Tuesday, August 30, 2016


In the glistening warmth of the sun,
In the glorious light of the day,
No worries, no concerns, no cares,
All my trials and troubles far away.

No sorrow, no qualms, no regrets,
No frailties or infirmities to be seen,
Hopeful, blissful, and optimistic –
What on earth could happen to me?

Far below me, all creation cries its tears,
But I am blinded by the magnificent light,
Oblivious to the broken and downtrodden,
Turn my eyes from their miserable plight.

Artfully avert my downward glance,
Perhaps all the misfortune will go away,
Walking the enlightened path,
From my righteousness, I will not stray.

The sunshine is simply splendid,
The future burns quite bright,
No need to dwell on hardships –
But all at once, down comes the night.

Comes the night and all the darkness,
Bitter, harsh, and cold,
Frightened, stunned, and shaken,
Chilled to the brittle bone.

What once was mine is lost,
As pleasure turns swiftly to pain,
Lose the day, lose the warmth, lose my footing,
Sunlight transforms into rain.

Hellish beasts and demons,
Appear the creatures of the dark,
Cruelly haunted by my long-dead past,
Become wounds of my once hardened heart.

The tomb that is hollow and empty,
Beckons, calls to me,
The grave, profound and hidden,
Now forever can be seen.

The depths of despair and anguish,
In the ones who are less than whole,
The fate of all the abandoned ones,
Now pierces my once lost soul.

Some will declare their disbelief,
But I know the story far too well,
It lies buried deep inside of me,
And it is mine alone to tell.

The pages turn before me,
Swiftly, fleetingly, they fly,
So far from the glorious beginning,
When I believed I had more time.

I had no great love, no tenderness,
During my days in the blessed light,
No concern or solace for the lesser ones;
They barely entered my mind.

I have found that fate’s a cruel teacher,
But an effective one nonetheless.
I have become a scholar in hardship,
A dazzling master of hopelessness.

So I offer up a warning
To you whose hearts and souls are black –
The shades have been thrown open,
Find the mercy you seem to lack.

The sunrise can once again return,
Not only for me but for you,
But you must be willing, be open
Must help those around you begin anew.

Those unfortunates who have passed over,
From bright daylight into dark night,
Need kindness, understanding, and mercy.
Will you take up our burdensome fight?

You soulless souls find it arduous
To pause and peer into the dark,
But you must, for the sake of your own sakes,
Spark the fire in your cold, dead hearts.

Illumination comes from the inside,
And not, as you believed, from without,
Have compassion on the untouchables,
Radiate your brilliance throughout.

For it is only your benevolence,
We anchor our fragile hopes upon,
Only your kindness and gentleness,
That reawakens the dawn.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Something less than human,
Pieces of the whole,
Cracked and broken open,
Have mercy on her daunted soul.

A puzzle missing pieces,
Never quite complete,
A riddle, an enigma,
An unfinished music sheet.

There is something she is lacking,
Once held but now is lost,
The key to all her questions,
But the chasm she cannot cross.

The labyrinth engulfs her,
Cannot see above the walls,
The answer, it eludes her,
As she roams lost within the halls. 

What happened to the person
Who once was unimpaired?
She has been found wanting,
Frail and weak and scared.

Must rearrange the pieces,
Put them back in place,
Decipher the information,
Before it is too late.

The woman who now queries,
Once knew where she belonged,
Planned a different future,
One that has gone so wrong.

Caught up in this dilemma,
She cannot see the light,
Feels her way through the darkness,
Seeks an end to this black night.

Who can help this poor blind soul,
Guide her back to where it’s safe?
Who can gather the parts,
Assemble them in their place?

Those masters of comprehension,
Vast knowledge to impart,
Should perhaps review the problem,
And respond instead with their hearts.

For this being who is divided,
Split and incomplete,
Requires compassion and healing,
Not scolding and conceit.

Her solitary hope in this life,
Lies in the One above,
Who can mend her tattered soul,
Offer grace and comfort and love.

He holds all the answers,
Carries her through the maze,
He erects the bridge
From despair to brighter days.

He is her Saving Grace,
The One who keeps her sane,
Who never fails to remind her
That her searching is not in vain.

He is patient, though she falters,
Failing to understand,
Holds the fragile fragments together,
Dries her tears and takes her hand.

He silences her doubts and fears,
Calms her shattered mind,
Fills in the missing pieces,
Pens a symphony warm and sublime.

He alone can restore her,
Shape the parts into a whole,
He is indeed the Great Healer, 
The one who completes her soul.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


On this 27th day of August, we are nearing the end of Gastroparesis Awareness Month, and, in my estimation, much awareness has been spread.  We should be elated about the strides we have made.  After all, August 2016 would appear to be a banner year for our community.  For the first time ever, we have an officially recognized national awareness month.  In addition, governors in 22 states have approved proclamations declaring Gastroparesis awareness weeks or months.  We have a congressional bill (HR 2311) before a subcommittee that would give us much-needed research funding and that has attracted additional cosponsors each congressional session.  Numerous articles and interviews, both local and national, have shed light on our illness, and countless websites have included information about GP in an attempt to help us spread the word.  We are receiving more attention than ever before.

Yet, as I reflect upon the month and upon the current mood in our GP support groups, I see anything but joy.  In fact, I see quite the opposite.  This community is depressed.  Many are feeling defeated – and even guilty.  Why?  Because at the close of this month, we are very much “aware” that, despite any gains that have been made, we still have miles to go. 

August has not brought a cure.

I hear the grumbling in this community: “Awareness Month is almost over.  I didn’t do enough.  I wish I had done more.”  Many of us feel guilt and regret that this illness has kept us from pushing harder for our cause and that we have been unable to host in-person awareness events, garner additional media attention, persuade family members and friends to share articles, memes, photos, and stories, and secure donations for our digestive disorder organizations.  We lament the fact that there has been no “ALS moment” for the GP community, and we mourn the loss of what we perceive to be opportunity “wasted.” 

We are sad, but, moreover, we feel helpless and rejected.  We have been disparaged by family members and friends who have brushed us aside, not bothering to read and share our stories, and who have refused to participate in our awareness campaigns.  We have been cast off by the media, which, despite its vast reach and great power, has rejected our pleas and has refused to engage in a supreme effort to shed light on our condition and reach the legislators, researchers, medical professionals, and others who could make a significant difference in our lives.  We have been dismissed by the politicians and policy makers who have failed to support our congressional bill and who have not pushed to enact measures which would make it less cumbersome for us to get necessary treatments, insurance coverage, and disability funds.  We have been scorned by pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and medical professionals who have paid no more attention than usual to our plight and have done nothing to improve our care.

Most of our community members have engaged in a determined effort this month to convince those around us who might truly transform our circumstances to reach out, show compassion, and pull us out of our abyss. We have put all of our energy into this cause.  We believed, for a time, that if we simply worked hard enough and long enough, if we were truly motivated enough, we could achieve all we had set forth to accomplish.  But, at the end of the month, comes the realization: nothing much has changed.  And so, we feel powerless in the face of this beast of a disease that seeks to steal our very lives, though we have fought tooth and nail to change our situation. 

Come the morning of September 1, 2016, we know that, as usual, we will wake up with GP and all of its devastating effects.  We will still be forced to engage in the daily battle against nausea, vomiting, pain, hunger, bloating, and all of the other hardships that accompany our illness.  We will encounter family members and friends who do not understand our limitations and who abandon us because we can no longer participate in activities quite the way we used to.  We will continue to confront medical professionals who believe we are hypochondriacs and drug-seekers, faking our illness for sympathy and attention, and we will watch our bank accounts further diminish and our finances crumble in the face of ever-mounting medical bills. 

This is the harsh reality.  There is no denying it; yet, the truth is more complex than this.  There is a downside to awareness month, a somewhat unexpected sense of disillusionment, to be sure.  Perhaps we cannot completely avoid or ignore the “letdown” feeling that has reared its ugly head, but we can see our smaller-than-hoped-for gains for what they are: progress.  In the final analysis, this does not have to be an “all or nothing” scenario.  No, we have not brought our disease to an end, and we have not achieved universal awareness.  We do not have a cure, and we will not wake up tomorrow to magically symptom-free days.  But we are altering our landscape.  Little by little, we are changing how our illness is seen by those around us.  Our stories are gradually having an impact.  Not all have been moved to compassion – but some have softened.  Not all have been persuaded to help – but a few have responded to the call.

There has been no revolution, no overhaul of the system that persists in permitting our agony, but we must not demean the advances we have made.  Ultimately, we cannot regulate the behavior of others; we can merely govern our own actions.  Likewise, we cannot control all outcomes, but we can help shape them with our continued engagement.  Furthermore, our awareness campaign does not have to end simply because August has.  Perhaps we cannot maintain the same grueling pace, but we can take tiny steps forward.  Piece by piece, we can chip away at the obstacles that stand in the way of our cure.  We cannot do it alone, but we can do it together.  Progress may be slower than we wish, but we will see our dreams realized one day.  We must continue this fight, rise up as many times as necessary to effect change, because, in the end, what other choice do we really have? 

We must not remain discouraged.  We have not accomplished every goal, but we have made small strides toward them – and that is surely preferable to standing motionless.  As we approach September, we must determine to convert the awareness we have gained into concrete actions.  Our battle has not been lost, and we must resolve to pursue all possible measures that might win us the attention and help we so desperately need. 

We must be proud of all we have achieved and must never be convinced that our actions are in vain.  We matter, our struggles matter, and our efforts matter.  We are NOT failures because we do not yet have a cure.  We are simply facing difficult circumstances and battling a disease that is a formidable opponent.  But make no mistake, we are motivated, strong, and persistent.  We cannot lose sight of that in the midst of our current, temporary despair.  September is a new month – one full of hope.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016



We have had a fantastic year for Gastroparesis awareness, and I hope you all are very proud of what we have accomplished!

Thanks to the IFFGD, House Rep. Gwen Moore (statement: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2015/07/09/extensions-of-remarks-section/article/E1028-3), Senator Tammy Baldwin (statement: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2016/07/12/senate-section/article/S4995-1), and all of you, we have been added to the NHO calendar and August is now officially, nationally recognized as Gastroparesis Awareness Month!

In addition, we have 20 approved state-level awareness proclamations in place (and 19 of those have already been received by the person who requested them). We have another 10 submitted and awaiting a decision. 

Here is a list of those that have been approved:


The following have been submitted and are still awaiting a decision:


We work on these in our advocacy group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Gastroparesis.FightingForChange/. If you join there, you will find instructions, and we will help you through the process. It is too late to get a proclamation in place for August this year, but if you are willing to request a week later in the year, we might still be able to do it.

We also keep a list in our group that we update regularly to reflect new information. We post photos of all the proclamations that have been received on our community page at

https://www.facebook.com/Gastroparesis.FightingForChange.Page/ as well.



For photographs of the proclamations we have received, please see: