One state trooper is truly a trooper - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

One state trooper is truly a trooper

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"She put herself through college - worked hard to be where she was - a state trooper," says Angie Reyna, Jennifer Garcia's sister.

If Garcia, a state trooper, pulled you over, you might have done a double take at her tiny frame, but she poured everything into the job she loved, until she was forced to quit.

"I'm still young, so active. I want to go back into law enforcement someday," says Garcia.

But for most of the summer, trooper Jennifer Garcia has been in the hospital, with a stomach ache that will not go away.

"It's like having a stomach bug every day for the rest of your life. You don't want to eat cuz you know it will make you sick," says Garcia.

 Jennifer was diagnosed with gastroparesis and explains what it does.

"When I eat food, it doesn't digest. It doesn't move anywhere. So eventually you vomit."

So what causes gastroparesis? The number one reason is diabetes, but sometimes nerve damage is to blame. Jennifer is like many whose condition just cannot be explained.

"The true incidence is unknown. If I had to guess, 2 to 5% of the population," says Dr. Syn, a bariatric surgeon.

Dr. Syn says it isn't as rare as it sounds, since so many cases are misdiagnosed as gastritis, or an ulcer, or reflux disease.

The good news is there are treatments that can be as simple as a change in diet or medication. If those don't work, gastric stimulation can help the stomach contract to better digest food. But when all else fails, there is a new surgery similar to the gastric by-pass that has helped celebrities like Al Roker lose a lot of pounds.

"The only difference is the stomach that is left is actually bigger than what we would use for a bypass, because we're not trying to achieve weight loss. We're trying to achieve the opposite - weight gain," says Dr. Syn.

After 19 successes, Jennifer is the 20th patient to try this surgery, but her recovery has been slow.

"She's early on, have to wait and see what's going to happen to Jennifer," says Dr. Syn.

According to Jennifer, all she wants is to get back to being a mom.

So, as she and her son, Andrew, walk the halls of Covenant and pray for improvement, Dr. Syn offers another prescription.

 "So, don't be discouraged, try to keep your hopes up."

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