Sunday, April 29, 2018

PTSD Live Talk

Last month I shared an update on my return to TPN, IV nutrition, due to severe weight loss, despite making huge strides in food intake and what we thought was a life beyond GP. Not only did this feel like a big, fat blow to my confidence and hope, but a physical and emotional roller coaster of once again accepting that my body does not function properly. Followed by hospital visits, procedures and once again managing daily medical intervention has been challenging to say the least. Enough to cause random panic attacks out of nowhere, fear of what might go wrong next and confusion about how to plan for the future. 

Why is this happening?
How did I get here? 
What can I possibly do?

Monday, March 19, 2018

When Eating is Not Enough - Hanging On and Letting Go

Are you familiar with John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars? If not I highly recommend a number of his books including this one as well as his newest, Turtles All the Way Down. The latter was a pretty good story but what I love most is his ability to put complex feelings, that can seem so impossible to describe at times, into a mere few sentences. Like the part below which helps me to share my most current state of mind and body:

"That sounds really scary," he said. I just nodded. "Do you feel like you're getting better?" Everyone wanted me to feed them that story--darkness to light, weakness to strength, broken to whole. I wanted it, too.
"Maybe," I said. "Honestly, I feel really fragile. I feel like I've been taped back together."

For months I've thought about updating the blog, sharing ideas, thoughts, and stories as I continue to meet people who inspire me and experience so many ups and downs I know others can relate to. But something stops me, the inner critic that doesn't want to disappoint because of my so-called failures. A fear that if I share what's going well, it will soon fall apart...and then what? What will people say I did wrong or not try enough of?

When someone is living with a chronic illness of unknown origin, when there isn't an etiology that enough medical professionals can agree on, not to mention a for sure diagnosis, no proven treatment plan to say, "Okay, this is what we do next"...where does that leave us?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

6th Annual A-Wear-Ness Walk for GP - Tees

It's that time again and we have chosen the colors for this year's Awareness Walk for Gastroparesis and Digestive Health. The event will take place on Saturday, September 9th here in Bellingham, WA, down the trail along the bay that connects the downtown farmer's market and Boulevard Park, with its beautiful island views. 

While we won't be holding an auction like some of the previous years, the popular Bella shirts are available to order, and in 2 color options this year! So, even if you can't make it to the walk in WA, you can wear your shirt to help spread awareness, walk in your own area, and spark conversation about how gastroparesis has affected your life. 

All items will be up for sale through 8/14 when we need to make the final order to go to print so that they can be ready for the walk. For those outside the area, deliveries will be out by the end of August.

All proceeds go towards helping those who live with gastroparesis through the non-profit Wisdom by Nature, providing research, essential oils tailored to GP, as well as consultations on proper nutrition to improve quality of life. Awareness projects currently underway include the filming of a documentary on those living with gastroparesis and how their lives have changed for the better with this approach. 

A BIG thanks to our sponsors this year!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

13 Reasons Why I Can

Ok, so I probably should have shared this when I started the #13reasonswhyIcan, but you know how life gets so here I am on day 14...after the fact. Better late than never!

If you read the book 13 Reasons Why, written back in 2007 by Jay Asher, or watched the recent Netflix series adaptation, you will get the reference here. I had only heard of the story and didn't catch on until a few months back when I binge watched the series like a bad train wreck; I could not stop despite how painful and heartbreaking each episode became. While there is a lot of controversy happening over the story of the 13 recorded confessions (and ultimate decision to take her own life) shared by the protagonist, Hannah, her teenage experiences are not uncommon. In fact, it took me a couple weeks to really recover from the raw reality of this show.

What I walked away with though, is wondering what makes someone like Hanna in the story, feel like there is no other answer than to commit suicide? We have all been, or maybe currently are, teenagers, that most likely had a hard time seeing life beyond those school halls, beyond the friends and drama, and all that goes with it. It truly does seem impossible then to realize all the different roads available to us and the world that exists with it's expanding opportunities to see new places, meet new people and figure out who we really are deep down. I certainly didn't get it then, but why now when life is more challenging and painful at times than I could have ever imagined?

This is when I started to take photos, examples for myself, of why it is I do want to continue living, even with this bully (much like those that changed Hanna's life) of a body that seems to put up a fight every day. Looking for ideas became more than just being grateful for what I saw, it opened my eyes to the life that is happening around me, to what I wanted to continue to see for days/weeks/years ahead.  A few examples...

Day 5 - The excitement my dogs show, hopping around like kangaroos when I say the word "park!"

Day 7 - How big the potatoes we planted 2 months ago have gotten and being able to cook them right out of the garden because it's a food I often can have.

Day 10 -  If the character in my current book will survive and HOW MANY more books I can't wait to pick up.

I would love to hear more about your 13 Reasons Why you can keep fighting! Share in the comments below, on the Journey with Gastroparesis FB page or on Instagram under #13reasonswhyIcan.

Remeber, you are not alone and even when our worlds feel small and impossible, there is something out there for you to live for.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Does Healing Truly Mean?

“It is better to believe than to disbelieve; in so doing you bring everything to the realm of possibility.” 
-Albert Einstein 

I've been sharing quite a bit lately about "healing" in reference to gastroparesis. It honestly feels like a double-edged sword at times, using these terms together. Your reaction may be one of hope and excitement. Or you might feel that healing is impossible and want to laugh at the idea of that word used with the awfulness of what you are dealing with. That's totally understandable. It's all very confusing, I know. So I'm going to shed some light on what healing truly means and how this has impacted my own life, when dealing with nearly a decade of living with a pretty severe case of gastroparesis and health challenges.

If you asked me what healing meant a couple years ago I would have immediately thought of finding a cure, a magic pill that took all the pain and suffering away, a slice of pizza and a glass of wine that could finally be enjoyed again without major consequences. I came to learn, however, that it can mean something quite different when expectations shift. Modern ways of thinking mostly view healing in terms of a cure, a complete recovery from the physical symptoms. If the problems return or never go away then no cure really ever happened. With healing, it goes deeper than this, taking place not only with the physical body but the mind and spirit as well, all working together as one. Before you roll your eyes and turn away, hear me out for just a moment.

The stories we share in the Healing GP Naturally book are significant turnarounds that people have experienced. It doesn't mean they put some essential oils on one day, think about being happy, do some breathing work and wake up free of stomach woes forever. They worked hard, on all levels, to re-establish a new way of being. Instead of trying so hard to be just like they were before GP (something I'm sure we all want desperately), they strived for finding what worked for them using the tools given to heal, creating a new connection with their bodies which have been through some serious trauma since illness took over.

I read somewhere once that healing isn't fixing, it's creating.
Creating routines that bring comfort and relief.
Thoughts that can physically change the structure of your cells.
Foods that nourish the body instead of depleting it further.
It's about creating a quality of life that allows the best chance for a fulfilling existence. 

For years I have carried around this guilt, a heavy burden that I'm not doing enough. Not enough of the right foods, not enough resting and relaxing, not breathing deep enough, not praying right or perhaps even overthinking it all. And eventually, I realize, again and again, how much my life has changed, not always for the worse but sometimes for the better. Despite the extreme challenges over the years (procedures, feeding tubes, IV nutrition) you think my body would be falling apart, that I would be a chronically sad, angry mess. But it continues to fight and believe and know it can get through the day. This medically war-torn body continues to persevere because of the things I do to manage it. It's my goal to really focus on this instead of the why's behind dealing with chronic illness and not being completely cured.

It's not always easy to be different, to have to need a "toolbox" of remedies to manage the challenges, but it's so much better than how I would be, and many others I've had the chance to get to know while working on the book, if the options weren't available. These include the Essential7 oils specifically made for GP and chronic disorders, taking time to rest, meditations and breathing techniques when tension, anxiety, and pain take over, nourishing foods that help the body to absorb and digest, dealing with emotions instead of burying them, and finding time for creativity and fun, no matter what that might look like for how we are feeling day to day.

Well, there's my spiel and I hope that helps to clarify what healing means, not only from my point of view but one that can help guide you on your own journey with all of this. I'll never get tired of saying do not give up hope. Maybe you are just starting out and only slightly sick at times, or maybe you have been extremely ill for years. Wherever you are on this path know that you are not alone. Our book is coming out this month and my wish is that it not only provides hope and inspiration but a new way of managing your challenges as naturally as possible, with some of the relief you have been so desperately seeking.

Update: The book is now available through our website and on Amazon!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: The Gastroparesis Healing Diet

A few months ago I was curious what else was out there on the topic of "healing gastroparesis." As some of you know, I've been writing for the Healing Gastroparesis Naturally website for some time and working on the book this past year (to be released end of May!). To my surprise, the image for The Gastroparesis Healing Diet came up with its upcoming release date in March. I could not be happier to see we were not alone when it came to using the word healing. Not to mention the cover looked so delicious and inviting! 

I contacted the author Tammy Chang, a nutrition coach and cook living in the San Francisco Bay area. While she does not have GP herself she has knowledge of how the gut functions and experience with creating nourishing meals to help heal the body, having worked one-on-one with clients and wrote her first book, The Nourished Belly Diet. She admitted this was not an easy task, finding GP to be the complicated disorder that many of us know firsthand. But she shared in her book that she "found the GP community, along with it's taking in people's harder days, is also extremely loving, supportive, and strong." Between the medical research plus interviewing and talking with those who live with GP (some of whose stories you will find in the book), she was able to get a good understanding of how to create ideas for a healing diet. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Recording Available: Top 5 Foods to Heal GP

Our first webinar, Top 5 Foods to Heal Gastroparesis, is now available to view!

Presenting this meant more to me than I could possibly explain because of the difference I've seen with my own healing as well as the many, many others I've talked to this past year.  In fact, my hands were actually sweating at 10:59, one minute prior to beginning haha. I just wanted it to go well and with technology, you just never know when something may decide to not work properly!

Nervousness aside, the talk went good, the knowledge and experience Chalyce shares are just priceless and I am so grateful to have her on my "dream team" for the absolute best quality of life while living with the challenges GP can present. 

I hope you find it beneficial as well and please send us a question or comment if you have any. 

We would like to offer you a discount, which you will also hear about towards the end of the webinar, on the 6-week program we are SO excited to get started with on February 21st. This will be available through midnight on Wednesday, February 1st. For details, you can visit this link, and again, feel free to send us questions if you have any. 

Click below to listen to the webinar and hope you enjoy!