Thursday, November 15, 2012

Young Woman with GP Creates Videos to Bring Awareness

"Who knows where I’ll be next week but I can take pleasure in how I feel RIGHT now or know that even if I don’t feel well today… tomorrow is a new day!"

Recently I watched a video, created by a gastroparesis patient, that stopped to remind me we are not alone.  

Lashelle Shuman, is young woman who has lived with GP now for a number of years.  Last spring, after being stuck in bed for nearly 3 weeks, her best friend Jessica called to check in on her.  After hearing how frustrated and upset she was at being sick, Jessica decided to take action.  

Later that evening Lashelle got on Facebook to discover that her friend had created a profile called "It's Not Easy Being Green."   She had gone to the mall and photographed herself and anyone she could find wearing green and got people to hold up an awareness sign.  From there she talked to random strangers in the mall who were wearing green and explained to them what Gastroparesis is, why her friend was sick, and what they could do to help (by donating). 

Lashelle had no idea this was going on until later that evening, she logged onto FB to discover the profile created for her.  She cried so hard looking at all the faces of strangers who, now not only knew what Gastroparesis was, but went above and beyond to make her feel like she was not fighting GP all by herself, alone in bed

"It finally dawned on me that even though I was stuck in bed, the internet was a GREAT way to reach out and spread awareness. I could do the kind of things for other people that my best friend was able to do for me."  Lashelle got busy and began creating a page where others could go to find support.  

What motivated you to take the time to put this together?

I have done a LOT of research during the 6 ½ years that I have been sick and I got really frustrated with the way other GP groups were being ran. I think I joined 30 or 40 different types of GP groups and I came to the same conclusion: They were ALL lacking in one way or another! One group was too clinical, another was too depressing, and other groups would push some cure-all treatment on you, or some would try to sell important need-to-know information for a profit. What I wanted was easy access to information, to feel like I was not alone, I wanted support in all the right places but I also didn’t want to feel like someone was shoving their “cure” down my throat. I didn’t want it to be depressing, I wanted it to be honest but uplifting, (I feel the same way and completely relate!).  

What do you find most helpful when it comes to managing your life with gastroparesis?

As for how I cope with GP personally, I do anything and everything I can to take my mind off of how I feel.  I use to ride horses and jump fences (show jumping) but when I got married to my husband (who was a soldier in the Army), I had to give them up and sell them in order to move to South Korea, which is where I got sick.  When I knew I wasn’t going to get better, my husband and I talked it over as to what I CAN do during the day to help me cope with my illnesses (I was also diagnosed with polycystic Kidney Disease). The only thing I could think of was how much I wanted to ride again! 
Doing the things I love and having my horses as therapy not only gets me to get up out of bed every day, but it helps me to not think about myself.  Horses have taught me to look at the “here and now” rather than the big picture, or to just enjoy the moment!  Who knows where I’ll be next week but I can take pleasure in how I feel RIGHT now or know that even if I don’t feel well today… tomorrow is a new day! 

Two videos have now been created.  The first is of her story and the second is the faces of others who live with gastroparisis.  Both are good reminders that even if we don't look sick, doesn't mean we don't feel it AND most importantly: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  

You can find her FB page at
If you haven't yet joined the JourneywithGP page yet, you can do so here.

Thank you Lashelle for sharing your story and helping to support others on this journey!


  1. THANK YOU for posting my story about how the GP support group came about! I am shocked over just how many people are looking for a little support. You should be really proud over your blog! God Bless and keep writing!

  2. Thank you both, Stephanie and LaShelle for continually sharing your stories and giving us all support. It's such a frustrating illness to deal with and even though some of us have very little support and understanding from family and friends, I'm always comforted knowing "I'm not alone". Many Blessing to both of you!