Seven years ago, at just 15 years old, Lauren Blake was diagnosed with gastroparesis. This condition makes it difficult for Lauren to keep down her meals or, really, to eat at all. According to the Daily Echo, Lauren is now fundraising to afford a gastric pacemaker. Lauren explains that this pacemaker would help her body to process food again. Currently, Lauren is looking to raise £18,000 (approximately $24,542) to help with this cause.
If you would like to donate to Lauren’s fundraising effort, you may do so here.
Every day, Lauren finds herself vomiting multiple times. Her condition makes it difficult to eat or drink, as the digestive process is extremely slow or non-existent. On severely symptomatic days, Lauren explains, she even finds it difficult to remain hydrated.
However, after doing some research, Lauren discovered a potential life-changing treatment option: a gastric pacemaker. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a gastric pacemaker is:
surgically implanted under the skin and is connected to two electrodes placed on the stomach wall. It tells the stomach to empty at a certain frequency…alleviating bloating, vomiting and nausea.
This option has the potential to greatly improve Lauren’s life; past treatments have not been as effective. While Lauren does qualify to have the pacemaker put in, the cost is fairly high. So far, Lauren has raised £4,791 (~$6,498) but still has thousands more to go. She firmly believes that this would give her a new lease on life. See her GoFundMe to learn more.
Gastroparesis is a rare disorder which impacts how food moves between the stomach and small intestine. Also called delayed gastric emptying, gastroparesis is characterized by poorly functioning muscles surrounding the gastrointestinal tract. Instead of constricting and relaxing to move food, the muscles are unable to function properly. As a result, the stomach is also unable to properly empty, causing interrupted digestion and other problems. Vagus nerve damage, surgical complications, and high blood glucose can all cause gastroparesis. Symptoms associated with this condition include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling of fullness, despite eating small meals
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux
- Appetite loss
- Unintended weight loss
- Poor blood sugar control
Learn more about gastroparesis.