My name is Chris. I’m 50 years old and I live in Leeds. A few months after my mum Jean passed away as a result of pancreatitis (you can read my mother’s story here), I started with severe stomach pains.
At first, the hospital thought it was gallstones causing the pain, but I was shocked to find that I had pancreatitis too. I had a gene test to check and discovered that I had ‘hereditary pancreatitis, with the mutation in the SPINK1 gene. This was passed on directly from my mother. I have now been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis.
I had always had a ‘twitchy’ stomach and a bit of back pain – for as long as I can remember. But I never really had much abdominal pain.
Interestingly, when I was 41 years old I was diagnosed with lupus (an autoimmune disease). Lupus affects 90% of women, but 10% of men. It is a faulty gene passed down from your mother, but it only affected me. So this is how the genetic mutation (SPINK1) was passed down to me. It seems I was never going to dodge pancreatitis.
I’ve always kept myself active, but I had to slow down when I got the pancreatitis diagnosis. Fighting two diseases is a challenge and pancreatitis is a horrible thing to have. I’m happy I’m able to cope. There is help and advice out there, but you do have to look for it. I’m lucky to have the support of my family which makes it a lot easier.
Before my diagnosis, we lost our mum to pancreatitis. You can read my mum, Jean’s story here. Mum had the time for anyone about anything. If there was one thing I could count on, it was her unwavering love and friendship. Losing the biggest part of your life in the space of a few hours truly crushed me and my family, but I’m pretty certain she is still looking after me.
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