Ron Sparks Author, Poet

Feeding Tube Madness


Six days ago I weighed 184lbs. Today I weigh 171lbs. In the past week I’ve lost 13 pounds.

The weight loss looks good on me. My belly is flat as a pancake now. My face isn’t “plump” anymore. I don’t have a spare tire. It’s kind of nice to be right around my ideal weight.

The only problem is that I’m not losing weight in a healthy way. I’ve lost way too much weight – way too fast. I am fatigued. I am weak. I can barely walk across the house without wheezing.

I can’t keep anything down. The morbidity of my radiation treatments are catching up to me. Even water isn’t palatable any longer. Imagine your worst head cold. Think of the massive amount of slime that coats your throat as you try to clear it.

Now imagine never, ever, being able to get rid of it. That slime is your constant companion – coating your esophagus. Imagine everything, even water, tasting like slime, snot, and ashes.

That’s how I roll right now. You can understand why I’m not eating. Everything makes me gag. Everything. Even a sip of water.

This is why my doctor is ordering me on a feeding tube this week. Yes, you read correctly. On Thursday I will be admitted to the hospital, sedated, a endoscopic light put down my throat into my stomach, a hole cut out, and a tube inserted right into my belly.

I will be pouring my nutrients directly into my stomach. The procedure is called Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. You can read about it here.

I am not too happy with this turn of events. I will have this tube for about a month – maybe longer. I was warned that this was a very real possibility, but I was hoping to avoid it. The psychological blow to my family and children, and myself, may be significant. Seeing a TUBE come from my belly is a little freaky, to say the least.

I am hitting up friends and family to buy me a juicer. As a diabetic, I can’t just pour Ensure or Boost into my belly – too much sugar. Since I’m on disability and funds are tight, I’m hoping someone will step up and get it for me. With it I can eat healthy, stabalize my weight, and still maintain proper nutrition.

So anyway – I am about to be come a cyborg. It’s a low-risk procedure. I’ll be out of the hospital the next day. I probably won’t take pictures – not sure I want everyone to see that, ya know.

Wish me luck!

About the author

Ron Sparks

Ron Sparks is a technology professional, science fiction and fantasy author and poet living in Zurich, Switzerland. His latest book "ONI: Satellite Earth Series Book 1" is available on


  • It is a little disconcerting to have things sticking out when nature didn’t provide them to you. I had drains and catheters and nose tubes so I can relate, but I have to admit the feeding tube will be a longer term bummer. I imagine you’ll get used to it and, bad interface joke aside, so will everyone else.You should try brussel sprouts and anchovies.

  • Currently, because I am only going to get radio, my doc says I don’t need a PEG. Trouble is, with a wired jaw and the strain of the therapy, I reckon it’s a real possibility. Any tips or recommendations?

    • Hey Don. The feeding tube is something you do want to avoid, if you can. Any primary line into your body that is there long term is a culprit in infection. In this case, fungal infections around the PEG tube are a real concern (that’s what killed my mother a few months ago).

      The best way to avoid a PEG tube is to fatten up NOW. Add the weight now so you have reserves when you can’t eat. I was told to fatten up and I tried, but I just wasn’t able to add enough weight to make a difference.

      If you DO end up getting a PEG tube, just remember to keep it clean at all times and to put only the proscribed formula in it – I tried using a processor to put real fruits and veggies in it and clogged it up. 🙁

  • Thanks Ron will try to fatten this particular calf. BTW, wanted to ask, having read your poetry win post, do you write anything else? Prose for example – novels, scripts etc.? I ask for obvious reasons; with all this time I have been writing, not just on the blog. I might be interested in passing you the odd thing if you don’t mind and are willing to give an opinion. For example I am writing a novel, something that has grown from a short story and it needs opinions. Right now it is an Indian in pieces on the garage floor and I’m a) sure that not all of it is there and b) I’m looking at how I can get what I can onto the frame of the bike so I can see what’s what. I’ll tell you now I’m not looking for more than an opinion which I know sounds defensive and, ho ho, is.

Ron Sparks Author, Poet

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Ron Sparks

Ron Sparks is a technology professional, science fiction and fantasy author and poet living in Zurich, Switzerland. His latest book "ONI: Satellite Earth Series Book 1" is available on


A man of many passions, I lay claim to a myriad of interests and hobbies. Among them, I am an amateur astronomer, an avid motorcycle rider, a whiskey aficionado, a (poor) surfer, a scuba diver, a martial artist, a student of philosophy, a proponent of critical thinking, a technologist, an entrepreneur, a cancer survivor, and I harbor a lifelong love of science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to strike up a conversation on the social networks below.

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