Angela Crider has a full life.
“We have two boys. I do try and work full time and my husband works full time,” says Crider.
Fullness sums up several aspects of her life. Crider’s suffers from extreme gastroparesis, a nerve disorder where the stomach takes too long emptying. With a full stomach, patients suffer unrelenting nausea, vomiting, heartburn and pain.
“It just continually got worse to the point where I almost couldn't eat and drink anything,” says Crider.
“Gastroparesis is a very frustrating condition for a doctor to try and deal with and very rarely will I have to go to extremes that I’ve gone through with Angela to get her enough relief that she’s not in and out of the hospital all the time,” says Dr. Michael Bays, gastroenterologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
When diet adjustments and medications don’t work, people struggle with pain, while trying to get proper nutrition. A new treatment is giving some patients a release; an endoscopic procedure using Botox injections to paralyze the pyloric or stomach valve.
“You put the patient to sleep, you look down into the stomach with the scope, and you inject botulinum toxin around this muscle to relax it. And when you do that you allow the stomach to empty more easily. About 50% of the people will get some response and 50% will have no response at all,” says Dr. Bays.
Crider is one of the fortunate ones.
“It’s significant for me. When I don't have the Botox I’m pretty much on liquids; no food at all. Once we do the Botox, I can eat softer, regular food, which obviously makes you feel better. So it’s allowed me to somewhat carry on a normal life,” says Crider.
“Most people who have the condition don’t even get over it, this is something they have their whole life and what we try to do is try and get their life as tolerable as possible,” says Dr. Bays.
This unusual treatment is allowing Crider to appreciate her full life for a change.