Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My g-tube and I

I often think about how the only reason I'm surviving now is because of all the advancements of medical technology. It's beyond the normal "I would have died if I had caught the flu! Thanks modern medicine!"
1534906_1376935339290368_2216797908410761634_oI think of all the medical procedures I get each year to keep by body functioning and healthy. I get sinus surgery done every year to remove my sinus polyps and bronchoscopy one to twice a year to keep my lungs somewhat clear of mucus. Even without these two procedures alone, I would lead a
miserable, painful life. But I always think about my feeding tube. Which hasn't become a medical necessity for me until recently.
I can't consume the amount of calories I need to keep my body functioning. Not even close. Not even close when I try my hardest. Not even close when I eat until I'm completely nauseated, take some anti-nausea medication and eat more. So I have a feeding tube, specifically a g-tube.
I love my g-tube. It has benefited me in so many ways and has taken off a huge amount of stress about eating. I'll be honest, my stomach was originally not happy being forced down food in the middle of the night. But month by month, it tolerated it more until it no longer bothered my stomach.
You would think I would gain all this weight being feed 1500 calories at night. And initially did. I went from 95 pounds to 110 pounds in a few months. But soon I hit a road block in my weight, and started to very gradually lose weight. All my doctors could say was, "you need more calories."
I was tracking what I ate; I tried to make sure I was eating at least three meals a day, no matter how small. But no matter what creative solution I thought of to eat more, to eat more calories, it wasn't enough.
I had a doctor recommend to me doing another feed during the day. While I wasn't opposed to the idea (okay I was a little opposed), it wasn't realistic. I don't have 4 hours to waste sitting on my bed being fed. We agreed on drinking an additional high calorie supplement during the day for the extra 375 calories.
I quickly realized with the amount I'm eating, that extra 375 wasn't going to be enough. My goal is too consume 3000 calories a day. 1500 through my night feed and 1500 through eating food.  Even though I've worked on consuming high calorie food, I just eat too little to hit the 1500 mark. It's beyond frustrating.
I came with a plan to do a small feed in the late morning, early afternoon time frame. 500ml of formula at a rate of 400 means I'm getting 750 calories in a span of a hour and 15 minutes. Which is highly doable. That is very rapid speed to be given formula at; again, my stomach will not be happy. But hopefully it adjusts because I cannot consume my calories  any other way than with the assistance of my g-tube.
I'll be honest, it slightly dehumanizes me. The fact that I cannot consume enough food for my body to function and need the assistance of a machine. But it is also very humbling. I can live my life as a "normal" person in society because of this simple little machine. So rather than loathing my body and g-tube for putting me in such a predicament, I embrace it. I do have a have a life threatening medical disease, but with these (very cool) medical advancements, it is not so life threatening. More like... life inconvenient.
At the end of the day, I can still eat and enjoy my normal foods throughout the day and just have my old pal, g-tube, assist me along the way.

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