SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb (KNEP) Feeding Tube Awareness Week was founded in 2011 and since has grown exponentially since, now being recognized world-wide.
Caroline Phelps shows how she feeds herself using the feeding tube (source:KNEP)
"What we are trying to do is awareness of the need for nutrition support for supplementing nutrition." Explains Tracy, the founder. "It’s really easy to think about a child who might need oxygen or a wheelchair or like, need some kind of assistance in doing something, and people don’t often think of needing help eating"
That is why Tracy created Feeding Tube Awareness Week. It started out as a small community of support, which then later turned into a large community of those who make the tubes and formulas, medical practitioners, and those who have received tubes.
Tracy created and intended the awareness week to be surrounded around Valentine's Day to support the motto, "Love your tubie" to shine the light on accepting the feeding tube.
There are over three-hundred and fifty conditions that can be accommodated with the use of a feeding tube. As there are as many conditions one can have in the need of a tube, there are different types of feeding tubes to make up those accommodations.
Caroline Phelps, who received her first feeding tube as a teenager in high school, is now nearing her college graduation and has multiple types of feeding tubes to help her with a rare case of gastro-cromodation-reflux.
“With my gastro-cromodation-reflux, a lot of people typically wouldn’t need a feeding tube for that, but I have a lot of autoimmune-like symptoms going on in my body and it’s because of those symptoms that basically make everything go completely out of control with my body and it was the same thing with my mom.”
Caroline's mother passed away on March 6, 2016. The cause of her death is unknown, however, doctors and Caroline assume it may be in part to Caroline's current condition, gone un-diagnosed.
“They think that I’m basically following in my mom’s footsteps because my blood tests, just like my mom’s they always come back normal but my body and my symptoms they say something differently than what the blood says so it’s, we’re just mysteries.” explains Phelps.
She concludes by saying, "At times, it can feel frustrating to have one because you might have to jump through some extra hoops that others don’t have to, but in the long-run, that tube is what’s helping you and what might be keeping you out of the hospital, depending on the situation.”
Overall, Phelps and many alike, enjoy the week of awareness to bring their conditions together and make the world a stronger place.
One thing all recipients have provided for advice, you can partake in the awareness week by asking instead of staring.
More information on awareness week here: https://www.feedingtubeawareness.org/