Hi everyone! My name is Ana Gotter, and I’m a bookworm and an avid food lover. I graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with my degree in writing (and got accepted for my MFA in nonfiction writing, to which I’ve deferred). I have since worked hard to start– and successfully run!– a writing business, which means I get to work from home with my two dogs next to me. I also happen to have gastroparesis.
The Process of My Diagnosis
In June 2012, I started an internship at Disney, and I started getting sick all the time, throwing up constantly. I blamed it on stress, an unreliable eating schedule, and just plain being exhausted. I had been perfectly healthy, until one day I just wasn’t. And no one could figure out why.
Two and a half years and four GI doctors later, I was still sick, tired, and scared. Two GI doctors couldn’t find anything. The third told me it was an anxiety disorder. The fourth, truly frustrated, said that I was clearly bulimic and in need of an immediate psychiatric consult. Talk about bedside manner.
I switched gears and saw a therapist for anxiety, but grew frustrated when it didn’t help. I threw up more and more, watched my weight go up and down like a yo-yo, and I was always nauseous. I started feeling the mental, physical, and emotional affects of malnourishment. I started to believe it really was all just from anxiety.
In early March of 2015, I became violently ill. I went to two different ERs, two days in a row. Fast forward another three days, and I was admitted to the hospital. I was so malnourished and emaciated that my body (and my organs) had started to shut down.
Once the doctors stabilized me four days later, they ran some tests that included the gastric emptying test, and I was diagnosed with gastroparesis.
During my hospitalization, I had lost 20% of my body weight (dropping to a frightening 84 pounds), as well as almost all my muscle mass, a few major clients, a two-and-a-half year long relationship (my ex decided he didn’t want to be with me anymore while I was in the hospital), my health, and almost my life. I felt like I had lost everything.
Like a lot of people, I struggled with the illness. After getting sicker for two and a half years, I was handed a life-changing and scary diagnosis.
My Treatment Plan & Recovery
I currently am on domperidone, a modified diet, and Zofran for nausea. While I’m making progress, it is easy to get frustrated when setbacks hit and I’m stuck to an IV for a day, but I am grateful that I can run my business from anywhere with WiFi, even if I’m hooked up to a drip line in the process. I am still heavily in the recovery period, trying to add muscle mass and weight back on more than a year later. I am also in therapy to deal with the emotional frustrations of gastroparesis (and the whole almost dying thing), and I highly recommend this to everyone who thinks they could benefit from it.
One of my biggest challenges when I got out was the eating debacle everyone with GP is familiar with.
I love food. I used to get my money’s worth at all-you-can-eat-buffets, and all of a sudden I could barely eat anything. I got tired of yogurt and chicken broth really fast, but lacked the energy in early recovery to come up with gastroparesis-friendly recipes that kept me wanting to fight my lacking appetite.
Now that I have had the energy to come up with some awesome recipes, I wanted to share them all with you. And so, Cooking for Gastroparesis was born.