Former State Trooper Fighing Debilitating Disease

August marks the awareness month for a rare, and terrible disease called Gastroparesis, for which there is no cure. KLBK's Alison Morris has the story of one local woman who is suffering from it.
"When I eat I have overwhelming nausea. I vomit. Every bite of food is a struggle for me because I don't know how my body is going to react to it."

Jennifer Garcia was diagnosed with Gastroparesis last August.

"It altered everything that I did because I didn't have the same quality of life anymore," said Garcia.

At the time of her diagnosis, Garcia, an Olton native, was a state trooper.

"I was collapsing in the shower and just really winded. I was tired all the time."

Late last year, she was was forced to quit working.

"That was one of the hardest things to have to leave my career in law enforcement," Garcia said.

"She loves taking pictures. She's a great photographer."

Garcia's friend, Christy De La Cruz, remembers seeing Garcia's health begin to deteriorate. 

"When I began to see that she was selling her cameras and everything that I know meant so much to her, and her furniture, I knew that she needed help," said De La Cruz.

Garcia says that with the limited treatment options available to treat the disease, she got worse and worse, dropping down to 93 pounds and was forced to return to the hospital to get nutrition.

Andrew, Garcia's son, has spent the summer at the hospital, watching over his mom.

"The first time I saw here with a feeding tube, I thought it wasn't gonna get any better," Andrew said.

Doctors have removed much of Garcia's stomach, her gallbladder, and reconstructed her digestive system.

"Ultimately I just want awareness for gastroparesis," said Garcia. "We really need to get federal sponsorship in order to get more research funding."

De La Cruz also hopes to bring awareness, but also to help the Garcias who desperately need it.

"I know that God is in control of all things," said De La Cruz. "But with this awareness, and this story getting out, I know that there's people out there that it will help. And we're praying more than anything that it'll help Jennifer."

In the meantime, Garcia remains hopeful to regain her health.

Moving forward, it's a waiting game for Garcia.

She must be able to hold down whole foods before doctors release her.

If you want to help out the Garcia family you can go by any City Bank location in Lubbock and make a donation.

Garcia's fellow officers set up a fund in her name.  
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