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Digestive issue baffling family searching for answers

Dear Annie: I am writing about our 23-year-old daughter, who is having trouble with her digestive system.

After a year of vomiting after most meals and losing weight, she finally had a gastric emptying test. She was then diagnosed with dumping syndrome, or rapid gastric emptying. This is usually a condition caused by bypass surgery, which is not the case in this situation, nor is anorexia.

The test results showed that after two hours, she digested only 5% of her food, with the norm being between 30% and 60%. Her gastroenterologist prescribed an anti-anxiety medication as well as a strict diet. It’s been almost three months with no improvement, although there have been times when she has not adhered strictly to the diet.

There doesn’t seem to be a next step if this doesn’t work, nor a cure. I’m hoping that one of your readers has had some experience with this or perhaps some insight or suggestions. As the parents of an adult, there’s not much we can do to help except to offer emotional support and some monetary help with doctor bills. But it’s so hard to get that weekly, or more, call or text after a bad day.

I’d appreciate any help someone can offer. Many thanks. — Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned Mom: Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry that your daughter has been suffering from this syndrome. The good news is her doctors have found the issue. It has only been three months since she has changed her lifestyle; give her body some time. She has been in this body for 23 years, and sometimes things take time to heal. Continue to support her and have faith that if she adheres to the strict diet, she will feel better.

Encourage her to really celebrate the days when she feels better, too. Maybe she could meditate on her stomach feeling healthy and strong. Just a simple “thank-you” to her body when it’s doing well could make small positive shifts in recovery. And eventually, those small shifts could turn into large ones.

As mothers, we feel for our children when they are in pain. So it makes sense that if your daughter is having a bad day, then you are having a bad day. Ask her to text you on good days as well. That way, you can shift your focus to the good, too. Best of luck to you and your daughter in her recovery. If any readers have tips from personal or professional experience to help her, please share.

Dear Annie: This letter is in response to a man’s grief after the death of his son and wife within a two-month period. I am in my 80s and retired, and I lost my son in an accident 10 years ago and my wife of 57 years almost four ago.

Here is how I recommend coping: staying close to family and friends; attending church; getting a pet — a cat or dog to talk to; going to the graveyard and talking to them; looking at pictures and shedding a tear; finding a friend in the same position; participating in and watching sports and games; traveling (I went on a tour with my daughter); exercising at the gym; and reading books, magazines and newspapers.

Yes, life goes on. And feeling sorry for yourself, when others have the same problem, doesn’t do much. Thanks for sharing though, and my heart goes out to you. — How I Am Coping

Dear Coping: I am very sorry for your loss and love these suggestions. Thank you.

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“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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