When I was little I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be, I might have been only 5 or 6 when I was dead set on being a marine biologist (though I could hardly pronounce the words). I rented book after book on marine life, rented documentaries from the library, watched the discovery channel and listened to it like it was a sermon, the day I got to swim with dolphins was what little me considered the achievement of a life time. Of course as you grow up you realize you have to think more practically and wanting to be a marine biologist when you live in West Virginia is not what I would consider realistic. After that I jumped around a lot in career ideas: author, artist, psychologist, forensic scientist, GI doctor, and then finally in high school after my time in speech and debate I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.
I started the online courses for Criminal Justice in the fall from my local community college since I wasn’t health enough to go off to college. I had planned on switching to Legal Studies once I was healthy enough to take the classes at college. The only issue with that was instead of feeling better from my ileostomy surgery, I started feeling just as bad as before except I was throwing up quite a bit, my stomach was hurting and I was tired all the time. I assumed it was my Crohn’s but my sedrate and CRP seemed to be doing good (thankfully), but that left me with a question: If my Crohn’s wasn’t causing this problem then what was?
I had always had issues with nausea and a small appetite even when I was little, but this was worse than normal, and the throwing up was awful, especially since I was still recovering from my abdominal surgery.
While my GI and primary guessed at options, I tried to keep up with my school work but it was a lot different than High School. In high school they expected us to memorize what they told us and regurgitate the information back to them, but in college they wanted us to apply the knowledge we were learning into real life scenarios… to be frank, I was lost and unprepared. On top of the constant fatigue and nausea, it left me staring at a computer screen trying to remember what I had just read but with no luck. I was finding myself having to rewrite the notes over and over again, use a text to speech app so I could hear the words and read along, I high lighted and color coded everything in hopes I would retain it, but I could still barely remember what I read. I was good enough at writing that I could essentially “bullshit” my way through essays, but had it not been for my meticulous notes, I can’t say I would’ve made it through the tests. It was horrible, especially considering I had been a straight A student all through school and now I found myself settling for B’s and C’s.
Eventually my GI said he thought that I might have gastroparesis and ordered a gastric emptying screening. (I later discovered that when I was younger they had did a gastric emptying screening on me which also revealed I had delayed gastric emptying, just not bad enough to the point where I was throwing up.)
I managed to keep the food down for the test but after 4 hours of laying with nausea, nothing had passed. They let me go, in which cases I immediately went to the bathroom and got sick. And naturally, the test came back showing gastroparesis. My doctor put me back on NG feeds, but they didn’t really work and instead I got sick within 2 days. It wasn’t until 4 months later they would do a botox injection procedure in hopes of helping.
Until then I was stuck with the gastroparesis diet which consisted of “You can basically eat whatever you want, but you won’t like tasting it the second time.”