Cystic Fibrosis Podcast 118: Gunnar Esiason on How to Use a Feeding Tube

In this episode, we talk with Gunnar Esiason about the daily use of a feeding tube as part of CF treatment. While Gunnar continues to remain compliant and use the feeding tube, among other treatments, he has been living independently and has been enjoying college life for the past three years.

Diagnosed at the age of two, Gunnar is now 21 years old and a senior at Boston College. During his sophomore year at BC, shortly after enduring a serious lung infection and losing a significant amount of weight, he decided to start using a feeding tube.

In this podcast, Gunnar discusses the surgical process of inserting the tube along with the placement of a “button,” an external port allowing him to receive the nutrients he needs in liquid form. When the tube was initially inserted, his doctors gave him a goal weight of 185 pounds – the ideal weight for him to reach and maintain. Prior to the feeding tube, Gunnar, who stands well above six feet, weighed only 142 pounds. Now, after using the feeding tube consistently, Gunnar weighs in at 175 pounds.

On an average day, Gunnar consumes anywhere from 500 to 1,500 calories through the feeding tube while ingesting upwards of 2,000 calories overnight. In order to keep his feeding tube and other supplies sterile, he washes them with warm to hot water.

Gunnar says that the feeding tube has not prevented him from leading a full life and enjoying college with his friends; that his biggest adjustment was learning how to sleep at night with the tube.

This video was made possible through an unrestricted, educational grant from Genentech to the Boomer Esiason Foundation.

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