Hi, my name is Stephanie Torres. Since being diagnosed with gastroparesis in 2008 I have learned and continued to learn patience, compassion, and a passion for healing and helping others. Through the art of blogging I hope to find an outlet for myself as well as provide shared experiences, tips, recipes and a community for anyone seeking a place to know you are not alone.
I've lived with digestive issues on and off from the age of 19, shortly after undergoing laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis and ovarian cysts. It started with heartburn and eventually symptoms that were diagnosed as IBS. Around the time of turning 28, after years of pain and discomfort, a gastric emptying test confirmed GP. At the time I thought I could cure it through diet alone and went completely gluten free. I started baking with lots of GF flours and sugars, eating what I believe to be too much raw and high fiber foods for my condition. For about six months I felt amazing but it didn't last and I began experiencing severe bloating, fullness, nausea and eventually barely able to take down fluids. Two months later I was in the hospital having every test in the book done, again confirming GP.
With medication, rest and loads of family/friend support, I began to recover and a year later began a full time plus course in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. The program was incredible but traveling back and forth every week (90 miles each way), missing my husband, not to mention the time and stress involved with the intense studies, became more than I could handle. By the end of the first year I had lost a tremendous amount of weight, in denial of having a chronic illness because I was determined to live a "normal life." By June of 2010 I ended up back in the hospital, this time to weak and malnourished to recover on my own. After unsuccessful trials with another medication as well as trying the botox treatment, I had no choice but to be put on a temporary feeding tube, called a J-tube. This is when it really hit me...it was time to accept my illness and really focus on taking care of myself because otherwise I wouldn't survive much longer.
By accepting this as part of my life, I was able to slow down and set priorities. I again started focusing on managing symptoms through diet, exercise, limiting stress and finding other passions in life such as creativity and helping others. This doesn't mean I don't still have bad days, but I have learned how to manage them by not letting the fear take over and by not running away from them.
I began writing about my journey on this blog, learning more and more about GP and how many others were going through the similar battles. Motivated to help, I enrolled in a program through the Institute for Intigrative Nutrition to become certified as a health coach specializing in gastroparesis as well as other digestive disorders including IBS. In June of 2012 I started to use my experience and education as a learning tool for others, to focus on the things we can do to help ourselves instead of focusing on the things we can't. I never would have imagined this would be my life at this age but it hasn't stopped me from continuing to stay positive, be an advocate for awareness, and in the meantime live the best life possible.
Due to complications in the fall of 2012 the j-tube was removed. Unfortunately, my body did not hold onto the calories I was able to take in and after a drastic weight loss another tube was placed in January 2013. This also created complications resulting in having a PICC line placed in February. We pray this is temporary as the weight continues to increase and I continue to explore options on this journey.
Click here for information on personal health coaching sessions. It is my goal to help others explore their digestive issues and how they may improve symptoms through dietary changes, exercise and stress management.
Details of my experience are broken down into Part 1: Diagnostic Journey, Part II: A Passion Ignites But is Short Lived, and Part III: Reality Check, Grief and Acceptance. They discuss my diagnosis, temporary recovery, treatments and the ups and downs since being diagnosed.
Part of the reason I started this blog was to share my information with family and friends to better understand gastroparesis and how it has affected my life. If you would like to know more about me, my story or would like to share your own story please sign up and leave a comment or contact me.
Thank you for taking the time to visit and please feel free to share any feedback you might have.