Category Archives: TPN

Intestinal Pain and the Hospital

Home from the hospital! In the 5 days I was there, I found my intestines must not be doing so well either. I ended up having to push a few meds in my tube during the day I went in, and I think that’s why my pain got so bad. 5 days of complete bowel rest and it’s almost gone. I flushed my J tube with 10 mL yesterday, and even that small amount left me bloated and in pain for hours. I also had to go on continuous drainage through my G tube to keep the nausea at bay, and it’s been extremely dark green the entire time.

I’m really hoping this is just a bad flare, as it’s been hard to even do liquids because of nausea (and they were getting sucked right out too). I’m hoping the continued bowel rest will help things. That being said, based on how my function has slowly been declining it doesn’t look great for the immediate future. Things can always come back some though! Fingers crossed!

At least we got my important meds switched over to routes that don’t use my GI tract, so I should be able to control pain from home for now. Palliative care is also coming on board, and I’m hoping that will help with quality of life issues. Not a completely wasted visit, but at the same time frustrating being in the hospital for days mostly for pain control.

I’m really glad to be home! Thanks for all the support!

IV Nutrition

I started IV nutrition (which is called TPN) on the 17th alongside tube feeds with the hope of getting the feeding tube working again. Last Saturday I was in the ER with severe abdominal pain from trying, and I haven’t been able to run tube feeds since. I have stopped tube feeds altogether at this point, and am getting almost all of my calories through the IV. I can’t eat much more than a few bites, and on a good day might be able to finish a cracker (it’s took me two days to eat 1 cracker a week ago) Unfortunately, my feeding tube is unlikely to start functioning well enough in the future to come off TPN.

I run the IVs at night, and it takes 12 hours to get the full amount. At least now that I don’t have to carry around feeding tube stuff all the time I can leave the feeding backpack home. I smile every time I stand up without being connected to it.

The plus side is now that I’m finally getting nutrition again that I will also get some energy back. I feel like I disappeared from the community in September, but I’m hoping to start reconnecting again. I also had a test this week that showed my stomach definitely is not emptying fast enough (moderate delay), which felt really validating after my GI’s letter. Psychology won’t slow the bowel down this much.

Total Parenteral Nutrition

 I realized not everyone might know what TPN is. It basically means I will be getting most to all of my nutrition through an IV, as my digestive tract seems to be working less and less. TPN is essentially life support, without it I will likely die of starvation in a few months as I can’t eat more than a few hundred calories.

There are huge risks to IV nutrition too, the worst being sepsis and liver damage. This is a treatment that could very well kill me (5 year survival is 40-60%) but without it I’d certainly wind up dead. It’s scary, but necessary.

I have a really hard time thinking myself as ‘sick.’ That’s beginning to change as my symptoms get more severe, but each new thing becomes a new normal for me. Of course when I get used to a new thing the next thing tends to show up. Case in point, I just got used to tube feeds, and now there’s daily IV infusions of nutrients around the clock.

Funny story with the tube feeds too, occasionally when I see a character stand up on TV my brain thinks, “They forgot their backpack! They’re going to pull on their tubes!” Brains are weird.