Okay, I’ll admit that the title of this post is extremely long but it just seemed like the right thing to title it!
I have some VERY exciting non-gastroparesis news that I have to share. I got engaged!! WOOHOO!! Finding that special someone and getting engaged is a special moment for anyone. However, I would say that it is even more special for someone with a chronic illness. When you have a chronic illness, that special someone is signing up for A LOT more than most people. They are signing up for frequent doctors’ visits, frequent medical tests, crazy diets, taking over all of the chores because your illness flairs up. Our significant others are AMAZING to stay with us throughout all of this. They know what they are signing up for and rise to the occasion and say that it will be okay.
My fiance (yes, it is going to take awhile to get used to saying that, but I like it!) and I have been together for about two years. Within the first two months of dating is when I became extremely ill. (Actually, extremely is an understatement.) Within these first two months, he took me for a colonoscopy. A few months later, he took me for an endoscopy. A month or so later he was checking in on me while I spent a half day at the hospital getting x-rayed after eating radioactive eggs. He took me for countless IVs. He carried me to bed. He carried me to the bathroom. He walked my dog. He cleaned my apartment. He did my dishes. He did my “grocery shopping” which basically consisted of ginger ale. He never mentioned how bad I smelled because I didn’t have the energy to bathe. He calmly repeated himself while I was in brain fog and couldn’t retain any information. He did all of this while maintaining his own residence and never once complained.
He has tried countless diet modifications in support of me. He has cheered me on at the finish line of 5Ks and half marathons that I shouldn’t be able to run due to Gastroparesis. He is my rock and has been calm and supportive as I have struggled with my health. He never tells me what to do, but listens to me work through the decisions. He encourages me to keep living life and to not give up.
I can honestly say that every day I think of how lucky I am to have him because I have no idea how I would have navigated this path without him.
Now I can celebrate that I will have my rock with me for the rest of my life. Oh…and a rather nice rock on my finger as well!
Today I have one simple question, “Where did the energy go?” I would really like to know. Although I did need quite a few naps throughout my chores this weekend. However, I feel like someone pulled the plug or hid the batteries. I can barely open my eyes.
I’ve written about this topic a handful of times, but it is one that continues to haunt me. I’ll be on fire getting things done for a couple of hours and then have to take a recovery nap for 3-4 hours. It absolutely amazes/dumbfounds/confuses me. I feel that my body is still in recovery mood from becoming ill on Thursday night. I’ve also been battling stomach cramping this morning which has not been fun. I wonder if our bodies put us in hibernation mode so that we don’t feel the pain.
This weekend I took my prescription strength Vitamin D pill. I’m only supposed to take 1 per week so I can only imagine how much Vitamin D is jammed into that little pill. However, I think that it is having the opposite effect of what it is supposed to. Vitamin D is supposed to help with your energy and brain function, but both of mine have tanked.
I feel like a slug. This feeling is the part of Gastroparesis that I have the hardest time with. I can accept the pain, nausea, vomiting, etc. However, I can’t stand the feeling of knowing that things need to be done and I am rendered useless on my couch. My brain doesn’t want to cooperate enough to even watch some TV shows. As a result, I have been laying there falling in and out of sleep listening to a bird in the back yard sing and my dog snore. Both very pleasant sounds, but not as pleasant as actually getting work done, making my smoothie, reading a book, putting a glass in a dishwasher, or really doing anything at all.
I couldn’t stand laying there anymore so I did what I always do to try to break the spell. I set myself a goal to accomplish just 1 thing and then hope that the 1 thing will lead to more. If not, it will at least wear me out enough to go back to sleep and not think about being unproductive. So I decided to hobble over to my computer and type today’s blog.
Hopefully, it is turning out coherent because I think I see the GP Elves fluffing my pillow for me. Maybe they can drive me to my acupuncture appointment in hopes of it knocking this bad energy and cramping out of me!
A funny thing happens with Gastroparesis. (Okay, you are right. MANY funny things happen with Gastroparesis but today we will focus on just on.) You actually get excited when you feel like doing chores! Yes, you heard me correctly. You are so happy to be scrubbing some dishes, vacuuming the floor, doing some laundry, or grooming your dog. You are so happy that you think at any moment the cartoon birds will show up to hang your laundry on the clothes line. The cartoon squirrels and rabbits will surely be coming to visit and scrub your floors. So in my mind, I looked like the photo below even though I’m not a huge Disney fan. In fact, instead of Disney I was singing along to some great 80s New Wave music!
(Photo Courtesy of Disney)
You have such limited energy with Gastroparesis that you try to get by completing as few chores as possible. For me this is easy since I live with a “chore-a-holic”. He loves chores and stays on top of them. (Well, I don’t know if he loves chores or loves not having them turn into projects. We took an informal vote of our friends and received inconclusive results.) He also takes AMAZING care of me so that I am not spending my limited energy on chores. This way I can still work, see friends once in awhile, and try to get some exercise in. (Not being active really does a number on me mentally. More on this in future blogs.) I am so thankful for him because I really have no idea how I would get by without him (especially when I am going through a Gastroparesis flair!).
However, sometimes it’s nice to pick up the pre-GP routine of waking up on Saturday and cleaning up the house. It’s nice to sleep in until my body decides it’s ready to roll out of bed, make some coffee, open the windows, put on some tunes, and get to work. It feels like you have contributed to maintaining the home. It feels like you are “normal”. It feels like you aren’t a total bum “chore sponging” off your “chore-a-holic” fantastic boyfriend. In short, it feels AMAZING!
Maybe the spring air is giving me an extra energy boost. Maybe succeeding with “Gluten-Free April” is giving me an energy boost. Maybe the acupuncture is giving me a boost. Maybe listening to my dog have a blast with her squeaker toy is giving me a boost. Maybe savoring my last month(s) of coffee is giving me a boost. Or maybe it’s because my “chore-a-holic” boyfriend got up early to do errands at the store and there where actually chores left for me when I woke up! No matter what the cause of the boost, I’ll take it and mark today as a win against Gastroparesis!
(No wildlife was harmed or treated to unfair working conditions during my morning. Although my dog did catch a squirrel last night, so she had to do double duty today! POOR SQUIRREL!)