Thankfully there has been wonderful reasons why I have gone M.I.A. the past few weeks. I have been SUCCESSFULLY training for a half marathon that I will be completing in 2 weeks. Whenever someone with Gastroparesis goes M.I.A. for awhile, it is always cause for concern. Are they having a flair? Are they okay? Are they regressing? or…sometimes it does happen…Are they living life?! I am extremely happy to report that the last reason is why I have been M.I.A.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have either been going to the gym or running on the trail. Friday night, I ran 9.25 miles at my best pace ever. I am FINALLY able to push through the barrier without being afraid of triggering a Gastroparesis flair and becoming deathly ill. Friday nights run was one of the best experiences of my life.
Several times throughout the run, I would think back to where I was last year at this time. Those days were filled with not being able to get out of bed, vomiting for hours at a time, frequent IVs, and wondering if I would ever be able to get my life back. Those days were also filled with the fear of potentially needing a gastric stimulator (aka…a pacemaker for your stomach). During my run, I would think of these things and it would drive me to keep moving forward. It was almost as if I was running away from Gastroparesis and trying to stay out of its reach.
I am here to tell you…NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!!! Many of the Gastroparesis groups focus on GP being “incurable”. However, this does not mean that you can’t make changes that will help lead to better days ahead. Yes, I still have bad days but they are becoming few and far between. I have worked extremely hard to revolutionize my diet and have seen life changing results.
Below are some of the things that I have done and am undeniably feeling amazing:
- Almost all chemicals have been removed and I eat all natural. GMOs are hard to cut out completely due to the lack of labeling, but removing as much as possible has reaped huge rewards.
- Cow’s milk has been replaced with Almond milk.
- Coffee is gone gone gone. Tomorrow I will be 3 months free from its addictive powers and this has been one of the best decisions of my life. I still have a minimal amount of caffeine through tea, but my daily caffeine intake has dropped dramatically.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup is removed completely. This means, no more ginger ale. I found this to be much harder to give up than coffee and the withdrawal symptoms were significantly worse, but it was worth it.
- Refined sugar has been replaced with Honey, Pure Maple Syrup, Agave Nectar, & Stevia. It has gotten to the point that refined sugar will give me horrible headaches.
- Eating on a strict schedule…breakfast (w/ protein) at 6:45am, lunch at 11 am, snack (w/ protein) 2:30 pm, dinner 5:15 pm. A snack of berries at either the morning or afternoon depending on when I become hungry. Eating protein at specific intervals of time has really helped my energy level remain stable throughout the day. My favorite snack is an apple with all natural almond butter.
- Replacing sugary sports drinks with all natural ones. Vega Sport is my brand of choice. It has helped give me the power to make it through long runs without making me ill.
- Water, Water, Water, and more Water. I drink approximately 80-100 ounces per day. This has helped me keep my system flushed.
- Going to bed by 10 PM. Getting the proper amount of sleep has given me better results than I would ever admit was possible.
- Taking digestive enzymes & probiatics every day. (Garden of Life is my brand of choice.)
- Last, but certainly not least. ACUPUNCTURE!! I can’t say it enough, acupuncture changed my life. I honestly do not believe that I would be running 9.25 miles at a great pace without having acupuncture over the past several months. If there is one thing off this list that I would recommend above all others it would be to find yourself a good acupuncturist.
They last big piece of advice that I could give is the following: do not try to make all of these changes at once. It is too overwhelming mentally and too much of a shock to your system. Pick one or two items and stick with them for a month and then add a couple of additional items the next month. There are always steps back while you are moving forward, but do not get discouraged, do not give up hope. It is possible to start to feel better, but it will take a lot of determination, hard work, and staying positive through the set backs.
On another note, this post is not to diminish how hard it is for those individuals with severe Gastroparesis. However, if you do have a milder case, I honestly believe that it is possible to feel better the majority of days if you make serious changes.