Once upon a time, I was a successful model, dancer, cheerleader, beauty queen, actress and writer. After endless rehearsals and performances without rest, I developed a hiatal hernia. I was offered an operation that was to get me dancing again in 14 days time, I was to never dance professionally ever again.
To fix my hiatal hernia, I had a Nissen Fundoplication in 2004 that unfortunately was unsuccessful and damaged my Vagus Nerve. After a long fight battling for my life, my body started to collapse until I was under 5 stones in weight (5′ 10″ tall) and I was given 6 days to live. I gave up and left the UK for the USA to say goodbye to my brother who lives there as I was expected to die and to be frank, I wanted to die! Not long after I landed I was hospitalized in the USA and luckily for me, I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis and finally got the life-saving treatment that I needed.
However, once back in the UK, the medications that were prescribed to me did not exist in the UK. My health dwindled yet again as I lay dying. After 2 years hospitalized in many hospitals seeking help, we finally came up with a management plan and I had to rebuild my body from scratch and face my new reality living with Gastroparesis.
I have flares all the time, on average, when at it’s worst or life-threatening, I am hospitalized about once every 2 years. When in a flare (which for me is extreme pain and/or vomiting), I like to hug and squeeze my teddy for comfort, get into the fetal position and play very loud music as I ride it out. Some days are better than others. I take many medications daily to stay alive. My life is now part-time living and part-time suffering but with the help of friends and loved ones and the Gastroparesis support groups, we battle on. We are not victims, we are survivors and we fight our Gastroparesis battle like gladiators!