Kristine’s Story - From the Couch to the Kitchen & Tube Feeds to Real Food!

August 16, 2016

"I’d have to say the beginning was the hardest. Maybe harder than being sick itself. There is no giving into the sickness, not even for an hour. In order to succeed I needed to focus on my care 24/7. "


Prior to finding the group Healing Gastroparesis Naturally, I was suffering a great deal. My first diagnosis came about 7 years ago followed by multiple others, including being diagnosed with Gastroparesis 4 years ago. The diagnosis seemed like nothing to the doctors. They just gave me pills and handed me a GP diet booklet and sent me out the door. Not long after I had a really bad episode and ended up in 2 ER’s then eventually a third, admitted to the hospital for 4 days. I wasn’t given many options besides a j-tube. I refused and I went on for the next few years struggling with my weight and eating. It got worse and worse, eliminating more foods and beverages until I had no choice but to have a g-tube placed approximately 7 months ago. I gained weight with it but was not tolerating the prescription formula and still very ill. I suffered from horrible stomach cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting 24/7, explosive diarrhea, dehydration, malnutrition, insomnia, anxiety, depression and a list of many other things. I took many different medications as well as being on fentanyl patches. At one point we threw away 43 different medications I had in my cabinet. I was not tolerating my feeds and was living on less than 1000 calories a day and barely any fluids. I was going to my local hospital for weekly IV fluids (which I had done all of the previous year). I was told my veins were shot and I needed a permanent port put in. I was no longer taking anything in by mouth with the exception of crackers and Gatorade, unable to do much anymore.  Even lift my own body off the couch became challenging. Next up I was due to have my g-tube changed to a j-tube.

My son also suffered from horrible stomach aches for about a year and began refusing to eat. He was due to start testing to find out what was causing this problem. I remember the day I was so ill and weak, unable to barely move. My son was supposed to be eating but was doubled over in pain yet again unable to eat. I was so sick I couldn’t even care for him. I did all I could to make it through each day myself and I can’t explain how much this hurt me inside. In addition my husband had his ongoing digestive issues from a gallbladder removal. I was feeling desperate so the next day I finally decided to actually look into this Healing Gastroparesis Naturally Group I had joined a while back.  Natural and alternative ideas were the only routes I had yet to explore.  It only took me one day of reading other’s stories and all about the essential oils to place my order for the GP kit and give it a try. At this point I didn’t feel I had much to lose. I took my money for that month's stomach medication and ordered the oils. I checked in with my doctor and instead of asking for a permanent port I requested a month to try this “all natural” approach. I told him I was going off my medications and also starting a homemade formula for my g tube. I'm sure I sounded crazy of course! In 3 days my essential oils arrived at my door. And so my journey began...

 It was not a very easy start. I was extremely sick from dehydration and malnutrition as well as sick with a cold/ During this time I was also weaning off some of my medications that were not helping me. I was so sick and weak my husband applied my oils frequently the first few days every half hour.  I also switched myself from the prescription feeding formula to a homemade organic formula and started adding in kefir milk, coconut milk, chicken bone broth, coconut water and powdered goats milk.  This also allowed me to get off my night time pump feedings. I started applying the Baby’s Happy Tummy essential oil on my children and started giving my family kefir milk daily. I told myself to give it a year, and then evaluate the situation. I was healing 30+ years of damage here.

While on my prescription formula I was only tolerating very small feeds, approximately 3 ounces at a time. So when I started the homemade formula I started out the same at 3 ounces. I was up at night doing bolus feeds every 2 hours because my body was so use to the night time pump feeds. Within days of just these few changes I could already notice a huge difference. My energy, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, bowel movements and the amount I was feeding were all improving. I was tolerating the homemade formula much better so I was able to steadily increase my feeds. My bowel movements had changed from constant diarrhea after every feed to being normal. I was very surprised by these changes even though I had a cold, difficulties with my other illnesses and going off medications. There were a lot of changes happening but I was steadily improving. Due to other illnesses, I also suffer from a constant low-grade fever which also improved enough to be more tolerable and I am no longer suffering from daily cold sweats.

After about a week on this new regimen I was doing quite well considering a few days prior I was barely getting anything by mouth and unable to get up off the couch. I was actually getting an appetite and feeling my stomach move. A few times I even tried eating some stuff by mouth. I was feeding from early morning to night every 2 hours including warming my feeds. Warming the feeds made a huge difference in the stomach cramping. I was now mostly sleeping at night for once since being on a feeding tube and night feeds. Vomiting was much better except for some morning episodes.  I also started becoming more active and doing more things. I was extremely happy by my progress so far and it had only been a short time. It was not easy and it continued to be challenging but I continued applying my oils and continued pushing my feeds. Each day the amount of formula and fluids I was pushing kept increasing more and more. Within about 3 weeks’ time I was pumping all my necessary fluids and most of my daily calories. This was a first in several years for me. Little did I know I would be doing so well I would have trouble keeping up with my feeds into my stomach!

A little over a month into this new approach I was no longer sleeping well because my body was so hungry and my homemade formula no longer holding me over. I was shocked by how much I was getting in. Even more shocked I was ready to start adding in more solid foods by mouth so soon. Despite having some nausea at night due to waking up hungry, my nausea and other symptoms became very well controlled with the use of the essential oils. I never thought my nausea could be controlled, I thought it was too strong having dealt with it 24/7 for s