This story is part of the Guts UK Pancreatitis Awareness Campaign.
I am 29 year old female, who works part time as a nurse. I suffer from chronic pancreatitis alongside being type 1 diabetic and dealing with a genetic condition. I have been hospitalised 4 times in last 2 years with pancreatitis
The first time I was hospitalised was on Christmas Eve, I was sent home as the hospital were busy, to return the following day for tests. I had no diagnosis and was told to take paracetamol. My 2nd admission, I was kept in and told it was acute pancreatitis.
My 3rd admission was one of the worst. The pain was unbearable and I felt like I was dying.
I woke up excited to see my favourite band who were playing that night, but I woke with what felt like a tummy ache, oh how wrong was I? This almighty pain ripped right through me, I could barely breathe, I was vomiting and passing out with the pain.
I remember waking up to paramedics surrounding me giving me morphine and the look of sheer terror on my Fiancé Scott’s face. I was taken straight to A&E and straight through (not before one nurse refused to give me painkillers till I done a urine sample bearing in mind I am holding in my screams of pain). After my ordeal in A&E I was taken to a ward, where a very young nurse panicked whilst checking my vital signs. Everything seems blurry – so please bear with me.
I remember 2 doctors and 3 nurses discussing my case between them and them deciding I was to ill to be in a medical ward and would need to be transferred to the high dependency unit. During this time, I was fitted with an AIRVO high oxygen machine as I was unable to breath without assistance and my heart rate was become tachycardic. However, I was fitted with a morphine machine which I was able to press every 5 minutes (godsend) and sadly.. a catheter. As you can guess, I was very poorly and bed bound with no understanding around me. On my 3rd day in high dependency I continued to deteriorate I was transferred to intensive care, where I stayed for 8 days and my true fight began. Everything was failing, including my veins. I was fitted with a central venous line into my neck and arterial line in my wrist (ouch) as my veins just could not cope any longer. Due to me deteriorating, doctors we’re discussing ventilating me as my heart couldn’t stabilise itself. Luckily, my pancreas decided to start playing ball and everything began to calm. I finally got myself out of intensive care and back to high dependency, to which I needed a blood transfusion as well (nothing is ever straight forward in my life) however, I fought and I fought. Until I was strong enough to go home. Yay!
On my 4th visit to hospital, 6 months after my 3rd bad attack I was admitted by ambulance again.. thankful for only 7 days and I managed to stay in a medical ward. Lots of IV fluid, pain killers and being nil by mouth I got home, back to my handsome and very worried fiancé.
I still attend the hospital outpatient’s, undergoing more tests and consultations, biopsies and too many CT scans my consultant is concerned of how much radiation goes through my body.
My pancreatitis is unrelated to alcohol and I struggled and had to fight my corner for consultants to believe me that I didn’t drink. Now, they finally do believe me.
When I first heard I suffered with pancreatitis I had NO clue what it was, as did many of my family and friends. The hardest part of this journey is seeing your partner, mum and little sister sit round your hospital bed, knowing they are so worried and are holding back their tears. However, this made me fight even more – after all I do have a wedding to plan!
Each day continues to be a battle, but one I will not lose!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Fancy fundraising for Guts UK? Have a coffee morning, luncheon or dinner party with our pancreatitis quiz over Kranky Panky month. Take part in a funky fundraiser or a pancreas-themed t-shirt competition! Guts UK is the only UK charity funding a research fellowship into pancreatitis. Your donations will make crucial research into pancreatitis happen. Thank you.