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Jeri-Lou: Watermelon Stomach

This site is the first place that I have found any information about my problem.

Watermelon Stomach is the popular name for Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia (GAVE) — a condition in which the lining of the stomach bleeds, causing it to look like the characteristic stripes of a watermelon when viewed by endoscopy.

Roses Painting for Jeri-Lou by Ione Bridgman, ISN Artist My story started on February 2, 2002. I went to see the doctor about a bad gallbladder and found out that I had a very low blood count of 6.5. I was then sent to see my specialists, Dr. Collins and Dr. Long. Since then I have had nine laser surgeries, two units of blood and six iron injections, which have only managed to bring my blood count up to a 9 count.

To date, this has cost me over sixteen hundred dollars and that is only half of the bills that have come in. I can no longer work and cannot find work because I have to miss so much work due to doctor appointments, tests and hospital visits for more laser surgeries.

I was told that about two percent of the population have watermelon stomach. This site is the first place that I have found any information about my problem. I would like to find a support group on this.

The watermelon stomach leaves me feeling useless, tired and depressed all the time. Most of the time I do not have energy to do anything. I have to be very careful about what I eat. The only good thing with this problem is it has helped me to lose weight.

The doctors are now changing the way I am treated and using anesthesia to put me out so of course the cost will be more every time I need treatment. I do not know how or when I will be able to pay these bills and that bothers me a great deal.

I would love to hear from anyone that has this problem or knows if there is a support group in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

~Update 11-02-04 ~

I wrote my story about a year ago. I have GAVE or better known as watermelon stomach. I am looking for some other people, hopefully in Arizona, that may have this disease. I would like to start a support group.

I am still fighting this disease. I go to the doctor once a week and get iron-injections. Now I am getting a procrit shot to help build up my blood.

I have not had any blood transfusions in a long time. This disease still makes me very tired and I have no energy.

I would love to meet some people here to either have lunch with or maybe just to get together with. Hope to hear from someone out there.

~Update 02-04-05 ~

I have written before, but now I need more information and I was hoping to find someone here to help with my decisions.

I have gone downhill since this past December after having another laser surgery and more blood transfusions. I am up to two iron injections and a procrit shot every week. Now the doctors are talking about removing half of my stomach to help cure my watermelon stomach.

I am hoping to hear from someone who might have had this done and what the results were. I would greatly appreciate any information from anyone. Thank you so much.

~ Update 04-21-05 ~

I am writing again because I need to find out if anyone out there with this diagnosis has had surgery to help it?

My doctors want me to do this. I am worried that it will be a life changing thing. They want to remove about half of my stomach. They say it will not get rid of the problem, but will help with the blood count and it is possible that I could cut down my shots. I get one iron injection a week along with a procrit shot.

My blood count right now, is 8.5 and I have not had any transfusions since December 2004. Please if anyone can help me in this manner, I would greatly appreciate it.

To Contact the Author

New email address needed 07-19-06 SLE
Old Email Prefix: jerilous
Story posted 6-28-03
Update posted 11-03-04 SLE
New Email Address Posted 11-03-04 SLE
Update posted 02-04-05 SLE
Updated edited 4-22-05 JTD
Update posted 5-13-05 SLE

Story Artist:Ione Bridgman
Story Editor: Judith Devlin
Watermelon Stomach

ISN Artist: Ione Bridgman

Ione BridgmanISN Artist Ione Bridgman created original artwork to illustrate this page. She is 90 years old, and lives in New Zealand. Her lovely paintings illustrate many of our pages and the covers of our Voices of Scleroderma Book Series .

ISN Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin

Photo of JudithJudith Thompson Devlin is the ISN Story Editor for this story. She is also lead editor of the ISN's wonderful Voices of Scleroderma book series!

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