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Carole’s Story (Gastroparesis)

Carole's Story (Gastroparesis)My name is Carole Garrison and I am 22 years old. I live in the upstate of South Carolina and six years ago I was hit head on by a drugged driver that forever left me with permanent injuries. I thought it was the toughest battle of my life to come back from that but I was so wrong.

In February of 2013, I came down with what we thought was a regular old stomach virus. Unfortunately it didn’t go away. I was finally hospitalized after several doctors failed to stop the severe nausea and vomiting I was experiencing. After running every test in the book on me, all they could tell me was what was NOT wrong with me.

Finally, I took part in a stomach emptying test which revealed my stomach is no longer functioning as it should. I was diagnosed with a disease called gastroparesis (which means stomach paralysis) and because they could not find the cause it was deemed idiopathic.

I suffer daily with this disease. My stomach doesn’t digest properly causing my diet mainly consists of pureed foods such as baby food and rice. I can no longer eat my favorite meals because my stomach is unable to digest it. As a result of my gastroparesis, I have lost around 30 pounds and I am slowly but surely losing my hair. I vomit everyday throughout the day and experience debilitating nausea around the clock. I take a cocktail of medications (some that aren’t even on the market yet) that all have serious side effects. As a result, I sleep most of my day away and have very little energy to function. The doctor I’ve been seeing has pretty much given up on any hope for me so I will be traveling in October three and a half hours away to visit a specialist. I am in college trying to pursue a career as a nurse. I fight daily for my right to live.

South Carolina
Submitted 09/15/2013

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. Dorthy

    Wow your story sounds so familiar. I hope they find your cause. For me I had sphincter of oddi dysfunction and traveled 4 hrs to see dr Evan fogel at Indiana university. He is amazing!!! I am now on duragesic patches which has allowed me to maintain my wright after a 30 pound loss. Prayers for a effective treatment. I too am in nursing school so good luck!!!

  2. Karen

    Carole, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. It’s a tough hand to have been dealt. Just wanted to share with you an idea that helped me through intense chemo and radiation this year. Do you know anyone who uses Isagenix or shakeology? They’re each part of a diet plan, and Isagenix is actually a great source of nutrition as a meal replacement. It isn’t expensive when you compare it against a grocery bill. I don’t sell it, and I have no vested interest in it, but I’m telling you that the liquid nutrition I received from it may have made the difference between life and death for me. My oncology team was amazed at how well I did and how great my skin looked despite the radiation treatments that were burning the heck out of my fellow patients faces and necks. I wouldn’t take the time to suggest it if I really don’t believe in it. Keep fighting like a girl… You can do it!

    • jen

      Dorothy -I also got diagnosed with a spinchter of oddi dysfunction , and now I have gastropheresis a year later … is there any relation?-jen

  3. Stephanie

    Carole you are a strong, strong girl! So proud of your for being such a fighter!

  4. Kristi


    This sounds very much like my store with GP, just diagnosed four days ago. I love to hear that you are pursuing a career in nursing, as I am also a nurse. It was hard to take a step back and be a patient for a few days instead of the one providing care. I have lost 14 lbs in 9 days and cannot eat. I am existing on baby food, Gatorade, and applesauce which I am sure will soon love to hate. There are some great doctors here in Philly and am lucky to have received a diagnosis of GP in just weeks compared to years from what I have been reading. You are an inspiration. Each story I read, mostly women, inspires me to push through and get to work and participate in as much daily life as possible. I can only stay on the couch so long. Sucks that I put up a front in public and am suffering inside but until it’s more under control it is what I have to do. Good luck and remember, take your patent’s stories with you and they will help you through these tough times. Good luck and stay strong!

  5. Whitney

    I have the same thing, and understand how you feel. I am 24 and in college for Animation, and I find just GETTING to class can be hard. For me the worst is not getting sick every day it is walking around the store trying to find SOMETHING I can MAYBE eat. It feels like slowly starving, I guess that IS what it is, but we are STRONG! We are GIRLS! And we wont let a lil thing like THIS dictate how we live our lives. We will finish school, we will get our dream jobs, and we will HAVE our Happy Ending. =D

  6. jen

    Is there a relation between spinchter of oddi dysfunction and gastropheresis

  7. Laura

    So sorry to hear of your condition. I also have gastroparisis. I had it first for seven years also from a virus. Doctors did t do much. Amazing, when I was pregnant it went away. 8 yrs after my pregnancy I got sick again and it came back. We found that a progesterone only birth control pill help as does an aspirin. I haven’t gotten back to normal as I did with my pregnancy but I do have my life back. None of this is documented, it was just a bunch from my dr that it might help. Maybe it will help you too?

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