Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Sara+Montana+Sarah

Hello! Welcome to day 4 of Feeding Tube Awareness Week! Feel like you’ve heard it all? Well I’ve got news for you! There’s always more to learn from each different tubie. We’ve all had such different experiences, even if they are the same medical device!

Today we start off with my friend Sara Grace! She has had a very different experience with feeding tubes, her’s did not go well and ended up failing. I love hearing her perspective so much. You can find her on Instagram @chronic_sgb!sara g!.png

Q: What diagnosis led to you needing a feeding tube?

A: hEDS, rumination and gastroparesis

Q: How long have you been tube fed?

A: J-tube duration was 2 months, TPN duration 8 months

Q: What type of tube did you have?

A: J-tube (long)

Q: What would you love to share with someone new to tube feeding?

A: Please listen to your body! Doctors may tell you that chronic debilitating site and muscle pain is normal for tube healing, but if the pain increases or doesn’t go away, tubes were not meant for you! (And that’s okay and NOT YOUR FAULT)

Q: How has your feeding tube helped to improve your life?

A: My feeding tube was supposed to be my saving grace, but instead it caused months of traumatizing and debilitating pain that has left me with scar tissue and ended up decreasing my motility further.

Q: What is a complication you’ve had that you never expected to happen with your tube?

I went to the Mayo clinic to have my feeding tube placed by the best, and none of the GI doctors on my team were aware of the potential complications that come from placing tubes in hEDS patients.  Having finally found a GI doc that specializes in EDS based gastroparesis, he was able to explain why it was that my tube failed.  After a barium swallow to confirm, he found that (due to EDS) my intestinal tract crumples at the bottom of my pelvis instead of staying in place when I sit/stand up or walk around.  This made my tube placement incredibly painful, as it was pinning my small bowel to my skin and just hanging there. Continue reading “Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Sara+Montana+Sarah”

Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Ally+Breanne+Mandi

Day three of spreading some Feeding Tube Awareness up in here! Let’s jump to it, as we have three precious humans to hear from today! First up, Ally! You can find her on Instagram @myhealthquirks!5

Q: What diagnosis led you to needing a feeding tube?

A: Gastroparesis due to Elher’s Danlos Syndrome

Q: How long have you had your tube/been tube fed?

A: 3 months Continue reading “Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Ally+Breanne+Mandi”

Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Rose+Sam+Ansley

Welcome back! Let’s dive right back in with day two of Feeding Tube Awareness week with my friend Rose! You can find her on Instagram @my.eds!14

Q: What diagnosis that led you to needing a feeding tube?

A: Gastoparesis, ntestinal dysmotility, MALS

Q: How long have you had your tubes?

A: Six months.

Q: What type of tube do you have?

A: An NJ tube and an NG tube.

Q: What would you love to share with someone new to tube feeding?

A: If tube feeds work for you it can be a complete life changer! It seems scary but if it can drastically improve your life try to be open to it. Continue reading “Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Rose+Sam+Ansley”

Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Liz+Lauren+Cat

Welcome to Feeding Tube Awareness Week-Pretty Couch Potato Style! Over the course of this week, I’ll be sharing fifteen of my tubie friends’ stories.

The range stories are all very different from each person. Some have been on tube feeds for nearly their entire lives, some just started on tube feeds, and some don’t even use their feeding tubes for feeding (HAYYYY, das me!)

Let’s start here with my friend Liz! You can find her on Instagram @liz_81712!1

Q: What diagnosis led to you needing a feeding tube?

A: The underlying diagnosis that caused me to require tube feeding is mitochondrial disease.

Q: How many years have you had a tube or been on tube feeds?

A: I have relied on tube feeds as 100% of my nutrition for 19 years now, since I was 18 months old. Anything I’ve been able to have orally has merely been for pleasure. Continue reading “Feeding Tube Awareness Week Feature-Liz+Lauren+Cat”

On Accepting That Getting Off TPN Isn’t My Biggest Goal

It seems to me that one of the biggest goals for everyone surrounding a TPN dependent individual is to get them off of the therapy. I even had a doctor I had never met before come into an exam room and the first thing he said to me was, “Alright, we will be stopping your TPN.” Needless to say, I broke up with that doctor because he did not understand my reality (and turns out pretty much no doctor in NW Arkansas does, hence why I still travel to Dallas for my care!) Anyway, while this is an amazing goal for lots of people who experience the need for parenteral nutrition at some point in their life, this is not always the case. And I’m here to tell you that that’s okay (even though I still struggle with accepting this myself every single day.)

I began my venture with IV nutrition support at 13 years old; not long after receiving my diagnosis of Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction. At that point, my biggest goal with every doctor’s visit was to cut out one more day per week. At this time, this made total sense for my situation. I was still able to consume foods and maintain my weight and the days slowly dwindled down to 3 days per week.

For years I was able to maintain a somewhat healthy body on this regimen. But when my doctor asked if I’d like to see how I would do without it, things went downhill quickly. (The aftermath of that below.)

My Story Part Eleven 2
Lukaza and I at her house!

If you had asked me then, I would have said I was doing amazing! I was off TPN! It’s all I’d ever wanted and it was my goal all along, right? I was doing great!

I wasn’t minding what the scale said. I wasn’t minding how my body felt. I wasn’t minding that there were days I could barely sit myself up out of bed. None of that mattered.

I made it about nine months without TPN before I found myself in the midst of the longest hospital stay of my entire life while on vacation in California. I was stuck inside of a La Jolla hospital for two full months. I had really gotten myself into rough shape. All because I was priding myself of being free from what I’d felt I needed to get away from for so many years. There, I was told I needed to get back on it. And this time, I was unable to consume food by mouth. My condition had worsened and I was unable to tolerate even the simplest of foods.

My Story Part Thirteen 3
Livin’ that Kleenex in the nose life!

So I started all over; seven days of week of TPN. And you know what? That was five years ago, and I haven’t dwindled one single day off of my regimen.

And you know what else? It’s gonna be okay! Because I am the healthiest and happiest I have been since I was a child. TPN gives me the energy I need to thrive, and that’s exactly what I feel like I’m doing!

I have a wonderful team who makes my TPN to where it’s perfect for me and keeping me as healthy as possible. I am not surrounded by clinicians who try to pressure me to do things that could hinder my quality of life. They understand my disease state and can see that my body is doing exactly what it needs to do.jen day00112web

Of course there are severe risks with a therapy as invasive as IV nutrition, but this cannot discount the full life it has given me and many of my friends. It is possible to live a healthy and fulfilling life on TPN, and I am so thankful for that every single day.

Another of course, if you are able and working to get off of TPN therapy, that is AMAZING news. This post is for those of us struggling with the reality that the day we are off TPN may never come, and coming to terms with the life it does allow us to have ❤