I started having digestive problems the summer before I began high school. It started off with a minor upset tummy every time I ate and grew over time. With celiac disease in the family, my first instinct was to eliminate gluten and get tested. When this came back negative, we proceeded with more tests to try to pinpoint the source of my nausea and discomfort. I had X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, and multiple endoscopes and colonoscopies. Meanwhile, my symptoms were just getting worse.
It has come to the point where everything that I put in my mouth causes me to be on the floor, crying in pain. I feel extremely full and bloated, like I just ate a 5 course meal. My stomach gets so distended that my mom says I look five months pregnant. I sit by the toilet, salivating with the urge that I am going to be sick. Nothing, not even water, can go down without causing these symptoms. I wake up every morning dreading the thought of having to live another day like this. My energy level is so low that I have learnt how to persevere and smile through the pain.
I visited what felt like a million different doctors and naturopaths, some who felt it was all in my head or that I was a typical teenage girl with an eating disorder. Feeling so defeated, I even started to believe them. My gastroenterologist, who has followed me all these years, felt that I had a severe case of chronic constipation. Therefore, I had to be put on extremely high doses of laxatives to try to clear my system. This just made me feel even worse.
Then one day, after receiving results from a gastric emptying scan, I was diagnosed with low motility. My GI doc proceeded to try multiple medications, even some that weren’t approved for those under 18 years of age. Nothing was helping. I was, however, working with an amazing dietician who was able to bring me back up to a healthier weight without the use of a feeding tube, as I had lost almost 25 pounds on an already fairly small frame.
At this point, I am crying everyday and still unable to eat properly. Distraction and movement help a bit, but I just always feel “down.” Social gatherings are hard because they always revolve around food. I’d like for one minute for everything to not be about food!
Now I have been given some hope, as my GI doc referred me to a specialist in the States. I’m waiting to get a longer gastric emptying study done and then will hopefully be a candidate for a gastric pacemaker to help push food through my system. It’s funny because I am praying for this test to come back with bad news! My family and friends have supported me throughout this tough battle of mine. I couldn’t do it without them. I’m hoping that this will come to an end so that I can enjoy my last year of high school. 🙂
Stay strong everyone who is going through the same thing or worse. We are not alone.
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.