On June 24th and 25th, 2019 a #DCGreen2019 rally will be held to bring awareness and knowledge about #Gastroparesis and #FunctionalGImotilityDisorders to Washington, DC. This will be held in conjunction with IFFGD (International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders).
For those that are unable to physically participate in person, a virtual march will be held as well. Everyone will be able to participate, whether in person or from the comfort of your home.
Thank you to all involved in the planning phases! If you'd like to join in the planning please feel free to join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GPMarch/?fref=mentions&__tn__=KH-R! More specific details will be available at a future date.
The tentative schedule in my friend Melissa Adams VanHouten's words:
"Monday will consist of an IFFGD-sponsored speaking event focused on Gastroparesis-related presentations in the morning (at a central hotel conference site) and our Gastroparesis rally (at the Capitol, within walking distance of the conference site) in the afternoon.
Tuesday will be the day we meet with legislators. We will meet briefly with the IFFGD in the morning to cover tips on engaging and conducting a successful office visit and then break up into small groups and head back to the Capitol for meetings with our individual representatives. At the end of our sessions, we will meet back at the conference site for assessment and some closing remarks.
Please keep in mind the itinerary is tentative, but the dates are now concrete. You are welcome to attend any or all of these events. Additional details to follow!
Let's go create some change!"
I know that I have not written quite as often over the past few months, or to be honest, last year as a whole. It's not that I didn't want to, in fact I really felt the need to share and process the mental anguish that I have been dealing with as a result of my physical illness, medicine side effects, trust issues, and complete exhaustion. I just have not been able to find the right words to accurately express my thoughts and experiences.
During 2018, I tried to persevere through my low moods, discouraging seemingly unbearable days, fears, and sadness for the sake of my children and family. I tried hard to focus my attention on the "more tolerable" days and the creation of positive memories on those days, to help me survive the unfavorable and undesirable days. I attempted to be present with my kids and family as much as I could, accept and respect my body's limitations, and pursue the highest quality of life that I could, regardless of the side effects I would face later. (And yes, they have been and continue to be brutal and last for days.) But what is the point of being alive if I don't allow myself the opportunity to live and experience moments with my family?
During 2018, I lost touch with an important part of me. I spent months feeling numb and lost, but during the foggy moments I still tried to remain true to my goals and intentions. Yes, it was incredibly hard and at times I wanted to quit, wanted to give up, wanted to disappear - but the love from God and my family, as well as some a few close confidants, didn't allow me to drown. They remained by my side and gave me the encouragement to hang on just one more day, to strive for the beautiful moments in life, and to relive the meaningful and special memories in my mind when days seemed too dark or painful to continue.
The final month of 2018 ended up being a realistic summary for my entire year. Health issues. Mental worries. Emotional lows. Physical and emotional exhaustion. The feeling of living in a daze. Injuries, from falls, that I was determined to handle on my own. Ignoring medical needs momentarily as I tried to "figure it out" or "allow it to fix itself" on my own. Challenging and taking risks outside my comfort zone, in search of treasured memories with loved ones. And days of consequences that made me rethink and appreciate the meaning behind each of my chosen actions.
I ended 2018 with my kids, husband, and dad at a football game. My youngest kids are high school students, avid sports fans, and have attended numerous ball games with their father and grandfather. However, I decided to attend this game with them. It was the very first time that I have ever been with them to a football game. Was it easy? Definitely not! I was beyond exhausted. I was nauseated. My body ached all over. My heating pad was necessary at the hotel. I humbled myself and agreed to riding in a wheelchair from the parking lot to our seats. With the exception of the game we remained and rested at the hotel. (Which admittedly was more than worthwhile, because it helped me reserve that much needed energy to sit at the game and bring in 2019 with them by my side!) Due to my feeding tube splitting and leaking, I had to go a few days without running my tube feeds - which added additional strain to my body. My IV fluids were infused in the hotel room and during the car ride. My body definitely hated me, my mind questioned and partially criticized me, while my mind, spirit, and heart were full of love and pride! My life is not ideal, that is for sure, but miracles still surround me, and for that I am most grateful.
2018 has had its ups and downs, achievements & letdowns, laugh & tears. Every year will. Emotionally & physically I have been challenged, but through it all God & family have remained steady. My goal for 2018, will continue throughout 2019; Striving through difficult days with the memories created during the more tolerable ones. One thing I’ve learned through my experiences, through saying goodbye to friends & loved ones that have rejoined Christ in Heaven, is that life is too short and treasured memories are too important to waste. (Even if I have to deal with terrible physical consequences afterwards.) Our online GP support group said goodbye to 50 young souls in just 2018 alone, 50, and that does not include any of our friends that passed on prior to 2018. I'm sure that there are probably others that we are not aware of. A friend I was close to in high school and another school classmate ended their lives at the age of 39 and 40 a few months ago. Family members and family friends have passed away this year, some of which were unexpectedly, due to illness and/or accidents. No one is promised tomorrow.
Happy New Year everyone! I'm sure that we all will have hard and difficult days during 2019, but may we also be blessed with so many more enjoyable ones to share with our loved ones and friends.
A proud mother, educator, Gastroparesis & GI Motility Disorder Advocate,
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