to manage my nutrition and stress. And this May I ran a 5K race, something that seemed impossible on the day I learned I had GP.
Crystal, you don’t just change lives. You empower people to change their own lives. Without your resources and your LWWGP course I am certain that I would still be a stressed out GPer eating a high-carb, high-sugar, processed-food diet and that my health would have either have remained the same or declined. I was in danger of being medically retired (I am active duty military), but you gave me the tools that empowered me to be an educated advocate for my health and it turned everything around. Now I am thriving – not just surviving.
So thank you for being an educator, counselor and leader in the GP community. Mine is only one story, but I am sure there are many more out there like me. You gave me hope, knowledge and power, and I am forever grateful.
Thanks for your email and thanks for using my story. Not too much to update – I am still doing so well. This October I took a two week trip to France and England, which is something that seemed unlikely even a year ago. I was careful about what I ate (I still avoid fried foods and alcohol) and focused on the once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was amazing and all the more special considering where I had been two and a half years prior.