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Shana; she/her; Short Bowel Syndrome, Gastropariesis, Osteoporosis

When a significant portion of the small intestine is missing or surgically removed, the result is Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS). This condition leads to malabsorption, where the body struggles to absorb nutrients, fluids, and electrolytes effectively. Symptoms like diarrhea, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies can vary in severity. In the U.S., thousands of people live with SBS, often requiring specialized diets, medications, or intravenous nutrition to manage their condition. Early intervention and consistent medical care are essential for improving health outcomes and quality of life for those affected.

Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach's ability to empty its contents is delayed, without any apparent blockage. This condition can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, and early satiety. It results from damage to the vagus nerve, which controls stomach muscles, often due to diabetes or surgery. Approximately 5 million people in the U.S. are affected by gastroparesis. Effective management typically involves dietary modifications, medications, and sometimes surgical interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve gastric motility.

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakened bones that are more prone to fractures. This silent disease often progresses without symptoms until a bone breaks, typically in the hip, spine, or wrist. It is most common among older adults, particularly postmenopausal women, due to hormonal changes that affect bone density. In the U.S., an estimated 10 million people have osteoporosis. Prevention and treatment strategies include calcium and vitamin D supplementation, weight-bearing exercises, and medications that help maintain or increase bone density, all of which are crucial for reducing fracture risk and improving bone health.

This subject has no small intestine, and therefore requires nutrient formulas which are shown in this portrait in the bags she's holding. She described how much she relies on these fluids and has to bring them everywhere. She explained how overwhelming her conditions are and images the feeding tubes wrapped around her as she is underwater in a swirling current. Her hand penetrates the surface of the water showing her remaining hope and strength.

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