Eat For Anna!

Date: Sunday, November 13, 2011 Time: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Location:  Show map St. Paul Lutheran School Gym
930 Prairie Lane
Beatrice, NE


SOUP LUNCHEON (Chili & Chicken Noodle, Desserts) and SILENT AUCTION

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2011 - From 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM


Supplemental funds will be provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans


Anna Bledsaw is diagnosed with Gastroparesis or stomach paralysis.  This is a disorder in which the stomach is unable to contract properly and therefore cannot pass food on to the small intestine.  People with this disorder have frequent hospital admissions with symptoms that include nausea/vomiting, bloating, severe abdominal pain, electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, changes in blood sugar levels, excessive weight loss and frequent central line infections.  Many people with this disorder have difficulty eating, if they can eat, and experience severe chronic nausea and vomiting.  Some people like Anna, require total parenteral nutrition (TPN) via a feeding tube.

Anna first got sick October of 2010.  Two surgeries later and many different hospital stays/tests later, she was finally diagnosed.  She is currently under the care of specialists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Her medical bills are numerous and will continue along with travel costs.  Anna is married to Eric Bledsaw and they have 3 children, ages 10, 9 and 6.

Gastroparesis can be caused by diabetes, infections, injury to the vagus nerve through surgery and various other means or it can idiopathic – with no known cause.  Nearly 35-40% of the cases have an unknown origin as in Anna’s case.  It may be hard to understand how this disorder can affect someone’s life.  Those affected by the disorder can’t eat, they’re constantly feeling terrible, in pain, nausea/vomiting and they really can’t have much of a life.  When they can’t eat, they get weak and feel even worse.  Sometimes medications work, but sometimes they don’t.  They often have loss of employment or educational opportunities and a dismal future.

The doctors are recommending Anna for a gastric pacer.  This is a relatively new method to treat Gastroparesis, which electronically stimulates the stomach, causing it to empty.  The gastric pacer is a surgically implanted device that works in a similar fashion to a cardiac pacemaker.  Two electrodes are placed in the muscle wall of the stomach, with a lead connected to an implantable neurostimulator that’s placed beneath the skin.  This is NOT a cure as Gastroparesis has NO cure, but it can definitely improve the quality of life by reducing the nausea/vomiting.  It would also allow Anna to once again be able to eat in limited amounts, thereby reducing the dependence on total parenteral nutrition via the feeding tube.

The gastric pacer has been approved by the FDA as a humanitarian use device, which is a designation reserved for devices treating rare medical conditions.  Because of this, patients sometimes struggle to get their insurance companies to cover the procedure.  Just the gastric pacer device alone costs $81,000.  Just getting the insurance companies to approve the costs of the device, surgery and follow up can take a long time and often only approved through appeals.

Please come and “EAT FOR ANNA!” on Sunday, Nov. 13th from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at the St. Paul Lutheran School gym, 930 Prairie Lane in Beatrice, NE.  Be glad you can enjoy good food.  Thank you.

Husker Luncheon