BONNERS FERRY — Some people have health issues, they may be apparent or underlying. Invisible illnesses lay beneath the skin and can be just as debilitating as an illness that is apparent to others, if not more.
Gastroparesis (GP) is an ‘invisible’ illness where ones stomach doesn’t contract and pass food through correctly. Its translation means ‘paralysis of the stomach.’ There is no cure, and little in the department of treatment.
Governor Brad Little and his team have approved Gastroparesis Awareness Month for August, giving the small local group of people with the disorder a signed certificate in recognition.
Joy Schmitz, a long time resident of Bonners Ferry, is one of the people locally that suffers from the ailment. She graduated from Bonners Ferry High School, married her high school sweetheart, raised their children in the area, and now they enjoy babysitting their grandchildren.
About four years ago, Schmitz fell ill and it took about a year, and two doctors, for her confirmed diagnosis.
“This disease is very unpredictable, you can have plans to do something and that is the day you have the worst flare,” said Schmitz.
With less than a handful of people that are in the group, they want to extend their knowledge to community members and welcome anyone else in the area who suffers from GP to join their group for support.
“I want to bring awareness to Gastroparesis not just because I suffer from this incurable disease myself, but because there are many others out there who are suffering far worse than I,” said Schmitz. “They can’t get out to have their voice heard so I want to be their voice. I want them to know those of us who can still stand strong for now will do so for them.”
Emma Pinkerton is another local person that suffers from the ailment. She recently received the Spirit of Sport Award. She plays soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and track in the spring, as well as singing, among her many other activities.
“We just ask for our friends and loved one to take the time to understand this disease,” said Schmitz. “By you taking the time to educate yourself on a life changing illness that we have show us you care you understand and you will be there for us on those bad days when we are so tired and weak to say ‘we got this, we got you.’”
For more information on Gastroparesis, visit https://articles.mercola.com/gastroparesis.aspx.