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Melissa’s Story (Gastroparesis, Colonic Inertia)

Melissa's Story (Gastroparesis) I have gastroparesis and colonic inertia. I have been battling motility problems since I was 15 years old.

My muscles and nerves in my colon do not operate normally, the same with my stomach. My colon was worse. I was on multiple laxatives with no relief.

I recently underwent the risk of a total colectomy. I had my large intestine removed. They attached my small bowel to the rectum.Now I can go to the bathroom up to four times a day.

This illness is out there, but not a lot of people know about it. There is no cure. We just have to manage with medication.

I am happy I went through having my colon removed, even though it is a life changing surgery

Melissa T
Submitted 6-20-2013

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. Kymberly Ludwig

    This message is for Melissa T from Wisconsin. I had been facing the same conditions as you mentioned in your story for 8 months, have gone through several tests (the most recent being colon transit sitz marker study and anal monometry), and was recently diagnosed with slow transit constipation. I was wondering where you did your testing, what surgeon you saw, and where you had your surgery as I am currently attending pharmacy school in Madison. I had my case and medical records sent to the top surgeon and G.I. doctors at Cleveland Clinic in Florida whom recommended the total colectomy for my condition as well. Any feedback would be helpful as I have struggled with this for 8 months now after going through extensive testing. Thanks!

    Kymberly Ludwig (23 year old 1st year student at the College of Pharmacy in Madison, WI)

    • Melissa

      Hi Kimberly,

      My surgeon was Dr. Eugene Foley at UW hospital and clinics. All my testing was done at the UW. Sorry for such a late reply. I hope you are doing ok. I am available on fb if you ever want to talk (Mel Christine).

  2. Donna

    Hi, I am a 55 y/o RN from Florida. I was diagnosed with Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction many years ago. I was on Zelnorm for 2 years and it gave me my life back! Then they pulled ot from the market and NOTHING else I have been prescribed has helped… I have to take large amounts of Milk of Magnesia and 2 Dulcolax pills every night – sometimes I go a lot the next morning, other times I hardly go… Very frustrating. When I do evacuate in the morning, by afternoon my lower abdomen is filled with gas which I cannot pass. I am at the point of requesting a colon resection myself… I just want my life back again.

    • Kymberly Ludwig

      Donna, I noticed your reply on the comment board and I was curious if you did end up requesting a consult with a colorectal surgeon? I recently traveled to Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and had a full workup and consult with an outstanding surgeon who deals with cases of non-functioning colons on a daily basis. After my consult, the surgeon said what I knew was inevitable, that essentially my colon wasn’t going to work again and the best treatment option for this diagnosis is having the total abdominal colectomy. She reassured me that there have been several successful cases from the surgery and that at a young age, she felt I could recover optimally and live a better quality of life. I too have tried every type of laxative and have been suffering through this for almost 9 months. Cleveland Clinic is one of the top colorectal surgery centers in the U.S. so I trust my surgeon here greatly and I know her expertise is valid. I send prayers your way and I hope it all works out for you!


    • Diane

      Did you have your colon removed? Are you better?

      A friend

      • Melissa

        I did have my colon removed and I am doing a lot better.

  3. Diane

    I am 55 years old and have was diagnosed with colonic inertia in 2009. I had my colon removed in 2009 and a colon was made from my intestines. This helped me for 2 years. Now I have the same problem. I had to retire after 20 years of working. All the life changing medical problems have sent me into depression. I am on pain medicine for the chronic stomach pain. When you look at my CT all you see is masses of black. This is causing pressure on my bladder which causes so much pain. I have had surgery two times for stomach blockages. One time the dr said I could have died. I just got remarried to a wonderful man. We bought a beautiful house. It is so disheartening to be so sick I can’t enjoy my life. I am at my wits end. Pain medicine does not help. I can’t sleep. I know my only hope is God and I have failed Him so much I feel so hopeless. It is terrible to hear other people going through the same thing. I wish I could help all of you.

  4. Sherry Day

    Hi, I’m a 39 year old woman, but I feel so much older. I have battled depression my whole life, and two years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, bone spurs, and arthritis in my neck. In the same month I was also diagnosed with gerd, ibs, a hiatal hernia, chronic gastritis, gastroparesis, and colon inertia. I’m trying laxatives and lots of fluid, but unfortunately it’s not helping, and it seems to be affecting my bladder also. Last month I lost the ability to continue my career of the last eight years as an animal groomer. My career, and my family have been my whole life. I have lost one of those, and feel like a burden on my family. It’s very hard to have so much guilt, and to be terrified about my health. I know that there are people who are in much worse shape than myself, and I am amazed at their strength. I try to stay positive, but it’s very hard these days. Thank you for sharing your stories, and for letting me share mine, sending gentle hugs to all my fellow warriors.

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