Woman Hasn’t Eaten Solid Meal In Two Years Due To Rare Disorder
A woman says she was accused by doctors of having an eating disorder, before they discovered she actually had stomach paralysis.
Amy Burton first began struggling to eat two years ago but was eventually hospitalised in August 2018 after finding herself unable to eat at all, and has not eaten a full solid meal ever since.
However, the 29-year-old claims she was made to see a psychiatrist at Doncaster Royal Infirmary after doctors initially believed she was deliberately starving herself.
In January 2019, a year after her symptoms first appeared, the mum-of-two was finally diagnosed with gastroparesis, which is believed to have paralysed her stomach muscles. However, her condition soon deteriorated and her weight plummeted from 13 stone to just seven stone.
Unable to hold anything down, Amy had a feeding tube fitted. During this time, Amy claims she was advised by a consultant not to eat, but a nurse repeatedly came in ‘chucking’ a tray of food on her table and telling her she was refusing to eat.
I said I couldn’t and I started crying, because as soon as I eat I can feel it go all the way down, churn in my stomach, then all of a sudden it comes back up.
I tried to explain because they didn’t really know what gastroparesis was at the beginning.
They even googled it in front of me and it was like talking to a brick wall because I wasn’t getting anywhere.
In the absence of food, Amy must try and consume six medicated nutritional drinks a day, as well as glucose water and tea – if she can stomach it.
Unfortunately, she’s no longer the ‘normal, happy and healthy’ woman she once was.
‘I loved my food, I was chubby, I always had been growing up then all of a sudden it was gone,’ she said.
Amy’s mum, Carol Cullen said:
She was really outgoing but now she’s just not the same person at all. She’s lost loads of weight and she can’t go out to have a drink with her mates or go for food – she can’t do anything.
She hasn’t got a life at all, it’s really sad.
Sadly, Amy’s illness has taken a toll on her entire family – particularly her sons Charlie, nine, and AJ, four, who has developed an eating phobia because of it.
I just need help, because I won’t be able to see my kids grow up. I don’t know how long I have left, I know my body can’t do it for another year or two.
My youngest is four and he’s saying he doesn’t like me dying, but if I do die to shut the door so the monsters don’t get in. I have to go into a different room so I can cry because of my stomach, or just to sit and rock and throw up.
He started suffering because he’s never really seen me eat, so he started going off his food and would only have runny stuff like porridge and custard that he’d seen me attempting.
This is heart-breaking to see as a mother and I’d have to put it in my mouth, try and chew it to encourage him, but then shadily spit it out. I just didn’t want him to see everything, it’s too much for him – they’re only young.
Every day is a ‘constant battle’ for Amy and she now relies entirely on family for support as she lacks the energy for basic tasks – even opening a tin of beans is a challenge.
I’ve had to have my back garden astro-turfed with slides and swings to make it into a little park for them because I can’t take them anywhere on my own.
I’ve got no energy and I feel guilty every time I look at them because I’m not the mum that I used to be. There’s some days I can’t get out of the bed and I can’t even stand up to brush my teeth and have to sit down.
When I have a bath I’ve got to lay on a baby changing mat because my spine and bones dig into the bottom of the bath which causes excruciating pain.
Any says she has to carry sick bags with her wherever she goes, as even drinking water can make her ‘projectile vomit’. While the illness has also started to affect her hair and teeth, with Amy saying she has no control over her bodily functions anymore and has to wear a adult nappy at night.
‘This in itself is absolutely embarrassing as I’m putting my child’s nappy on before bed and he then sees me put on mine – I’m ashamed of what my body has done to me,’ she says.
Amy is now desperate for a stomach pacemaker operation, though it is unable to be funded by the NHS as there’s only a 50% chance that it would be successful.
I can feel my body failing more each day, and it’s getting bad now – this is my last chance. There have been many people dying with gastroparesis because of the malnutrition that it causes.
We get a message on our support group when a member passes away – it’s scary.
As a mother it’s awful as I feel helpless. It gets me mad and upset that I can’t do anything else for her and she’s just crying all the time thinking she’s going to die.
A private hospital in Leeds has agreed to do the operation and the family are working hard to raise £17,925 – which needs to be paid upfront – for it.
Everyone I’ve spoken to that had it said it’s given them a new lease of life and some have even gone out and had meals the day after. I’m hoping it’s just going to change my life.
Here’s to wishing Amy a full recovery. You can donate to her GoFundMe here.
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