Well…here it goes. I have REALLY been mustering up the courage to type this post. The root issue of this post is what has been my mental barrier with writing on a consistent basis. However, I feel that I need to get it out in the open. Out in the open like everything else I write about with Gastroparesis. Today’s topic (which is the hardest thing I have written about to date), the guilt that comes with feeling well the majority of the time in spite of your chronic illness.
This is how I feel. I feel like I am hiding behind a curtain because I don’t want to make anyone feel bad or frustrated that he/she is still struggling with Gastroparesis symptoms. I still have days that I struggle. I’ll still get random muscle spasms that show through the twisted expression on my face. However, I have found a way to feel well 95% of the time. (Let’s hope that I didn’t just jinx myself!) But with feeling well comes an extreme amount of guilt. The guilt of knowing how many others aren’t feeling well. I want so badly to help everyone return to a semi-normal state in life. I don’t want the fact that I feel well to make others think less of themselves. I don’t want others to think, what am I doing wrong? I don’t want others to think, it’s not fair. Here are the facts: you are doing NOTHING wrong and it isn’t fair. It is okay to mad. Heck, it is okay to be furious to the point you want to throw things at the wall. (I sure as heck did, but didn’t have the strength to left a finger.)
It’s this unfairness that causes the guilt. It is such a hopeless feeling. However, the side of this equation that I keep forgetting to look at is this: if I can get better then there is hope. There is hope for all of us. There is hope that needs to be shared in the Gastroparesis community. We need to stop focusing on the gloom and doom and start focusing on hope. Yes, it is NOT easy. Yes, during my darkest days I did not want to hear a word about hope because it seemed impossible. However, I there is hope. You need to know that. You need to believe that. You need to fight your butt off for it.
I don’t want to give false hope to anyone and I definitely don’t want to stray anyone from the advice of his/her medical professionals (doctors, acpunturists, nutritionists, health counselors, etc.) But I will say this, I have found a few key elements which have helped me tremendously and I recommend them to you.
1) Acupuncture. I will swear until the day that I day that acupuncture gave me my quality of life back. My acupuncturist is extremely humble, but he worked so extremely hard to get my digestive system back in order. Many people with Gastroparesis have found success through acupuncture.
2) Cutting out negative, non-supportive, self-centered people out of my life even if they are related. This is just good advice for anyone. If the person drags you down and sucks all the energy out of you then he/she is an “energy vampire”. Ditch them. It is hard but in a few months time you’ll wonder what took you so long.
3) Cut the chemicals out of your diet. If you can’t pronounce it then don’t put in in your system. Eat clean and natural. I’ll save the GMO soapbox for another day. PS…This includes Caffeine & refined sugar!
4) Eliminate stress. This is probably the hardest item on the list because this is the most out of your control. However, the more stress you eliminate the more relaxed your body gets.
5) Keep moving. Even if it is only 3-5 minutes a day of walking in place. Keep those muscles moving because they help in digestion.
6) Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes. I notice a HUGE difference in how I feel when I forget to take these. If you are interested in brands, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There you have it! My 6 keys to hope! (I will not say success, because we all know that Gastroparesis is a moving target and we all define success differently.) However, I cannot stress enough…KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!!
What I have learned through this is this: I shouldn’t struggle with posting about feeling well. I need to post about feeling well to show others living with Gastroparesis, that it is possible to reclaim your life!
If you are doubting, or saying “Millie, you really have gone and lost your mind this time”, I will give you a sneak peak at tomorrow’s post. It will be about how last year, when I started this blog, I could barely find the strength to wash my hair. However, yesterday, I ran 6 miles, took a 2 hour break, and then competed in a kettlebell lifting competition. I lifted 10 kilograms (22 pounds) a total of 120 times in 10 minutes. So if you do the math, I lifted 1200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) after running 6 miles. soooo….THERE IS HOPE!!!
I love you all and thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following this blog!