Friday, January 29, 2016

Gastroparesis Healed!

Here is a story about healing Gastroparesis from the view of the spouse. I truly believe in the power of nutrition & the drive to seek answers. 

Thank you for sharing your story, what an inspiration.
This is the story of my Wife.  Many of you know her and for once I would really like to share with you a perspective that I don't believe you have been privy to since we tend to keep our inner life somewhat private.  I'm telling you this because I believe her story will help you.  It may assist you in knowing that, if you have a similar situation, there is a way out.  

Every time I think of this story it fills my heart because my wife is the strongest person I know.  

When I remember things I remember them in a basic order.  I think of them as experiences that change my life and sometimes they come in a particular sequence, but sometimes the order doesn't matter.  In this case the timeline does matter because it shows a cause and effect.  The cause was the tragic death of a person we all held dear.  The effect was a deep sadness that I believe affected my wife a little more than the rest of us. 

I'm not saying that this tragic death was the start of it all but I am saying a couple of meaningful things.  A single person has an enormous effect on other people's lives, and if you don't believe it just keep reading.  It may not be a direct effect, it may be the simplest thing that turns into a profoundness you can't imagine.  The other thing is that this life event, and we all have them, triggered a sickness in our family for a long time.  It ate at our inner hearts and festered.  It is the defining moment that starts the order of things in my memory.  Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

My wife started getting sick.  This was around three years ago.   I'm not talking about a simple illness like a cold.  At first it was just nausea but then it turned into a strong pain in the middle of her chest.  It was every day and it started when she woke up.  I'm not going to try and tell you how she felt about it, the point of this story is to tell my perspective.  I would walk into the bathroom in the morning to see my wife on all fours in the bathtub throwing up.  She was trying to get through her intense wave of nausea and the best and only thing I could do for her in these situations is ask her what I could do for her, which was usually nothing.  This went on for weeks before we started seeing doctors.  

I remember looking at some of the pictures we took back then when people who don't know us might think we were having fun.  Maybe so, but they didn't see the things that had to happen before we could do anything.  My wife at the toilet when we got home throwing up, or pretending to have fun when she felt miserable.  My wife lording over her Zofran as if it was a mystical drug that would heal her.  For those of you who don't  know Zofran is an anti-nausea pill that was given to her to combat her illness.  We had to have it if we were going to go do anything.  She couldn't eat and we started limiting her food and trying different things thinking that we would find some secret chemical in some food that was the cause of it all.  It was obviously not the food.


The very first thing that happens when you go to the doctor is they start giving you tests.  They begin to try and eliminate anything and everything it could be until they come up with some kind of diagnosis.  In the meantime they give you drugs.  Not just any drugs but any and all drugs, especially if you are really sick, which she was.  I remember us driving around and she would get bouts of nausea and we had to pull over.  She would open the door and lean out of the car and throw up for around 20 minutes or so.  You can't imagine how exhausting this is just to watch let alone being the one experiencing it.  We'd sit at the side of some random street until she felt good enough to continue, usually we would end up in the emergency room.  I remember feeling helpless and would rack my brain to find some kind of cause and effect.  Each time we were released from the hospital after giving my wife an I.V. because the tests were negative for anything and there was never a diagnosis.  This sort of routine went on for about two years and we were in and out of doctor's offices and hospital emergency rooms over and over feeling crazier and crazier because they couldn't find anything wrong. 
At this point my wife was on around nine medications to mask the symptoms.  If you are ever curious you are welcome to see what they 'were'.  I tell you this to give you hope, I say 'were' because this story ends well.  

My wife is the strongest person I know.  Imagine going through this for two years, severe vomiting, nausea, pain, exhaustion, headaches, and frequent stops to the emergency room.  Imagine how crazy you would feel and the things you would say to yourself.  How many times did I hear her say "maybe it's all in my head."   Imagine the fear you would experience every time you felt that feeling in your stomach rise to the surface and your mind quickly racing to the thought of "where is my Zofran."  Imagine not eating all day for fear of vomiting.  I can't remember how many times I'd say, "honey, you have to eat!"  We would have to find something, usually yogurt, that she could choke down so she'd have some strength.  All this, and yet she still got up and went to work every day.  She still went out and did normal things.  All of this and I'm guessing most of our friends never new.  It just became the normal in our lives.  I keep asking myself how she did it.  How she still managed without going completely crazy.  Well, she did go a little crazy but you can't blame her for it.  Under the circumstances I find her amazing.

Since there were no answers one doctor suggested we remove my wife's gall bladder, since we were fairly certain it was gastro-intestinally related.  It was completely speculative but since it is commonly thought of as a useless organ it was something we could do.  After long and hard discussions about it we decided to try it.  Nothing happened.  The sickness remained.  There comes a point where you think you might have gone too far.  In our emotional state we were willing to try just about anything and we were guessing at this point.  I look back on this as a life learning experience, however, I wonder if we had it to do all over again if we wouldn't do the same thing.  Sometimes you have to make some kind of decision and move forward for fear of going completely crazy regardless of whether you know it is right or wrong.  If nothing else it removed a possibility and the doctor was convinced there was something wrong with her gall bladder.

It came to a point where we decided to just go through every test until we could find something.  Finally after we decided to have a stomach emptying test we got somewhat of an answer.  My wife was diagnosed with Gastro Paresis which is a stomach emptying problem.  Her stomach doesn't empty into her intestines as fast as a normal person, in fact it is much slower.  This could be the cause of her nausea and her reflux.  This is where the story gets interesting because you would think that because we have a diagnosis the problem would be over, but actually, this is where it gets worse.  There is no cure for Gastro Paresis and the only thing the doctor had to offer was medications that just mask the problem.  This is the doctor that cursed us with those dreaded nine medications.  Oh but there was a medication in Mexico and Canada that we could have used but it's not approved by the FDA here in America.  I, to this day, find that to be a crazy twist of fate.  If there had been a medication we would have taken it.  If it had helped her I don't believe we would have been any better off than before.  It would have stayed an illness that we just lived with for the rest of our lives. The one thing we took out of this was that we were not crazy.  My wife's illness was not in her head.  You can't imagine the emotional stability that this brought back to our family.  Yet still she was on medications and we truly believed that this was going to be for the rest of our lives.  

There comes a point in your life when you have to make a decision.  I think back and wonder if we would have ever made it to where we are today without my wife's illness.  The old adage "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true.  Trials of life help you see things you may never have seen before.  We get "stuck" in the way we think about things and set in our ways.  It wasn't until we had no other alternative that we were successful.  We were willing to try just about anything.  The truth is that you can never give up trying.  We had the answer under our noses for over a year before we ever tried it.  It was neither profound or confusing and it happened just after we thought the answer was in front of us.  The answer we thought we had was the life we were already leading.  The new normal that we now had a name for "Gastro Paresis."  There it was, the name of the issue.  We spent a ton of money to find that name.  To know what was happening and yet the remedy didn't change.  We had already been living under that remedy for 2 years and we knew we couldn't live that way anymore.  We had to make a decision.  Was this the reality we were going to accept?  That was the question and the decision we had to make.  The answer was no.  We had to change our reality.  We needed to change in ways that we were previously unwilling.  We decided to profoundly change our lives and it turned out that we had already been doing it, sort of, for about a year.  Or at least we were on the right track.  We didn’t take it seriously and if only we had we would have solved our issue a year earlier.  Well, maybe not, because sometimes these kinds of decisions have to slap you in the face in order for you to make them.

The answer was nutrition.  No not diet, no not medication, no not doctors.  Nutrition.  Somehow the medical field is completely void of this.  Taking in the correct amount of vitalized minerals in small foodlets can profoundly change your life.  It can change your life in so many ways I'm blown away at how long it took us to come to this conclusion.  Why hadn't the doctors tried this first?  They were so focused on finding a diagnosis, just like we were, that the real problem escaped us all.  We were so focused on the symptoms and trying to mask them that the problem kept eluding us.  The answer to all of this came from a friend who wasn't really selling nutrition but had nutrition to sell.  Now that I have experienced the effect of nutrition I will never go back.

If you've never heard of Shaklee then I'm proud to introduce it to you because it saved our lives.   Both me and my wife.  It helped us see that many of the issues we are having out there are completely due to malnutrition from over-processed foods and chemicals that we should not be putting into our bodies.  We made many changes, not all at once, but over time we have come to live a way that is healthy.  We take vitamins, protein, grow our own food, buy local, and have removed all chemicals that we possibly could from the foods that we eat and the products that we buy.  My wife started drinking the Shaklee shakes and taking Vitalizer from Shaklee.  We also added some other supplements that we knew would help her Gastro-Intestinal tract.  We decided to replace each of her medications with some type of vitalized mineral foodlet that would allow her to remove herself from her medications one at a time.  Each time we removed one medication my wife's situation improved greatly.  We weren't sure how many of these pills were having side effects that were part of the problem.  Over a very short time period my wife was able to remove herself from all of her drugs.  She suffers from not a single ailment that plagued our life in our previous reality.  We are healthier now than before we ever got sick.  My wife is healed.  She's not masking anything, nor does she have to worry about where her Zofran is, she harbors no symptoms of her previous ailment.  She is healthy and we owe it all to Shaklee.

There is more to this story because I have to tell you the part where she went back to her doctor after about six months of nutrition.  When she went in to the receptionist one of the questions she asks is "Are you on any medications?" at the same time they are looking at the computer with the medications you should be taking.  My wife's response was "No, none."  A quiet pause as the receptionist enters the data.  You would expect them to say something like "Why not?" but maybe she's just a receptionist and it doesn't really matter to her.  Then she goes to another window with a nurse and gives the same response.  "No, Im not on any medications."  "I'm healed."  she says.  Still no flabbergasted response or "Good for you!"  Once in with the doctor she explains that she is healed and the doctor is profoundly confused.  What did you do?  He asks.  I'm taking nutrition she says.  I feel none of the issues I previously had and I have been having bowel movements every day instead of once every three days before.  Well maybe you can tell me what you are doing so that I can help my other patients.  What are you taking?   He asks.  Vitamins, protein, herb-lax, and other supplements.  So does your herb-lax have Senna in it?  Asks the doctor.  Yes, she says back.  The doctor gets a little upset and says, you have to be careful with Senna because it is addictive.  At this point the doctor stops listening to my wife even though he was hypocritical enough to prescribe nine different medications to my wife, all with side effects that he couldn't even list.   Including Vicodin and Zofran both of which are highly addictive.  All the while my wife was sick for years and he is concerned with the addictiveness of Senna.  The truth of it is that he didn't even know the truth.  He had no idea about Senna, its not addictive nor harmful.  Should the doctor not have been blown away?  Did he ask for the regimen my wife was taking?  No.  Did he ever try and help his other patients with nutrition?  No.  We did what the doctor couldn't.  We did it in less than six months.  This type of nutrition would put most doctors out of work.  I write this to show the contrast between what a doctor says and what you should actually do.  You are in control of everything.  A doctor is nothing but a human being that went to school.  He is just as susceptible to misinformation as you and I.  You can take control of your life like we did.  This is not the only story in progress in our lives.  I have yet to tell my Shaklee story, my daughters Shaklee story, my best friend's Shaklee story.  There are a lot of Shaklee stories.  I'm glad I'm not telling you the one where my wife was imprisoned by her illness and her medications.  Are you living that story?

The truth is that a little thing can change your life in profound ways.  Our friend Gwen Whelton introduced us to Shaklee and our lives have changed in ways that I can't even impart to you with words.  Neither of us could have known how it would change our lives.  I hope you can hear the tone with which I write to you in such a way that you will decide to make a new reality for yourself.  You may not be sick but you can always improve your life.  If you are sick you can turn it around, you must not quit.  If the doctor can't help you or if you are just masking your sickness make that decision that you need to make.  Take control of your own life before life makes the decision for you.  Don't be like us, we learned the hard way.  You don't have to.  Let our story be your guide to a healthy, happy life.

Corey Ficklin
content writer

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