Paige Alexander | CaringBridge

Paige Alexander Living as a Dysautonomiac

I guess I'll start from the beginning. Back in November, I got a terrible sinus infection. Totally harmless (or so I thought). I was given an antibiotic and sent on my way. The infection lingered for a while and one morning in early December I woke up with stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting. This continued every morning for weeks. I went to the ER and they told me I had the stomach flu and discharged me. I continued to wake up with extreme nausea and it started lasting longer into the day. After about a month, I was admitted to the hospital for 5 days solely for my stomach pain and nausea. Also, the fact that I couldn't hold any food down. My gastro doctor ran blood work after blood work and no one could tell me what was wrong with me. I ended up being discharged and went home not very confident in my ability to get better. I had no appetite, couldn't hold any food down, and at this point had lost about 15 lbs. I remember walking (hunched over and barely moving) into my gastro doctor's office begging them to help me. My gastro doctor finally told me it could be gastroparesis.

I started looking up causes for gastroparesis and I couldn't find anything besides diabetes, which I don't have. I thought it could be idiopathic but I was determined to figure out what caused this and what I needed to do to prevent it from happening again.

After another 5 day stay in the hospital, they did the test that showed that I had gastroparesis. Little did I know that was just the beginning of my problems.

I was prescribed reglan to help my stomach motility and get up my stomach to start working again. Big mistake. That medicine made me feel like I was literally going insane. I fell into a deep depression and started seeing colors everywhere. My boyfriend couldn't watch tv with me in the room because it made my anxiety too high. I couldn't eat dinner with my family or talk to anyone because of the depression and anxiety. I had suicidal thoughts and tried to check into a behavioural health institute. I would lay in bed and have 100 completely random thoughts run through my head all at once. At the time, I had never really taken medicines before so I never knew to look up side effects. When I finally did, I felt the most relief and anger I've felt during my whole journey. Article after article read where people were suffering severe depression and even committed suicide. Some people developed tourrettes and twitches in their face. Luckily, my symptoms stopped fairly quickly. The reglan, I believe, fixed or helped fix my gastroparesis but I would never ever do it again.

I continued to search for what could have caused all of this and I finally found the word "dysautonomia". Everything matched and I had a tilt table test done that confirmed that I did, in fact, have dysautonomia.

Ever since that confirmation, my life has not been the same.

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