If you are easily offended…Stop reading. Now! This post was written partially in jest…because sometimes, when you are dealing with some tough crap in your life…you just have to make light of a situation, every once in awhile, you know? Anyway, I got a message today from a GP (Gastroparesis) newbie…the message basically said, “Do you think if your GP was caught sooner, would it have saved you from having a Gastrectomy?” My reply to her was sprinkled with a little sarcastic humor…I said, “Yeah, if he would have been a big stomach & ass man instead of a breast man!” Thank Goodness, she has a good sense of humor. She totally laughed…ok, she lol’d back. The real answer is yes; my stomach would have had to still come out because I was toxic to myself. At one of my four hour gastric emptying tests, I emptied only 7% which meant 93% of my radioactive meal stayed in my stomach after four hours. Luckily, my insurance was awesome, with medical being covered at 100% (I was very grateful for that because I know a lot of people struggle with insurance), so I didn’t hesitate to repeat tests. I knew the tests were probably pretty accurate….because I was living on Altoids, my eyes were yellow from the pollutants in my body, my abdomen always distended and I was nauseous every day and every diet and medicine regime failed to give me relief. I told her Digestive disorders are really tricky. Your digestive system includes many parts and unfortunately, for some of us, “Which came first the chicken or the egg?” is a question that we ask ourselves over and over, knowing we’ll probably never get a true answer. Idiopathic is a word that gets used because it’s better than saying, “We just don’t know why.” Some people with GP are really sick and haven’t eaten for months; some can eat a modified diet. Some gain weight and some lose. Some vomit while others wish they could. The huge range of digestive disorder symptoms makes it terribly hard to diagnose. With some digestive diseases like Type 1 Diabetes, a doctor can pinpoint some things. If you have a non-working pancreas, you will need to take insulin. Case closed. You may not know why you developed it or who passed it down genetically to you, but those answers can be sought and found while you are on an insulin program. What can be sad is, depending on your doctor’s level of expertise and knowledge of digestive issues, you may hear everything from…You are simply stressed out to you have Crohn’s Disease. Fear and uncertainty may overwhelm you and cause you to question yourself. Am I really just stressed out? (Yes, but who isn’t?) Did I eat anything different in the last few days? (Damn, there WAS that “strange dip” in the conference room at the staff meeting.) Maybe I do have food allergies! (I gotta call my Mom!) Quietly, you sit there as you wait to hear it. You know its coming. Scribble. Scribble. You look down and there it is in the palm of your hand. A prescription written in that infamous, “I’m a Doctor, so I’m allowed to scribble scrabble; you have no idea what I just wrote, I know it’s not legible and YOU know it’s not legible… but you will nod and say thank you” handwriting. Too many of us walk away knowing in our gut something is wrong, but can’t find anyone to listen to us or believe us. That’s very disheartening.
What I meant by my reply was that (and here’s the part that may offend people*) some people really just love breasts. Some people like to fondle breasts. When Cancer started affecting and taking away boobs with mastectomies…it was like hold up, we got to start doing more research…Wear your pink ribbons. Send in your pink yogurt lids! Buy KFC chicken in a pink bucket! Cause no one, and I mean no one…is going to take away our boobies! Now, how many times do you hear some man or woman say…”Gee, I love to watch my little girl puke after she eats.” Or “I just love it when my husband can’t poop for three weeks. Now that’s sexy.” Or “Wow, did you check out that lady’s great big ole bloated tummy over there. She’s hot!” Nope. Digestive disorders are not pretty. A Gallbladder attack is not pleasant. Having GERD is not great. Digestive disorders are not cute. Or dainty. Or firm and luscious. They’re crappy and distended…and no one really wants to talk about them. But we can change that if we try. You never know, maybe some day, getting a Colonoscopy might be the cool thing to do. BUT again, that depends on us!
We need to share our stories…voice our concerns and seek out research and show that lazy tummies, acid filled throats and slow-moving booties are just as important as a heart, lung, kidney and brain and of course, boobies.
*By no means is this post making fun of Breast Cancer or any other illness or condition. Cancer and Type 1 Diabetes and its complications affect my family everyday. If you are offended I apologize, and meant no harm. I have friends who fought hard against Breast Cancer and won and I had friends who were just as strong but couldn’t fight any longer. As one said to me, I can buy a new pair of breasts, you can’t buy a stomach. Doesn’t matter. Disease is Disease.