Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Chasing for Answers- My Gastroparesis Diagnosis Story

I have been meaning to start "The Hopeful Chronic" for some time now, although weeks flew into months, and I still was stubborn enough to not believe this was "long-term".

It all begun in June 2016, I had just returned from a short break in Europe. I felt quite unwell and naively believed it may have been something I ate, and carried on. To be honest I didn't think I was sick; I was 21 year old working in the financial industry in the city of London- I had a hectic routine and stupidly unhealthy lifestyle. I put it down to being a busy time of year at work and my partner and I had not long moved into our new flat in London.

As the days passed by I wasn't feeling any better, and despite having had gastro-enteritis twice before within the twelve months prior, my usual methods of lots of liquids, hot water bottle, paracetmol and bed were just making me feel worse than ever before.

Things soon spiralled, and I began unable to move because of the pain in my stomach, everything I ate would come back up and I was feeling terribly exhausted; yet I still attempted to persevere with work and daily life, I had no time to be sick. I had just returned from my holiday, I was meant to be feeling refreshed, no? All of a sudden, I began collapsing everywhere I stepped foot in: my flat, the office, on the tube, in restaurants...  I demanded answers from my GP.

It took another five months, two colonoscopies, one endoscopy, three MRIs, one upper gastrointestinal GI series test, one ultrasound, one x-ray and countless doctors before I got the answer I had been dreading, I had a chronic illness. My surgeon told me that 'Gastroparesis' is a rare, chronic illness (the vagus nerve is damaged and it causes the stomach to become paralysed and not empty itself properly) he said it was not widely known and especially that it is not very common in the UK. Truthfully, it didn't surprise me, it had taken months of doctors questioning my symptoms, incorrectly diagnosing me, months of testing and over 11kg lost. I truly believe I was not taken seriously enough, I knew in my gut something was going on (not that I can rely on trusting that old thing!), the presumption was because I was so young it couldn't have been serious and I would wake up one day and it would all be over.

I was determined that now that I had a diagnosis everything would revert back to how it used to be, yet learning to live with a chronic illness you learn that things will never be how they once were, but it's about making new beginnings and gaining a new outlook on what it is a very difficult and dark time which is my intention of "The Hopeful Chronic". So many times in my battle for wellness and happiness I have lost faith in pretty much everything. With a disease like "Gastroparesis" it is very hard to find faith in during the tough times because there is no simple answer for a simple cure.

There is no tablet to get rid of it, no time machine to send you back to who you were before it all begun, there is no spell to warn yourself what would soon be, nor is the a magic wand to keep you safe and well for the future.

You are who you are today because of your chronic illness, I honestly believe that all these tough moments that test us build and shape who we are. It is so tough, but I have faith that I will get there. Rubbish times let you really discover what the great times are, and more importantly the strength of you, and the support of those around you.

"The Hopeful Chronic."


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