Allie recalls what she would tell a date about gastroparesis, a stomach paralysis condition, and provides advice for women who do not know how much information to share with their romantic partners.
One of the hardest things is trying to be honest with the people in your life and especially dating, when you have this disease, and as far as friends and family the best thing that you can possibly do and how I have handled it is, I wait until it comes up.
So, until I am sitting at a dinner or I am invited to a dinner I just let myself be me so they can get to know me first as a friend and then when they ask, “So can we go out to lunch?” My response is usually, “Well, I have a disorder (or a disease) and it makes it so that it’s really hard for me to eat out.”
I keep it at that and then as I get closer to someone I explain the situation in more depth, but especially with this disease being as unknown as it is, even though five million Americans suffer from it, it’s really important for people to be less embarrassed of it and realize that no one is going to think it’s gross or weird. Everyone’s just going to feel bad that you have to go through it and that’s what I really noticed.
I kept it very close to me for a long time and didn’t want to bring people in and all it does is hurt your relationships and telling them really does help and it makes people feel like you trust them and you trust them to know one of the hard things that you are going through.
And as far as relationships is concerned, at the beginning of our relationship I found it really hard because a lot of the stuff associated with stomach and digestion is just something you don’t bring up on a first date, but when I started to have problems I brought it up with my boyfriend and just said, “You know, we can’t keep eating out. I’m getting very sick from it,” and just started little by little explaining it to him and now he is completely involved in it with me and there’s no bit of him that would leave because of it or would think it’s actually a downside.
We joke that we save so much more money by not having to go out to restaurants but now he sits down with me and helps me read my daily logs and how I am feeling and what I am eating and what medications I am taking to try and help me look for solutions and I think that if you involve the people in your life in a problem-solving capacity they will be honored not hurt by it or upset.