My daughter, Shelbi, 19 years old, was diagnosed with a rare condition called Gastroparesis in July 2011. Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition consisting of a paresis (partial paralysis) of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for a longer period of time than normal. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for digestion. The vagus nerve controls these contractions. Gastroparesis may occur when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract.
Gastropares is very painful disease causing severe abdominal pain and constant nausea and vomiting. Shebi cannot eat most foods and relies on a feeding tube for nutrients.
To date, there is very little research or treatment. Random hospital visits have become her norm and she is unable to do normal daily activities. Since December 2011, she’s had six g-tube and j-tube placements, all because they continue to fail. She is currently living with a g-tube and j-tube, and of course her insulin pump attached her body. This is tough for a 19 year old to accept; however, her strength, determination, grace, and love of life inspires us all.
I’m so proud to be her mother, she has taught me so much about unconditional love, patience, and the true meaning of life. She’s my hero!
We will continue to raise Gastroparesis awareness and forever pray for a cure!