Life with a Feeding Tube
Throughout my years as a disabled woman, I have had to make important decisions about my body and healthcare. By far the most daunting decision I had to make was back in 2021, when my medical team advised me it was time to get a feeding tube due to a severe case of gastroparesis. Today, I celebrate two years of living with a feeding tube. It hasn’t always been a breeze, but I’m healthier and stronger for it.
For a year and a half I had been throwing up non-stop and my symptoms were exacerbated due to lack of nutrition. But honestly, I was ok with living like this. It wasn’t until a Registered Dietician told me that my future could be cut short due to developing esophageal cancer. That comment got me and I immediately scheduled my J-tube surgery.
While I have had over 40 surgeries all over my body, the open J-tube surgery was one of the worst. I spent a week recovering in the hospital with 10/10 pain only to be released and still have that same pain for months while my body recovered from the trauma. That being said, today, I am confident in my decision to get a J-tube and this November 10 marks two years of having one!
For me, having a feeding tube is more of a nuisance than anything at this point. I can’t really wear white shirts anymore because they immediately get stained with yellow bodily fluid. Sometimes my skin gets burned from stomach acid leakage and some days the pain is higher than others. I often get awoken with the loud beep of a kinked feeding tube in the middle of the night. I also feel like I’m attached to a leash all night. But getting a feeding tube really did help me. I have more energy now that I am properly nourished, and of course, I have this new perspective after facing another unique adversity.
Getting a feeding tube was the catalyst for creating Dateability but it also gave me so much more! I realized that nothing is as scary as what I envision it to be in my head and that I can get through anything. I am proud of the decisions I’ve made and what I have accomplished within these last two years.