Friday, February 6, 2015


Many of us have been ill this winter with colds, the flu, or stomach upset. I, however, have been fighting a complete flare up of gastroparesis - the paralysis of my digestive system. This is not a fun disease. It's maddening!

While I've managed it for nearly six years now with diet, medication for digestive motility, and laxatives (yeah, it ain't pretty), this latest bout came out of the blue - smacked me again in the back side of my head. I never expect it or see warning signs.

None of us with auto-immune disease are clairvoyant; that is, we can never predict when something is going to go awry in our bodies. So we get frustrated and isolated in our pain and distress. We triage ourselves to address the worst ailment first. When I had cancer, that came first and the diagnosis at the same time of Lupus came second even though it caused a lot of complications with my cancer treatment.

"I'm a professional patient," I tell the doctors and nurses in the emergency rooms that I frequent. I tell them what I need (pain meds, please!), what tests need to be run (xrays and/or CT scan), and then I'm given the option to be admitted or not. I usually choose not. This time around, perhaps I should have stayed.

Instead I took the treatments home (didn't work), made numerous calls to my gastroenterologist in New York City (because the local docs say my condition is beyond their area of expertise), adjusted meds and diet, and I am coasting along until invasive testing on Friday the 13th. Harrumph. I'm not superstitious, but really?

I know this is just one more hurdle to hurdle; one more setback from which I will recover. Nevertheless, there is always fear. Chronically ill folks live with fear all their lives - the not knowing is the worst of all. But, somehow, we overcome.

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