Hi Superheroes! Chances are you have a gastric emptying study (GES) scheduled and like me, prior to mine, you have no idea what to expect. Your doctors can only tell you so much since they didn’t undergo it. So here I am to tell you all the details! I did not get the results yet, which I know many superheroes get theirs back right away but my tech told me they send the results to my Crohn’s Doctor and once they read it, they schedule an appt with me to go over it.
First let’s discuss what is a gastric emptying test. A gastric emptying test is a test where it measures how long it takes for your food to empty out of your stomach. It determines if your food is moving through your stomach at the correct healthy speed. The GES tests for Gastroparesis.
I asked on my instagram story questions that you had on the test and I am using your questions as a guide to make sure I answer each one. I first want to say, the test was made out to me as a miserable test. My doctor told me I will hate her during it, and I heard from many superheroes how it was awful. I also heard from some that it wasn’t as bad as they thought, so I really had no idea what to expect. Our minds always tend to go to the worst so I was really nervous. I will say this test was SO SO SO much easier than I expected however if I did have this test done last year or the year before with my insane debailiting nausea and vomitting when I was more critical, then this test would have been horrible so I understand why some feel this test is horrible. After all this test is for the ones who suffer with keeping food down…
Like I said prior to my biologic infusions I was critically & chronically vomitting. Now regarding eating; I just can’t keep anything down, dry heave, get extremely full after literally two bites and I get insanely bloated which is the reason why I was getting tested. I also suffer badly with appetite. I used to be the BIGGEST foodie, people couldn’t believe how much I used to eat and now I am lucky if I eat a whole meal. It makes me sad even typing that. My doctor said lets rule out gastroparesis instead of automatically assuming it’s another Crohn’s symptom just in case it is GP and we’re not overlooking these symptoms. I really appreciated that, especially because it took me over a year to get an official Crohn’s diagnosis due to my symptoms being blamed on my FMF. So here we are ruling out GP.
Ok now lets get to the questions and details of the test! If you follow my instagram stories you know I was storying most of the test. My instagram is visuals and my blog is more detailed. I arrived with my mom to the test center at 7:30 A.M and my test was at 8:00 A.M. I am SO beyond grateful that my mom comes with me to all my appts and tests. It makes me feel so much more safe and comfortable having her be my advocate and security blanket. I checked in, and we sat in the waiting room. I had to fast (no water, no drinking) after midnight until the test was over. I knew I was going to be there for a while thanks to my zoom superheroes, so I brought a big bag with my laptop, air pods, my CBD lotion, emergency meds and a book. I also dressed very comfy; sweatpants and a sweatshirt! I said on my stories after the test- having nice doctors, nurses and or med techs make a huge difference in any medical experience. My med tech guy was SO beyond nice so he made my experience much more comfortable than I could have imagined.
The tech walked my mom & I into a waiting room with just us in it! (You may have saw on my stories) I filled out paper work on my medications I am on, my symptoms on why I am getting this test done and then I had to sign a wavier that I am not pregnant. He then walked me into a spacious room with a huge test scanner. It looked like an MRI machine. He gave me a robe and had me sit in a chair with a small table in front of me. He let my mom come in the room too. He said to me “this will be the most expensive eggs you will eat!” his humor and positivity made the experience so much less nerve-wacking. He came out with the egg sandwich and said he thinks he is a pretty good chef but I will be the judge of it. He put the eggs on white bread and covered it with strawberry jelly so I wouldn’t taste the radioactive eggs. Good thing for me I love bread and jelly! If you have any dietary needs I would make them aware before your test so they can give you something different. He also gave me a small amount of water to drink.
I heard from others from my zoom, they set a timer for you to eat the sandwich but my tech took the more relaxed approach. He told me I had 8 mins to eat the sandwich and just stood in the room talking while I ate the sandwich. He saw once I began struggling with it, (I pulled the eggs out of the sandwich to eat them alone once I started getting nauseous so I had the radioactive dye in me.) By that time he said to me “you look like you can be done, you ate enough you can stop now.” I was so relived. I am not sure if that was when 8 minutes were over or if he just saw I had ate enough of the dye so why torture myself when I can be done? After that, every 30 minutes until 12:30 I had scans. The last scan was an hour in between instead of 30 mins.
The scans itself were easy, I just hand to stand in between two machines for about 30 second to a minute. Again, if this was a year ago when I couldn’t go without 30 seconds of dry heaving or vomiting this would have felt impossible. The test was around 6 hours. I did not get to see the x rays however when I stood in the machine I was able to see my stomach. I couldn’t read anything, it just looked like a full stomach to me. Towards the end it was appearing less full and maybe even empty but it was hard for me to determine anything, I know nothing about reading scans. I asked my tech if he could read the scans and I asked what does it show, but he said to me “no and even if I could I couldn’t tell you” but he said it in a nice way and it makes sense, since he is not my doctor.
Between the 30 min scans I was placed back in the small waiting room with just my mom, which was really nice. I had actually wished the scans were longer than 30 mins apart because it felt like as soon as I sat down I was up again getting scanned. To keep busy, my mom & I started a show Unstable on Netflix my mom’s friend recommended it. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a mindless quick easy tv show to watch. I would suggest to definitely bring something to keep you occupied between scans.
So the only worrisome thing about this test would be the egg sandwich, that I truly didn’t mind the taste of at all. I would recommend if you can’t eat a lot/ struggle with eating that you just eat the eggs since it was has the dye in it. The scans don’t hurt, are fast, and it’s more just getting back up and down. If you suffer with extreme vomiting then this can def be more of a struggle but I would just be expressive with the techs.
You have nothing to worry about superheroes! I personally would take doing this over a colonscopy, MRI, cat scan, endoscopy any day!!! If you have more questions please feel free to reach out. I will be posting a reel on my instagram for more of a visual.
GOOD LUCK! YOU GOT THIS! I am sending you so much love & strength.