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Friday, December 27, 2013

Living with Incurable Illness/Disorders

Today I had to eat radioactive cereal for a gastric emptying study, which confirmed that I have gastroparesis. I've known that I have it since March of 2013, when an upper endoscopy revealed that my stomach had not emptied properly prior to the test. The gastroenterologist did not follow up, so I did my own research, consulted a nutritionist, and began eating to treat the condition. It has worsened, but that's the nature of gastroparesis. I'm going to have to be really careful about what I eat...mostly liquids and egg white omlettes and greek yogurt.

I'm ok with being on a heavily restricted diet for the rest of my life for two reasons: I have been living with chronic illness since I was diagnosed with asthma at 13, and the Strattera. I am so much calmer and accepting of life in general since I've been on medication for ADHD. I am very, very grateful for the diagnosis and treatment.

It still doesn't change that living with chronic, incurable illness is difficult and frustrating. At 25, I was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome (an autoimmune illness in the lupus/RA family) and fibromyalgia (which is common in females with ADHD). I have strange and sometimes frightening symptoms, and some of them are chronic, such as extreme fatigue and low grade fevers. It's not easy. Before the Strattera, I would often have panic attacks at the doctor's office. especially if I had to wait more than a half hour to see the doctor. I would also have attacks when told that there was nothing that could be done for my latest symptoms. I still get frustrated, but I am mostly calm. I've found that accepting and embracing my ADHD has helped me cope with my other conditions.

There is no cure for ADHD, for gastroparesis, for Sjogren's syndrome, for fibromyalgia. But I can take care of myself the best I can and enjoy life.

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