Jana can often be found with her husband Chase walking their dogs Linus and Jovie in her hometown of Beaumont, Texas. She is a charismatic young woman who leads a very active and social lifestyle, whether it’s getting together with friends or hiking in New Mexico with her bright green backpack. But what many don’t realize is that the backpack Jana’s wearing is an extension of her body, as it carries the nutrients and calories that she will consume for the day.
Jana has a rare gastrointestinal disorder (chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo obstruction - CIP) that she was diagnosed with at seven days old. CIP is a condition where involuntary and coordinated muscular contractions occur within an individual’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract and gives off signs there is an actual blockage in the intestines when there is not. This makes it difficult and almost impossible for Jana to consume calories via normal food, and it’s the reason she has been on home parenteral nutrition (HPN) for her entire life.
My normal doesn’t look like everyone else’s normal, but I never let that stop me from living my life.
Jana, parenteral nutrition patient
“My normal doesn’t look like everyone else’s normal, but I never let that stop me from living my life,” says Jana. “As a young child, I knew that I was different. I carry my nutrients with me throughout the day in my backpack, which is incredibly convenient; it allows me to be mobile and continue on with my life.”
PN is an intravenous (IV) nutrition therapy that Jana receives over the course of a 12-hour infusion period for five days a week. Jana receives various nutrients and multivitamins daily based on the needs of her body and this can include a balance of protein, carbohydrates, lipids (fats), electrolytes and vitamins. Jana’s therapy oftentimes includes a mix of amino acids and multivitamins that she needs to give her the strength to get through a normal day.
While the course of her life has been filled with extended hospital stays, extensive surgeries and curveballs left and right due to her condition, Jana never let that stop her from doing the things she loves. Jana has established a life with her husband in Texas since graduating from Lamar College and has become an advocate for PN. In fact, Jana is a member of the “Gutsy Gals,” a support group of women across the country who are also on PN therapy.
“Having access to innovative parenteral nutrition products has been a huge reassurance to me as I continue my journey with CIP,” Jana shared. “I’m fortunate enough to be able to manage my care remotely and from home, allowing me to spend quality time with my family and friends. This is my normal, and I am perfectly ok with that.”