My GES Experience

I arrived for my second GES study bright and early at 8:00am. I was not allowed anything by mouth for 12 hours prior to my appointment. This wasn’t a problem because I don’t eat anything by mouth, I am mostly NPO and receive my nutrition via TPN. I check in and get called back into the room where the large machine that is used to scan my stomach for food, is located. I’m instructed to eat eggs (egg white egg beaters that were microwaved) laced with radioactive tracer, bread with jam and drink a cup of water in 10 minutes. I look at him like he’s crazy. Who ever makes up these meals clearly makes them without their victims in mind, because there is no way a person with any motility disorder is going to be able to choke down that meal. I was able to get the eggs down, since I knew that was the most important part, and a piece of bread. My first solid meal in I don’t even know how long and it was painful, there were tears, but I hopped right up on that table and got him to start the four hour test before any of that food came back up.

The test does not hurt, you feel nothing. It is like an x-ray. After the picture is taken. You leave for an hour, until you are needed for your next picture.

The first scan is used to compare the rest of the scans. A scan is done at hour 1, 2 and 4. Between the scans you are free to do whatever you want. If you are scheduled to have this test done, bring something to entertain yourself because you are going to be there for awhile. I brought my iPad loaded with movies, and the hospital had Internet. Between scans I watched movies and chatted it up with people. Even with entertainment, I pretty much wanted to claw my eyes out from boredom. The results of the test were done using complicated equations combined with visual confirmation. The scanner detects the traces of radiation and maps them out in your stomach. The results are reported back in percentages of food left in the stomach at set intervals.

Normal results are:
T1: 90%
T2: 60%
T4: 10%-0%

My Results from 2009:
T1: 98%
T2: 86%
T4: 4%

Results from July 2011:
T1: 98%
T2: 96%
T4: 34%

My gastroenterologist was upset to see how fast my stomach had slowed down and how the gastric stimulator had zero affect on the stomach. The test in July was with the stimulator ON. It is not approved nor expected to pace the stomach, but it was the hope that it might start the stomach into working. This clearly is not the case. He has suggested vigorous stimulation and more powerful medications to help the stomach to empty. For now, TPN is still how I will be getting my nutrition. It is working, I’m gaining and maintaining weight, so I can’t exactly complain. The only downside to higher settings on the stimulator is that it wears out the battery at a much higher rate, requiring more surgeries. Guess we will address that when it comes time.

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