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Humor: How You Know You Have Gastroparesis — Part One


Also titled, “talking shit about shit.” 🙂

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with an incurable, debilitating stomach disease called gastroparesis. As a result, I have lost 110 pounds. Constant nausea, lack of appetite, fits of vomiting, erratic glucose levels (mine dropped by 30 percent, changing my vision from nearsighted to farsighted), and chronic bowel problems are a few of the common symptoms. (Many gastroparesis sufferers end up on feeding tubes.) Bowel movements are often life’s greatest adventures. Will today be the day I shit? Gawd, that was the mother of all turds. Diarrhea? Really? I was constipated yesterday. Bowel movements every day for a week, and then no bowel movements for days. Gastroparesis, also called stomach paralysis, slows the movement of food from your stomach through your intestinal tract. Sometimes, food takes 4-7 days to make it through my system. My problems are further complicated by the fact that I also had my gall bladder removed several years ago.

As I typically do, after watching Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption — two sports news programs — between the hours of 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm, I propped myself up on the couch so I could do some writing. Due to the herniated discs in my back and neck, I am no longer able to sit in my chair in the office and work, so the couch has become my new “office.”

I always hope that my bowels (or bladder) will leave me alone while I am writing. It’s no small feat for me to get situated on the couch to write, so I prefer not to move until I am done writing. Today would not be one of those days. All of a sudden, I had painful cramps, urgently calling me to the bathroom to make a delivery. I painfully got up from the couch, grabbed my cane, and shuffled off to the bathroom.

Before sitting down, I grabbed the latest issue of Orion Magazine that was sitting nearby. I always like to read something — anything, including the ingredients in the air spray — when I am taking care of business. My cramps suggested that I was fixing to give a massive offering to the porcelain god. Surely, I thought, this won’t take too much work. Boy, was I wrong! This day’s bowel movement took a lot of pushing, straining, and swearing (keep in mind that I take soluble fiber and bowel medication twice a day), causing increased pain in my upper back. Have painful herniated discs in your back and you will quickly learn how often you use your back for the basic daily functions of life.

After five minutes or so and one short Orion story, the deed was done. I turned around to look at what took so much effort, only to find a golf ball-sized turd. With nary a thought, I said out loud to the turd: that was a lot of work for that! 🙂


Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Club—I, too, was called out for reading in the bathroom. Looking back, I can’t blame those who called me out: I’d bring a book or magazine into the bathroom, telling myself I’d read “a few pages “ or “an article.” Of course, I didn’t keep to my “limit!”

    Bruce—I can only imagine what it’s like to have to do so much planning and preparation around daily bodily functions.

    Speaking of bodily functions: in the immortal words of Harry Shearer, “The Olympics are a movement. And we need one—every day!

  2. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    Pardon me but you made me laugh. Zoe! How can you laugh? Because it takes one to know one. And sometimes if you don’t laugh, what’s left?

    Honestly, a book about bowel movements would be great. 🙂

  3. Avatar

    I’m glad you seem to be able to still retain some humor. My theory is that laughing, at ourselves or others, helps keep us sane. Anyway, you are an inspiration to me.

    • Avatar

      Bruce, very few of the Christians who visit your blog do credit to their religion, and they only show its petulant, hateful side.

  4. Avatar

    I am just curious. You do know that antibiotics wipes out both good and bacteria in your digestive system. Have you thought of going to the following foods and spices to help restore some balance- pepper (good for inflammation), cinnamon (not a lot), Greek style yogurt, pure honey, relish, dark chocolate and similar foods. These items work on restoring the good bacteria your stomach needs as well as help with bloating and inflammation.

    If you have don’t bite my head off and if you haven’\t talk to your doctor about more natural remedies

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Well, I’m going to bite your head off because I am not interested in medical advice from people who are not medical professionals. Surely, you know this since I have mentioned it numerous times over the years.

      I have competent doctors and I am well-educated on the diseases that afflict me. I have no need of advice from uneducated armchair doctors.

      Your comment shows a lack of understanding about gastroparesis. Do your homework, David. Further, you assume there’s something deficient/wrong with my diet. How would you possibly know this? Should I take photos of our refrigerator or cupboard contents? Or do you assume that because I’m overweight I must not eat “right “ — whatever the hell “right” is.

      As far as antibiotics are concerned, I haven’t taken antibiotics in twenty years. Not that this matters. Antibiotic use has nothing to do with gastroparesis or having your gallbladder removed.

      I’m well versed on the medical claims made by naturalists. I read several science-based medicine sites operated by medical doctors and scientists. Again, I trust the science. I generally think “natural” treatments are a waste of time, lacking imperial evidence for their claims.

      • Avatar

        Theologyarchaeology is Fake Dr. David Tee

        so sad to see you respond this way.

        rest of drivel deleted Now go 🍆🍆🍆 yourself, David.

        • Avatar
          Bruce Gerencser


          In what universe do you think I’m interested in what you have to say? You are an unwelcome guest on this site. You know this, yet you comment anyway. The only reason you are able to so is that you’ve found a way to evade IP blocking. I could, I suppose, just delete your comments, but I find it entertaining to edit them. And sometimes your comments are reminders of the ignorance that is so pervasive in Evangelical circles.

          You knew I would find your comment offensive, yet, in classic David 🍆🍆🍆 Tee you commented anyway. Your ill-behavior continues to make more atheists than I ever could.

          You could have expressed kindness, compassion, and understanding. It seems such character traits evade you. Now run on and write another blog post about me. Oh, wait, you’ve already done that today.

  5. Avatar

    I also find it provoking when non-medical people think they can tell us how to eat to get better. I can remember having a lot of people try to tell me that “so and so has gotten rid of fibromyalgia by taking THESE supplements.” LOL. I never had an individual tell me that for their own self, it was always “someone they knew” and oh, by the way, it is from this wonderful multi-level marketing company! Yes, Amway was going to cure me. No, fuck no.

    • Avatar
      Neil Rickert

      I also find it provoking when non-medical people think they can tell us how to eat to get better.

      Everyone is an expert in eating, because everyone eats. Or, at least, that seems to be how many people act.

      I take their advice with a grain of salt. Or, more accurately, I would take it with a grain of salt, except that I’m supposed to be watching my sodium intake.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Yep. I’ve had dozens of friends, family members, blog readers, and acquaintances try to “educate” me on eating. To the person, they have no idea what I eat. They assume that because I’m fat and have health problems I must not be eating right (as if there is any such thing as “eating right”).

      I (we) eat lots of vegetables, lots of whole grains, and moderate amounts of meat — primarily seafood. Do I eat “right” every moment of every day? Nope. Nobody does. It’s bad enough that I’m nauseous every waking hour, that I frequently vomit, and often feel bloated — regardless of what I’ve eaten. The fact is, I’m dying. I’ll be damned if I’m going to obsess over food and not enjoy a good meal with my family or a date at a dine restaurant with the love of my life. What, is eating one too many ___________ going to kill me? I’m more worried about dying from tripping over the cat, falling down the stairs, or choking on my own vomit than I am something I ate (unless it was covered with listeria).

    • Avatar

      Well, I had a cat that ate grass when it was sick. And that is natural too. But now that I think about it, my cat ate grass all the time and wasn’t sick all the time…so..hmm..but it still must be a good cure for something.

      Now I am sure your doctor won’t tell you to eat grass, but it works for cats. Honestly, doctors basically have no respect for natural cat led remedies at all. It probably has something to do with all of that education which makes them biased against cat remedies. I guess, in the end, you have to ask if you will keep trusting doctors over nature cat cures.

      • Avatar

        You know, this could be a thing…remedies that a cat eats that makes you feel better! You probably could make money here. Got to be better than the nutty Qanoners/antivaxx nuts thinking that drinking pee will cure you of Covid? Cat remedies sound positively harmless, don’t they? LOL.

  6. Avatar

    Long time lurker from years ago. It sucks to have chronic illnesses. I’m “young” with a couple which means I’ve dietary restrictions. People who eat way worse than me on a daily basis will jump in and assume I eat badly, and all their other unsolicited “advice”. It’s so frustrating especially when they persist and then get mad when I enforce boundaries.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Thanks for unlurking. ❤️ I hear ya. One of the quickest ways to rile me up is to offer me unsolicited medical advice.

      The best advice I can give to people is this: unless asked, mind your own business. This is a good advice in general. 😂❤️ People mean well, but I agree with you: they need to respect boundaries and personal space.

      Thanks for commenting.

  7. Avatar

    Another Joe🍆/John🍆/Tom🍆/James🍆/Deacon John🍆/Coach🍆 comment deleted

    😈😈Joe says “dick 🍆🍆saves” 😈😈

  8. Avatar
    Charles S. Oaxpatu

    I am glad Bruce wrote an article on shit and shitting. Shit can be both sad and funny. One of my college professors was a great fan of toilet humor, and so am I.

    My gastroenterologist has a special office, located next door to his main office, that specializes in performing colonoscopies. One day, I seriously considered making a sign to overlay the sign on the door to that office. My sign would have read “Welcome to Smellsbad Caverns.” Unfortunately, I believe that entrance was covered by a video camera—so I never did it. I figured they would get me for vandalism if I did.

    Most people feel some sort of shame about discussing shit and shitting, and they recoil from it in horror. I do not feel that way. I can sit down and openly discuss the subject and its many permutations in great detail, even with perfect strangers.

    Now, I have a question for you. In the context of Genesis (in the literally read Bible), did God create shit and say it was good, or did the first living creation that was “created to shit” make the very first shit? Did God make the creature to do that so God would not have to create actual shit—-and thus could permanently distance himself from that which is unclean? How many times does the Bible address the subject of shit? Is it treated as good, bad, or indifferent in scripture?

    • Avatar
      ... Zoe ~

      I don’t know but I tend to lean on my own understanding here and believe it highly likely that both Adam and Eve shit their naked bodies at the same time when the Lord asked them how they knew they were naked.

  9. Avatar

    Well, sh!t, Bruce, sorry to hear that you have to deal with this.

    Why is it that evangelicals want to come to spread their unique brand of Christian love to say denigrating things to someone with a medical condition? Is that what Jesus would do? If so, he was a real d!ck.

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Bruce Gerencser