Essential oils have had a place in our home for quite some time. You might be familiar with some of the basics. Lavender next to the bed to help with sleep and in the bath for relaxation. Peppermint for a headache and nausea, and tea tree oil to help clear the sinus gunk that comes up every winter. Little did I know how many existed and how much they have helped people overcome some serious downfalls. A few weeks ago a fellow GP friend (who had to share her own success) put me in touch with a woman who not only has been researching these oils and healing properties for 18 years but has found a way to put them to use specifically for gastroparesis. So naturally my curiosity peaked and I began to give them a try with a little of my own research.
Bare with me here because I have a lot I want to share. Both in stories of hope and how you might incorporate small changes to perhaps create your own story someday. This isn't to say I've found a cure for GP. It's not to say "do this and all your problems will disappear." Journey with GP was created to shed positive light for those of us who have truly struggled with a disorder that can be physically and mentally exhausting. When I come across anything that has helped others it just has to be shared.
Let me introduce you to a lovely lady I am so excited to have in my life now and a bit about her story...
Chalyce Makosky, who was working as an IV-certified medical assistant at the time, had no idea how much the summer of 2000 would change her life, and ultimately the life of many others suffering around the world.
Back in January of that year, Chaylce had enrolled in a program to become a physician assistant, however this career change was not meant to be. On July 17th, as she was driving down a Colorado mountain road, her car was hit by another vehicle. Chalyce suffered from severe brain trauma, losing her short-term memory and cognitive thinking abilities. Reading and writing became a struggle, speaking a challenge and grocery shopping impossible. To treat this she was prescribed a variety of medications just to help her focus, to sleep and to prevent anxiety attacks. She worked with therapists to help her cope while she struggled to recover. In addition to all of this, her brain was now wired not to be hungry and weight dropped drastically down to 85 lbs. Struggling with digestive issues her whole life, this was familiar but now so much more severe.
During a visit to her chiropractor, Chalyce ran into a friend, who just years before had introduced her to essential oils for her son's strep throat, which surprising to her at the time worked wonders. Noticing her ill appearance he immediately offered to help with the use of essential oils, diet and homeopathy. Over the next year Chalyce regained her health and dedicated her life to helping others do the same.
Now you might be asking, what does this possibly have to do with gastroparesis?
Well, let's fast forward to 2010. Over the years Chalyce researched how these oils can help to support the different body systems, becoming a certified aromatherapist and holistic health coach. Combined with her medical background and what she had learned about nutrition from her own recovery, people began to seek her for help when all other medical systems were failing them. This is how, 4 years ago, she met a mother who later testified she felt "helpless, frustrated and utterly defeated" for her critically ill child.
Meet Kate, born in 1996 and at age 3 developed what we now know as cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). Going to the ER became normal for the family and between the ages of 6-8 she became slower to bounce back. A GI specialist informed them she would not outgrow CVS and suggested that stress could be contributing. As many of us have probably said to ourselves (I know I have!),
"Why do others then, who engage in similar activities, not suffer from severe 'stress related' abdominal issues?"
Between the ages of 10 and 13 Kate's episodes increased followed by long infusions of IV fluids. She now suffered from headaches, nausea and abdominal pain. In addition she went through toxic shock syndrome and ended up septic in the hospital at one point. Numerous tests were done with results that continued to come back as "normal" or "negative" or "not conclusive." Sound familiar? Her weight dipped to 81 pounds at 5'3 and she missed 45 days of 8th grade school year where she was an honor student.
Kate's medication list was long, which some you may be on or tried yourself like Metaclopramide, Nexium, Zofran, Tramadol, Gabapentin, and more. She was recommended to see an eating disorder specialists (I can very much relate to this part) who instead said she does not believe Kate suffered from an eating disorder but rather that she suffered from "disordered eating due to never being able to digest food." Oh, how I could go on and on about how truly awful this is to deal with and even harder to explain to those who have never experienced terrible pain with eating, fear of what the next bite or meal may bring.
In November of 2011 Kate's mother was put in contact with Chalyce through a family friend. Following a Skype session, Chalyce made immediate travel plans from CO to GA. She carefully hand crafted a unique personal regiment of care to slowly rebuild her delicate body and spirit. This included selected essential oils applied to the soles of her feet throughout the day (more on this soon), a nutrient rich diet of small meals every 2 hrs, magnesium, and other remedies that would soon bring her health back. Within 2 weeks, under the supervision of her medical team, she was off all of her medications. According to her mother's testimony, today Kate maintains a healthy weight, restored muscle tone and strength, exceeded in AP level classes, resumed and active lifestyle and has traveled and been able to restore valuable friendships. Her goal is to attend university in the fall and pursue a career in the medical field aimed at helping children.
This is only one of many hopeful stories. Kathleen is another lucky lady who met up with Chalyce after nearly 20 years of being sick. She had a long history of severe nausea, vomiting and pain and had been diagnosed with IBS, gastritis, reflux, esophagitis, and eventually gastroparesis. Treatments ranged from gallbladder removal and the gastric pacemaker to hospital IV infusions during periods malnutrition. Twice Kathleen went 6 weeks without eating because of how sick she was. Scopes showed severe inflammation and at one point she lost 30 lbs. In October of 2013, with the help of essential oils created by Chalyce and dietary changes that included kefir and small, nutrient dense meals, she began to recover. Today, Kathleen continues to use the oils and follow a diet tailored to her needs as well as incorporating mindfullness, which has helped her to manage the gastroparesis.
You may read stories such as these and think that could never be you, this can't possibly be true. I get that, I've been there and still have a hard time with a "believe it when I see it" mentality. Some of you are very, very sick. Heck, I'm on TPN, surviving on little food and IV nutrition through a port in my chest. But, as you probably know now from my sharing over the years, if it sounds reasonable and positive I will try it!
Next post I will be sharing more about the essential oils Chalyce creates, the amazing intentions behind the company and what you can do to get started.
Until then, warmest regards and cheers to better belly days ahead.