April 25, 2012


i am vomiting again - 
44 straight days.
thrown up every dinner and every evening since march 14.

seeing as i have a history of barfing, my docs have been trying to determine whether this was a new kind of vomiting or a reoccurrence of previous vomiting episodes. 

2 years ago, i had a seizures that triggered barfing...(read about it in a'barfing we will go). those vomiting episodes lasted nearly a year and were always accompanied by neurological symptoms when they happened. then this past august, i developed IIH - intracranial hypertension (fluid on the brain) which had made me barfing non-stop but was also accompanied with balance issues, hyperacussis and incoherence.(read about it in drain the brain

i had already been throwing up for 2 weeks when we saw DR H in CA at the end of march. he ruled out a return of IIH as being the cause of this latest vomiting. however, because the barfing had only recently started at that time, it was hard to readily identify it as any type of diagnostic GI condition. DR H was concerned that the underlying cause was a complication of my bartonella infection. (i was also dealing with some other bart related sxs). bartonella is notorious for wreaking havoc on the GI system. he put me on an intensive herbal protocol to fight the bartonella and we all hoped it would resolve the barfing. it helped my other bart related symptoms but the barfing (obviously) did not stop.

so ever since we've been trying to figure out what this was and what is the underlying etiology.  last week, my family doc determined that i've developed an entirely new barfing condition. it seems i've cornered the market on all conditions associated with barfing. this is now my third go around with a barfing related illness! and none of them flu related. who knew there could be so many reasons for barfing? 

what is it?

it's called "gastroparesis".

what is that?

'Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition consisting of a paresis (partial paralysis) of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for a longer period of time than normal. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for digestion. The vagus nerve controls these contractions. Gastroparesis may occur when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract.' (wikipedia)

in layman's terms the upper portion of my stomach is paralyzed and unable to push/contract the food thru to the lower part where most of the digesting and breaking down occurs. seeing as it can't go down, it comes up. basically, i throw up several hours after eating - and the food is undigested (my apologies for the big gross factor here). i went on a "rice only" diet for 8 days and even then, i still threw it all up and it was completely undigested. i have no nausea - it just feels like the food sits like a brick in my upper abdomen...that builds all day and then by supper time, it finally reaches maximum capacity and, like clockwork, within 2-3 hours of eating supper, i start vomiting. i throw it all up. sometimes even food i had for breakfast shows up in the toilet bowl. once i start throwing up, it doesn't stop - i even throw up any fluids i take in after that. this is one of the worst parts, because i am HUNGRY and THIRSTY after spewing dinner and yet, i cannot keep anything in me once the vomiting starts - even tho' my stomach is empty by that point. if i eat anything like chocolate, have caffeine or fatty foods (even healthy fat eg almond butter) i vomit almost immediately (apparently these foods relax the sphincter that is between esophagus and stomach which stays shut under normal circumstances and keeps food from refluxing). 

treatment is just meds to help with GI motility. there is no "cure" but if the  underlying cause is bartonella or some other lyme-related infection, than i'm choosing to remain optimistic that it will resolve. my family doc started me on a med that will hopefully stop the vomiting (helps stimulate motility of GI tract). i started that last thursday and so far, it has not worked at all. in fact, in some regards my barfing has only intensified. the last 3 days, i have thrown up everything all day long. 

i had an phone appt with DR H's PA (Physician Assistant) yesterday and they are running some additional tests to rule out/rule in other possible etiologies. everyone's goal is (obviously) to quickly identify the underlying cause of the gastroparesis and treat it. one can only hope that will happen sooner than later. in the meantime, i hope i start responding to the motility meds because my family doc is talking about having to put in a PICC or PORT and put me on IV TPN if we can't stop vomiting and my weight loss becomes significant. 

after discussing lyme, our life & what's happened to parker & now gastroparesis and possibly IV TPN, my family doc asked me if i felt like "job" yet. (as in job from the bible) it was nice to have some acknowledgement of how bad things have been and are but no, i'm not as bad off as poor job but the truth is, i'm deeply discouraged. 

i am frustrated, irritable and exhausted. my family doc is surprised that i'm still functioning. i don't know how i'm still standing. the exhaustion is ummm, exhausting. yet i have to adapt. i've got to work around it in order to do what needs to get done. i have pick myself up off the floor, wipe my mouth and get on with whatever needs to be done. i simply don't have a choice. this sucks. it's a major downer. and i have to hope that one day the downward trajectory of our life will turn around. after all, what goes down eventually must come up...one day, it'll be me and not my food.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I am so sorry to hear how tough things have been. As always though, your faith is an inspiration. I will continue to keep you all in my prayers.