Micki & Harvey “my gut”

Micki Hartranft

I had just graduated Nursing school 7/2004, took my exam, interviewed, was hired and started my LPN career with exactly the place and shift I wanted all by 9/7/2004. Things were going along smoothly. Then, Thanksgiving Day 2004, Harvey made his debut.

Vomiting and severe nausea. After 2 weeks of this I went to see my PCP. The testing began. All scans and tests came back ok. Then, he ordered the Gastric Emptying Study. After 3 hours, I was in such severe pain that the doctor ordered it stopped. Nothing had moved. I was started on Reglan. Not a good med.

I limped along at work. Good days and terrible days followed. Different meds and procedures. Dietary changes. Then, 12/2007 I was not able to swallow my own saliva so I got really sick. First 2 week hospitalization for dehydration. I went back to work on FMLA.Then February 2008 made a difficult decision. I left on short term disability hoping to return. I was the main bread winner as my Hubby John, was just starting his business.

March 2008 I had my first appt with Dr Parkman at Temple. A week of appts followed to see if I was a good candidate for the Gastric Stimulator. He already determined I was, but wanted the data for his research. 6/2008 I was operated on for the 1st time for GP. Then in 2009 was given my JTube. I was not able to go back to work and filed for Disability for the second time, this time with a good Attorney. We lost our 2 new vehicles, a Suburban and a Land Rover. Then, we lost our home to foreclosure.

We went from donating food to the food banks to needing to get food from the food banks. I was given disability deemed unemployable by their expert. But had to wait 1 year to get Medicare. We had to go to the Salvation Army for money to get my meds. We were able to get a home through a local rent to own business. I was able to go to work in 2011 only 10 hours a week. I’m now able to work 20 hours a week.

We are nowhere close to living the lifestyle we were once blessed to live, but we are still in our home, we were able to get a new Jeep 3 years ago and I’m still able to work 20 hours a week to give me a purpose and reason to get out of bed. I’ve had around 20 surgeries since that first one in 2008. I’m able to use Medicare & Medicaid so I have no copays except a few dollars for my 15+ meds until the end of June when I enter the Catastrophic category and meds are paid for 100%. We are blessed. It’s not easy but we are doing it.

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We created this website to provide the public with additional information regarding Gastroparesis. It is our goal to connect users with our Facebook advocacy group, “Gastroparesis: Fighting for Change.”

Our Gastroparesis: Fighting for Change Facebook group was formed to unite people with Gastroparesis and other digestive and motility disorders to work for change. It is not a typical GP support group, as we do not discuss personal medical issues. Rather, we established this as a place where members can discuss ideas regarding our mission, vision, goals, needs, services, and resources to work toward solutions. So if you want to make a difference for our GP community, we encourage you to share your ideas! Additionally, we need you to help us fight for changes in legislation! Also, you can help raise funds! Finally, you can help spread awareness! Please join our main group. We would love to have you!

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