My number one tip for living well with GP is to keep moving forward. ~Becky
Meet Becky Stelwagen. Becky is a “graduate” of the LWWGP Group Program and she’s all about living WELL. Becky has been training with me for over two years and I’m happy to announce that she is now an independent LWWGP Coach and Mentor.
If you’re looking for one-on-one help with the basics of a comprehensive gastroparesis management plan, or if you’d like a knowledgeable, supportive guide as you undertake the Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis Program, visit the Coaching page to learn more.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a lifelong resident of Michigan. My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years, and together for 10. He is one of my closest friends, and strongest supporters. We have two children that we hold in our hearts, our daughter Skylar and our precious Temby. We are currently in the process of growing our family through adoption.
When were you diagnosed with GP?
I was officially diagnosed with Idiopathic Gastroparesis in 2005; however, I think it’s possible that I have had it much longer than that. In addition to GP I have Fibromyalgia, Migraines, IBS, and GERD. My newest challenge is dealing with anxiety due to trauma and grief.
Tell us a little bit about your own GP management plan.
When I first started my journey towards living well I was overweight, incredibly sick, and overwhelmed. I could barely get out of bed or walk up the stairs. Since taking the Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis Program in 2013 I have lost 70 pounds and drastically changed my lifestyle. This, of course, did not happen overnight. Using the resources Crystal provided in the program I was able to implement one small change at a time. I made slow, but steady progress!
One change led to another change and eventually I could see the bigger picture. My management plan has grown tremendously over the last couple of years- so much so that gastroparesis is no longer at the center of it. I’d say my focus has shifted from having a gastroparesis management plan to creating overall healthy lifestyle habits. These include eating a real food nutrient-rich diet, daily exercise, at home physical therapy, getting outside and soaking up the fresh air, unplugging once a week, practicing deep breathing, EFT tapping for stress management, and TRE- Trauma Release Exercises.
I do still have occasional symptoms and flare-ups. When one of my other illnesses acts up or stressful life circumstances are thrown at me, my gastroparesis flares and reminds me that it’s still there. These GP symptoms are nothing like they used to be. They last a few hours (a day at most) and no longer dictate the quality of my life. Rather, I see the symptoms as temporary discomfort. The good news is that I am off all my medications, I’m eating a huge variety of non GP-friendly foods including raw fruits and vegetables, and I have more energy. I am physically stronger and doing more that I dreamed possible. I even ran a 5K and recently joined a gym.
How do you live WELL with GP?
Living well with GP to me begins with acceptance. It’s also about having a positive attitude and embracing change. Being diagnosed with gastroparesis, or any illness, is life changing. It’s easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed when you think about what you have to give up. I learned that it’s important to focus on what I’m gaining rather than dwelling on what I’ve lost. For me personally, gratitude is an essential part of how I live WELL.
One of the things I did when I began to live well was to develop a new passion, or a hobby. I wanted something I could enjoy, even on my bad days. I became interested in photography. It was a great way to add some joy back into my life. Even on my bad days I was able to sit in a chair at the beach or the park and take photos. At events that centered on food I used my camera as a distraction and a way to feel included. Photography is still something that brings me joy. I love gaining a new perspective every time I view the world through a different lens!
The biggest thing that I have learned about living well is to keep moving forward. That’s my number one tip for living with GP. Just keep moving. “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means keep moving.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
What else do you like to do in your spare time?
In addition to photography I love scrapbooking, making cards, and paper quilling. I love to curl up with a good book! I prefer books to movies and TV, but I’ll always be a huge Survivor Fan. I really enjoy working out and being active. When the weather is nice I walk 3-5 miles a day. I also spend a lot of time at the gym. My favorite thing at the gym is the elliptical. I look forward to my weekly date day with my husband. It’s something that’s really important to me. We enjoy hiking and recently discovered that we both like running. I love doing anything outdoors and spending time in nature. The beach is one of my favorite places to go!