Ford City woman keeps upbeat outlook despite digestive disorder
FORD CITY – Debbie Beer of Ford City is turning her suffering into something good.
Beer, 53, has lived most of her life with painful symptoms that she said were misdiagnosed until 1992.
That's when she found out she had gastroparesis, a digestive disorder which slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine.
She said she was underweight and malnourished for years. At age 3, she weighed just 16 pounds.
Although the condition is a common complication for people with diabetes – Beer is diabetic – she said the exact cause is unknown.
“Because of all the testing and being sick all the time, I lost my job and my health insurance,” Beer said.
That was more than 20 years ago. She also lost her most recent job in 2006 because of similar issues, but declined naming the organization.
Now she is fitted with a device which sends electronic signals to her stomach to help empty it. She said she first read about the gastric pacemaker in 2008 but had to delay surgery for a year while she battled with her health insurance for coverage.
And now, even with the device, she still has to deal with pain and frequent nausea.
She said it's easy to get depressed so she makes an effort to stay upbeat and help others.
“It's your attitude,” said Beer. “If you get depressed and get down, I truly think it makes things worse.”
She devotes much of her time volunteering with the parent/teacher organization at Lenape Elementary School in Manor Township and has become an advocate for gastroparesis awareness.
She sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett, outlining her experience living with the disease and wrote of her desire to promote awareness with a goal toward increased research.
Last week she received a mailed response from the governor's office which included words of support and encouragement for those suffering from the disorder. The letter also included a proclamation:
“As Governor, and on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I am pleased to recognize March 2013 as Gastroparesis Awareness Month,” said Corbett.
Beer, who belongs to the Gastroparesis Awareness Campaign Organization, was delighted when she received the letter and plans to organize an awareness walk in October.
“God has blessed me,” she said. “I may be sick, but I can still smile and I'm not about to give up any time soon.”
For more information, call Debbie at 724-525-1247 or visit www.gpawarenessfund.com.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Apollo man’s car show raises more than $2,000 for cancer fund
- Summer Jam returns to Ford City to benefit nonprofit
- Emerald ash borers taking toll in Armstrong County
- Bank in former Kittanning Foodland open while looking for new location
- Churches band together in Kittanning to fight hunger worldwide
- Traffic restrictions in place as road work continues near new Armstrong school
- Saber pride booming in Ford City’s final year
- Fire ravages Dayton area meat-packing plant
- Dogs brighten day at Ford City assisted-living facility
- Groups traveling uncharted waters to open Allegheny, Monongahela locks
- Drug use, medical problems cited as cause of West Kittanning crash