It’s been four days since my last post. The past four days have been full of trials. I had surgery 19 days ago to revise my gastric stimulator. For those who haven’t been following my blog, I have gastroparesis. My stomach does not digest food and push it into my small intestines the way it is supposed to. Instead, my food sits there and I vomit it back up. My previous stimulator had raised my stomach’s ability to empty from 30% to 70%. That’s still not perfect, but at least I was beginning to be able to eat again. However, the gastric stimulator somehow started shocking my diaphragm, the muscle that controls breathing, and was causing me shoulder and chest pain, along with breathing issues that were causing me to be dizzy a lot. So, the doctor had to turn it off a month or two ago. This time, they went in and removed the lead wires from the front stomach wall and placed new ones in the back stomach wall. Since they put the wires in a new location, they had to turn the stimulator battery back down low and slowly start turning it back up until they find the best setting for me. Since surgery, I’ve not been able to hold anything down. I’m trying simple things like chicken broth, applesauce, jello, and Gatorade, but I’m still vomiting. As you might imagine, I’ve been very tired because I’m not getting any energy from food. I’m surviving though. I spend my waking hours playing online games and reading my Bible. I’ve tried knitting, but I’m having horrible hand cramps, which makes that difficult.
I recently finished a month of self-care journaling and have started a February project. This month my friends at The Mighty have asked me to focus on happiness. Today, although I may be tired and I may be vomiting, I heard something that made me really happy. Now for those of you that don’t have gastroparesis, this may sound crazy, but what I heard today was my stomach growl. I can’t remember the last time I heard my stomach growl. With my stomach not emptying, I don’t get hungry and I rarely hear it make any noise. My home care nurse listens with a stethoscope and says I have the quietest stomach/abdomen she has ever listened to. The fact that I heard my stomach growling gives me hope that even though the stimulator is turned down low and I’m still vomiting, maybe it’s beginning to help and maybe my vomiting is going to slow down. Maybe they won’t have to turn it up as high in the new location and I won’t have to get the battery replaced as often.
Not only have I been recovering from surgery, I also had to deal with a stopped up picc line. Five days after surgery, I had to go to ER to see if they could get my picc line to flush so I could get IV fluids. Thankfully, they were able to put some medicine in and get it opened up.
Yes, life gets messy at times. We are faced with unexpected challenges. We get tired. We wonder how we are going to get through it. However, there’s always tomorrow to look forward to. Some days are better and some days are worse. We just have to keep moving forward.