Gastric Stimulator Patient Story
Julie was sick for over a year before she had surgery to implant the gastric stimulator.
I first became ill with gastreoparesis in September of 2002. I woke up one morning with what I thought was the stomach flu, and just never really got better. I lost about 35 pounds that first month because I had to severely limit my diet. If I was eating at all, it was only crackers, chicken broth and water. I had motion sickness so intense that I could not even drive myself to school or work most days without having to pull over and have someone come get me, and being a passenger was even worse. I even had to sleep sitting up because I would get too nauseated while lying down. After this first month it was thought that my gallbladder was the problem, so I had it removed. My symptoms got about 50% better, but I was still losing weight and hardly eating. I even had to quit college because I was so worn down all the time.
I was about 50 pounds lighter and my hair was starting to fall out when my local GI doctor finally diagnosed me with gastreoparesis. I tried Reglan and Compazine, but I had adverse reactions and had to stop taking them. I was then referred to Dr. Bill Snape for further treatment options. Under Dr. Snape’s care I tried Erythromycin and botox injections; both helped but my life was still not back to normal.
In June of 2004, I had the gastric stimulator implanted. The surgery went very well and I’ve yet to have any complications; most of the time I forget it’s even there. I started feeling better almost immediately. I’ve been able to increase my diet tremendously and am now able to go out to eat with my friends and family. I even ate Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in two years. I’m planning on going back to college in August. I’ve gained some of my weight back, my hair has stopped falling out, my energy level is up, and I no longer have to sleep on an incline. I finally feel like a normal person again! The gastric stimulator has given me my life back.
I’m so grateful to be under the care of Dr. Snape, Shelly Parker, R.N., Dr. Cirangle, and everyone at California Pacific Medical Center. They have all been so supportive and helpful, and have made this experience as pleasant as it could possibly be.