Sunday, 30 September 2018

Life with a PGJ Feeding Tube

Ever since I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (GP) my biggest fear was getting to the point where I needed a feeding tube. It’s not a guarantee that all GPers will end up with a feeding tube but nevertheless I was determined not to let my GP get to that point. If only I had that much control over my body, my GP, and my health. Not saying one doesn’t have control over their health but you don’t have full control that’s for sure. 

A feeding tube just seemed to scary and I wasn’t going to except that it in fact it could happen and happen it did! 

My health and GP where getting worse and I was going through a very rough patch with GP. I was constantly in and out of hospital, in more so than out and at home. I wasn’t able to tolerate any solids. I could only have a clear fluid diet and sometimes a full fluid diet over a course of 4-5 months with very little nutrients and I went 3 months on just a clear fluid diet with pretty much no nutrition. Now was the time for a feeding tube! I had lost a lot of weight and was down to almost nothing, I had nothing left to lose. Even though I knew this had to happen it was still a tough decision. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions, obviously for my health and life but also for my Gastroparesis!

I ended up getting a PGJ feeding tube, which means “percutaneous gastro-jejunal” meaning it goes through the stomach and into the small intestine. Having this kind of feeding tube is quite beneficial for Diabetic GPers in the ways of: 

1) When unable to tolerate much and/or can’t keep anything down you can do feeds for nutrition since we’re very malnurished and if you need to put some weight on it helps with that as well. 

2) We can put our medication through the feeding tube. Doing this you always know meds will stay down and kick in in about 15-20 minutes rather then not knowing when or if they’ll absorb or not. Sometimes medication can sit in a GPers stomach for hours or even days before the medication is absorbed or digested if it is at all. This can lead to problems such as multiple doses absorbing all at once and that can be extremely dangerous. 

3) When a Diabetic is having a low blood sugar and again not tolerating much or not keeping anything down you’re able to put juice or sugar water or crushed up glucose tabs through the tube as well. 

4) With feeds and medications we’re bypassing the stomach so nothing will come up if getting sick. 

The tube doesn’t hurt at all and it doesn’t really get in the way. I don’t have to cover it or anything when I shower or bath and I use regular body wash on it. I’ve had pretty good luck with it. I have to get a new tube put in every 4-6 months and the procedure is pain less and there’s really no discomfort and it only takes 10-15 minutes which is nice!

Looking back now after having the feeding tube for 5 years I am very glad I got it. It saved my life!
I would honestly recommend one to every GPer and especially to every Diabetic GPer!

Happy Tummy Days Everyone! 💚

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