Gastroenteritis (Gastro) is an infection of the bowel that is easily spread from person to person. Here are 5 tips to improve gastro health….
Gastroenteritis (Gastro) is an infection of the bowel that is easily spread from person to person. Here are 5 tips to improve gastro health.
Paige Simpson has lived with a debilitating bowel disease all her life.
At just six weeks old, the 25-year-old was diagnosed with Hollow Visceral Myopathy of the gastrointestinal tract, meaning she has no muscle tone in her large bowel and only small amounts in her small bowel.
She also suffers from Hypotonic Bladder which leaves her with no sense of when she needs to use the bathroom, relying solely on medical devices to drain waste from her body.
Throughout her school days, she would have to carry feeding tubes, an ileostomy bag attached to her intestine and catheters around in her backpack.
But that all changed six years ago when Paige made a breakthrough after slowly transitioning to eating solid foods on her own.
She also began to work as a barista at her local Dubbo cafe, in New South Wales.
It was, however, later met with a shocking turn of events after Paige began to experience excruciating tummy pains, dropping to just 38kg.
Her large bowel had caved in on itself giving doctors no choice but to remove it and now Paige will not only have to spend the rest of her life on blood thinners, but she also has to wait a decade for any hopes of getting a transplant.
“In November last year, I started getting pains and feeling unwell on and off,” she told news.com.au.
“I was at my work Christmas party in December where I got food poisoning and never really got my appetite back after that.
“This was mainly because my large bowel was compressing all my organs but I just didn’t know that yet.”
So, every time she ate she would experience the aches and also feel as though she was full, when she wasn’t.
“Because the large bowel caved in on itself, it was pushing up against my tummy so when I ate it would either come back up or the tiniest amount would make me feel full.”
Having put up with a high pain tolerance all her life, Paige just put down the aches to something she ate.
However, her weight began to deteriorate rapidly where she dropped to a worrying 38kg in weight after losing 12kg from December to March this year.
“From here I was admitted to hospital,” she said.
“Doctors discovered that I had Intussusception in my large bowel – something they were very shocked to see in someone my age.”
Paige said it means her bowel telescopes into itself and causes major pain.
“They also discovered I had a mass that had been building up since the age of three which because a lot of the strain on the rest of my organs, it was pushing them into places they shouldn’t be because the mass was so big and hard.”
For example, her left kidney which became partially blocked from this was up in her ribs from being so strained.
Paige has since received surgery to get a new central line to receive her Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) which is also known as intravenous or IV nutrition feeding, a method of getting nutrition into the body through the veins.
“I am now at home on TPN and fluids for 14 hours of the day. I then have to crush and put meds down my jejunostomy [a tube through the abdomen] three times a day.”
In May this year, Paige returned to hospital, this time to have a stent put into her SVC on her heart, and to have her bowel removed.
“My peg tubes changed to new ones, my central moved from my thigh to my chest, my large bowel was taken out and lastly, I had a drain put in as after my bowel was taken out I got a collection in my abdomen.”
The courageous 25-year-old is now at home recovering, but she will now have to spend the rest of her life on blood thinners.
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“My bowel is going well, but it’s not always going to be like this – it will eventually go to crap and decide not to work and my doctors say if I want to live a full life I will need a bowel transplant.”
However, in order for Paige to be eligible, she said she essentially needs to be on her “death bed”.
“The catch is you have to be sick enough and to them I am not, my body has to be rejecting the TPN, I have to be malnourished in order to get the transplant, which is daunting.
“I need to be on death’s doorstep, but I like to think and live in the moment. I do think about it sometimes but I try not to dwell on it and just get to it when it comes.”
Paige has since set up a GoFundMe having raised $14,355 so far to help to wards the cost of her medications and medical expenses.