One thing that I tend to do is to get stuck on the same thing. The same outfit to wear, the same food to eat, et cetera. I remember eating cooked chicken skins for dinner for forty-five days in a row, followed by another binge of macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. Usually, I don't really care for macaroni & cheese but during this time, I couldn't get enough. For the most part, the foods I crave are healthy. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I eat a lot of chicken, but not a lot of other meat.
A few years ago I started losing weight but didn't know why. I was eating healthy. In fact, I had just started a new job in which I had a longer lunch break and I was actually able to consume a whole lunch AND have extra time. I got hooked on salads and chicken, bacon, ranch grinders from Subway. I ate these every day. I even ate soup as well. Lunch ended up being my bigger meal of the day as I wasn't too hungry by dinner time.
I went to the doctor about the weight loss and the other symptoms that I was having to try and find out why. I didn't weigh a lot to begin with and I definitely didn't want to lose any of the weight that I had.
First off, the doctor suggested stress, depression, major lifestyle changes (new job) as the culprit. I assured him that I was absolutely positive that wasn't the case. He wanted me to come back in two weeks. When I returned I had lost some more weight. I was really worried. the doctor wanted me to try some antidepressants. He assured me that when I went back in two more weeks I would have not lost anymore weight and that I would eventually start to gain the weight back. I was frustrated, but I did as I was told because he was the doctor.
I went back in two weeks. I religiously took the antidepressants. Still lost more weight. By this point I had dropped under one hundred pounds. He told me that if I dropped below ninety pounds that he would have to admit me to the hospital. He wanted to switch the antidepressant that I was on to another antidepressant. This made me upset because I knew this wasn't the underlying cause. I wasn't depressed. I was fine except the weight loss. The only thing stressing me out was the weight loss. I agreed to the switch in medication if he agreed to send me for a second opinion with a gastroenterologist. I also went for a psychiatric evaluation that he wanted me to do. That came back fine, as I knew it would. I took the new medication and went for my evaluation with the gastroenterologist.
My first appointment with the gastroenterologist really aggravated me. They asked me if I made myself vomit. They asked me how I felt about my self image. I reminded them nicely that I was the one pushing for the evaluation to get to the bottom of the issue because I was worried and that if I was doing it to myself then I wouldn't have been the one to ask for the referral. They backed off a little saying that I fit the stereotypical profile of someone with an eating disorder, yada yada yada. They asked me again. I was pissed. They went over history, diet, symptoms et cetera and suggested that they could test for things like Celiac Disease, Crohn's, IBS, among others. I was like great, let's find out what it is.
My mom had accompanied me to the appointment. On the way home she was starting to believe the doctors about the depression and eating disorders and such. I reassured her that I knew there was something else going on. I knew I would just have to wait until we had the results and hoped that I wouldn't lose too much weight before then.
The test for Celiac Disease came back negative. Another test that I had to take was a gastric emptying scan. I had to eat food with radioactive material in it and then have my stomach scanned every hour for four hours to see how my stomach was emptying.
The results of my test came back just as I dropped below ninety pounds. Luckily, I didn't have to be admitted to the hospital. I learned that I had gastroparesis. Idiopathic gastroparesis to be exact. I understand why this wasn't something the doctors would initially consider. It is usually a condition that affects diabetics. In fact, about 50% of diabetics have gastroparesis. I am not diabetic.
To help the gastric emptying process and gain the weight back, I was put on four doses of Reglan a day. I took that for about six months. I do not take it now. I am able to manage it by watching my diet. I need to limit the amount of raw vegetables I eat (not a lot of salad) and stay away from lots of fiber. There is more to it than just that little piece, but it is the part that bothers me the most.
For instance...getting stuck on things...I like prunes. I just bought a couple small bags of prunes. I could eat the whole bag right now. Between the three prunes I have eaten and the raw baby carrots that I have consumed this past week, I am starting to suffer from stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite and some others that I won't mention. This really bites because all I want to eat right now is a prune. Prune juice is okay, but I don't care for prune juice.
A lot of people say there is a correlation between autism and stomach issues. I wonder if gastroparesis is one of those. I have tried to research this online but my findings are inconclusive. Does anyone else out there know anyone that is autistic that has gastroparesis??