Tag Archives: Diet

Gastric Emptying Test Results (WIAW Edition)

First of all… Happy Wednesday! We are (almost) half way through the week! 🙂

Second of all, yesterday I wrote a guest post for the lovely Olivia at Liv Lives Life while she was on vacation. In my post I share 5 Surprising Foods That Contain Eggs. It’s a must-read for vegans, those with egg allergies/intolerances, or just for people looking for some interesting tid bits.

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Next up I need to share a health update because I realized yesterday I have been promising that for a week or two now and have failed to deliver. I’m just going to throw it all out there and then move on because I’m still kind of frustrated with this whole thing… ready? 😉

(This is obviously not your usual WIAW, but as always thanks to Jenn for hosting this weekly party!)

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Okay. So two and a half weeks ago approximately I went in to have a gastric emptying study performed at my local hospital. A gastric emptying study is basically where you eat food that has been injected with radioactive markers and then for 1-4 hours depending on that particular hospital’s protocol they x-ray your stomach to track how fast it is digesting the food. They usually will feed you a few eggs but in my case I had to bring in my own gluten-free oatmeal because of my egg and wheat allergies.

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At 7:00AM that morning I went the hospital with my mom and checked in. 30 minutes later the nurse took me back to a preparation room where she made my oatmeal in a styrofoam cup and I ate it while answering some basic health questions about my symptoms. The nurse asked if I wanted any sugar or splenda which I politely declined. She was quite impressed by my ability to eat all of the oatmeal. At one point she actually said “Try your hardest to get it down.” I was slightly confused. I’ve always preferred plain oatmeal and since I hadn’t had it in forever (on account of hit hurting my stomach) I was glad for an excuse to have some.

After I ate the oatmeal I asked if she wanted me to just throw it away. She quickly said no and pulled out a brand new trash bag to put it in. I didn’t quite understand until she tied up the bag and put it in a radioactive waste bin and secured the lid. I laughed and told her that I almost forgot that it was full of harmful chemicals.

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When the prep was done she took me back to a dark room where a kind of futuristic machine was located. I had to lay down on a skinny, padded slab and she put in elbow props and a pillow beneath my knee so I was more comfortable. Then she raised the platform so I was high off the ground, and moved me forward so that my stomach was beneath the white x-ray contraption. She told me that it would last 1 1/2 hours and that it would go by quickly if I tried to fall asleep.

Well, I wish I had known that before or I wouldn’t have worn my contacts. I did manage to fall asleep a few times, but each time I did I had pretty crazy dreams about pizza, my stomach being a monster and trying to eat me… and probably even more but I forget now.

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The 1 1/2 hours passed by quite slowly but eventually I was done and she lowered the slab so that I could get off. After that she walked me back out to my mom in the waiting room and we left.

Then I just waited to hear back my results from the hospital.

That next week I called in and after a wild goose chase of me calling them, them calling me, my mom calling them, them calling me… I finally got through to hear my results. The nurse told me that my gastric emptying study showed delayed (or slow) gastric emptying.

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Gastroparesis is the technical term for delayed gastric emptying.

*I put an asterisk by the symptoms that I frequently have below.

The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are:

  • Chronic nausea (sometimes)
  • Chronic diarrhea (or constipation)*
  • Vomiting (especially of undigested food)

Other symptoms include:

  • Palpitations (sometimes)
  • Heartburn*
  • Abdominal pain*
  • Abdominal bloating*
  • Erratic blood glucose levels (I have been able to control this with lower sugar meals)
  • Lack of appetite*
  • Gastroesophageal reflux*
  • Spasms of the stomach wall*

Morning nausea may also indicate gastroparesis. Vomiting may not occur in all cases, as sufferers may adjust their diets to include only small amounts of food (this would be me, but thankfully while I have severely limited my diet to prevent nausea most of the time, I am getting enough calories in to maintain my weight and energy for the most part)*

Source: wikipedia

Here are some common complications due to gastroparesis:

  • Fluctuations in blood glucose due to unpredictable digestion times (in diabetic patients)
  • General malnutrition due to the symptoms of the disease (which frequently include vomiting and reduced appetite) as well as the dietary changes necessary to manage it
  • Severe fatigue and weight loss due to calorie deficit
  • Intestinal obstruction due to the formation of bezoars (solid masses of undigested food)
  • Bacterial infection due to overgrowth in undigested food

Source: Again, wikipedia. They are just too helpful sometimes 🙂

There are a variety of treatment options, including:

  • Medication
  • Low fiber, low fat diet
  • Smaller meals
  • Liquid diet
  • FODMAPS diet
  • Surgery

Source: just general research on the subject matter

When the nurse told me that I had slow gastric emptying, she also said that I would need to schedule an appointment to speak with my doctor about medication options. Reglan and Domperidone were the two that she mentioned if I remember correctly.

I still haven’t been in to see the doctor since I live a few hours away and she is only available during the week with regular business hours. The other reason is that I kind of don’t have any plans to take the medicine that she is wanting to prescribe me.

That may sound crazy to some of you because of how much I complain about my stomach but just hear me out.

While gastroparesis may sound like a diagnosis, it’s really not. Much like IBS slow/rapid gastric emptying is just an umbrella diagnosis. There is no known cause for idipathic gastroparesis (slow gastric emptying without diabetes or surgery being the probably root problem) although there is much speculation.

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Gastroparesis just like my food allergies is most likely the result of some bigger cause like leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, autoimmune disease, diabetes, etc. Medication will not heal me. It would just mask the symptoms somewhat if it actually was effective.

And that’s another portion of why I don’t really want to take the medicine. Reglan in particular is meant to be a short term medication used for only a few weeks.

wiaw-gp-reglan

Reglan can also have some terrible side effects:

  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Parkinson-like symptoms
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches

Source: Health Central

wiaw-gp-side-effects

So you can see why I’m not too keen on taking it, right? Plus, it wouldn’t cure the underlying cause of all of my problems which is my ultimate goal.

I have been looking into some gastroparesis blogs for tips though on managing the symptoms. Most are ones that I already try to follow but I will let you guys know if I find anything particularly useful.

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There are many who say that they are amazed that I deal with the daily stomach pain, but I feel like this picture from Pinterest explains my thoughts on the matter perfectly:

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Just share your thoughts for today!

Whatever you want. Inspirational quotes. What you ate for WIAW. Your plans for the rest of the week. I’m all ears 🙂

A Bit of Randomness (Stomach Update + An Award!)

Thanks so much for everyone’s comments on my last WIAW: What You Need to Know About Your Produce. There was some great discussion and questions going on. Lots of learning all around!

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So today was supposed to be a good day (Thursday). Both of my classes were cancelled for tomorrow due to final exams next week, and I had the highly ambitious plan to pack up after my last class today and drive home for a three day weekend.

Then I had lunch.

Hold up. Let’s rewind a bit. So, I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping you all updated with how GAPS is going for me and what the status is on my stomach healing protocol. The main reason is that not much has changed. I am still only eating meat and a very minimal selection of vegetables. Soup is still on the menu for every meal of the day.

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Like I said last time though, I am better. My stomach is not always as bloated as it once was.

But that is about as far as the results have gone.

The biggest problem is that I just can’t tolerate probiotics. Not the pill form nor the naturally occurring probiotics that you find in food like sauerkraut. For awhile I thought that I might be able to, but then when I kept on getting worse I had to cut them out again. Recently I’ve been taking small amounts of beet kvass along with ox bile for fat digestion because that’s not going so well either.

A lot of words and not much to report. In past posts though I’ve held back a little bit with what my symptoms are. The main reason is because I don’t want to complain. I still don’t want to complain and I’m trying to keep this post as sarcastic-free as possible. However, I did say awhile back that I was going to be more honest and right now with my stomach feeling terrible (from the aformentioned quote of “And then I ate lunch.”), I guess there isn’t any better time than now.

I don’t know a good way to go about this so I am just going to ramble on a bit more. Here it goes, my symptoms for the breakdown: bloating caused by anything from no identifiable causes to perhaps eating too many vegetables or “too large” of meals (think of a full soup bowl as “too large”… 🙁 ), stomach pain if my meals are “too large” or again from hidden causes, alternating extreme bowel issues (severe pain from either side of the spectrum that may last a few days on end and wake me up in the middle of the night), acid reflux/burning feeling, the feeling of a heavy stomach, nausea, trouble staying asleep occasionally, irregular periods now persisting for about 15 months (I think I’ve had maybe four since then with one induced by artificial hormones from an OBGYN…. never again!), brain fog and trouble concentrating (<< these have both decreased significantly though since eliminating my allergies), mood swings, stomach cramps….

I’m probably forgetting a few but these are the only ones that I can remember right now. On a good day I only experience a few of these things. However on an extremely bad day all of these symptoms may plague me.

That does not mean that I am giving up GAPS. I still believe that it is the only thing that is helping me right now stay away from everyday being an “extremely bad day.”

It was 15 months ago that all of my problems started. I’ve seen 2 GI doctors, an allergist, a pediatrician,  a chiropractor (my GAPS practitioner right now), a holistic nurse, and an OBGYN. I was prescribed multiple medicines by the first GI doctor, none of which worked. I had several blood tests run along with other common procedures like two ultrasounds and a colonoscopy/endoscopy (with mild gastritis diagnosis). I’ve taken dozens of supplements. I’ve eliminated about 90% of the food I used to eat including all of my allergens (wheat, rye, peanut, egg, dairy, tomato, celery).

I feel like I’ve done everything under the sun with still no answers. I feel like no one understands.

But that isn’t true, is it? There are many out there that have it worse off than me. They truly have no one around that understands or cares.

And that’s why I know that I’m not giving up. Not even close.

Actually, I have another possible test coming up soon and I’m going to schedule another GI appointment if nothing shows up with that.

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With that done I don’t really have anything left to say as far as my stomach goes. If you read through all of that above, I’m sorry because I think I failed at my attempt to not complain. I’m also sorry because more than once I probably provided you with too much information (And despite what some people may say, there is totally a thing such as TMI!).

I digress though, and not so subtly I will move onto another topic entirely.

Because that’s what I do. I randomize the heck out of my blog posts.

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I think the first half of my Friday post was a teensy bit depressing. Okay, maybe a lot. So to balance it all out, I’m going to share something super fun!

A survey! 

This actually came at the perfect time in my opinion because nothing can brighten a dreary day like a good old-fashioned survey. This survey comes from Holly at Eat Great Be Great who nominated me for the Liebster Award. I’ve already been nominated for this before; however, that’s not going to stop me from doing it again 😉 You can read more about the origins of this highly prestigious award on one of my previous posts.

In case you don’t click over though, these are the rules:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers (as best as you can tell based on the info provided!). They should be bloggers that you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers that you nominated to answer.
  6. Let all of the bloggers know that they’ve been nominated.  You cannot nominate the blogger that nominated you.

#1 Completed above, but in case you haven’t already, go check out Holly’s blog! I dug around on her blog a bit today and discovered two awesome posts explaining the health benefits of avocado and ginger. Very informative.

#2 I would say that I shared way more than 11 random facts about me above so I will save myself from overstaying my welcome and just count those 🙂

#3- My favorite part- The Questions!

1. Are you a city girl or a country girl? I think I may have mentioned this on the blog before, but I am a total country girl. I live down a long gravel driveway surrounded by acres of cornfields, my backyard is comprised of a nice thick woods complete with creek, and in high school I was involved with FFA (Future Farmers of America). Also, my high school had drive your tractor to school day which is quite the sight to see and as a member of FFA we got to vote on the best ones!

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2. What’s your favorite movie? I really dislike this question as it is SO hard to pick a favorite. So instead I am going to just go with the last movie I watched- Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman. Loved it!

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3. What’s your favorite color? Pink.

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4. If you’re stranded on a desert island, what are your 3 MUST have items?

  • A flint striker to start a fire.
  • A knife to crack open all of those coconuts and dig into the gourmet fish that I would cook over the fire every night…
  • And a water filter. You may laugh, but try drinking sea water for days straight and see how you feel then!

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5. What’s your favorite food? Heh. I feel like because I haven’t had real food in so long I can cheat on this and list a few things: peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (bet you didn’t see that one coming…), bananas, baked sweet potatoes, and shrimp.

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6. What’s your favorite destination vacation? Just in the United States I would love to go to California again. Globally though I think it would be so much fun to visit China- the fresh food, the culture, just everything about China fascinates me.

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7. Do you have any siblings? Yes. A younger brother.

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8. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla, especially if we are talking cake and ice cream.

liebster-vanilla

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9. Who is the most important person in your life? Of course I would say my parents and brother. But I would also have to include my best friend who I just got off the phone with. A nice long phone call is just what I needed.

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10. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning person as in a perfect world I would be able to go to sleep at 9:00 every night.

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11. What’s your favorite day of the week and why? Fridays. There is just so much promise for the weekend. I was always one of those people who preferred the long car rides before and after vacations more than the vacation itself. Weird. I know.

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#4: 11 Blogs That I Love (Yes I have already tagged most of you. However, this doesn’t make me feel guilty in the slighetst because I think you totally deserved this award AGAIN)-

  1. Meghan @ Clean Eats Fast Feets
  2. Meghan @ After the Ivy League
  3. Caitlin @ Chasing Chels
  4. Jessie @ Jessie Bear What Will You Wear
  5. Sarah @ Picky Runner
  6. Alex @ The Run Within
  7. Hannah @ Clean Eating Veggie Girl
  8. Olivia @ Liv Lives Life
  9. Claire @ Flake and Cake
  10. Anna @ Anna the Apple
  11. Rebecca @ Half-Baked Bec
  12. Edited to add Taylor…How could I forget this awesome new blogger @ Moves and Movies?
  13. If I didn’t nominate you, please do this anyways because you all deserve it!

#5: Now my list of questions… Muahaha!

  1. What time zone do you live in? Eastern Standard Time.
  2. Who is your favorite superhero? Batman.
  3. Is is hot or cold where you live now? Getting warmer!
  4. What is your favorite kind of chip? Sour Cream and Onion or Sour Cream and Cheddar.
  5. If you could invent a new kind of jelly bean flavor, what would it be? Peanut butter and jelly.
  6. Do you prefer swimming in the ocean or swimming in lakes? Ocean!
  7. What book have you reread the most times? The last Harry Potter installation.
  8. What is your dream car? A VW Bug.
  9. If you were given 1 million dollars right now, what kind of business would you start? An allergy-free bakery.
  10. If you could have a miniature version of any animal for a pet, what would you pick? I would want a mini elephant!
  11. What is your least favorite color? Red.

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Comment on anything you like! Answer one of the multiple questions above, or share a little bit of randomness!