Hi, I’m Lora and I’m 25 years old. I have been diagnosed with type 2 autoimmune pancreatitis (also known as idiopathic duct centric pancreatitis associated with inflammatory bowel disease).
I had my first acute pancreatitis flare in January 2018. I remember driving home from work on a Friday when out of nowhere I felt really nauseas. The next morning I woke up with horrific back pain on the left side. I couldn’t eat anything and felt so sick. I decided to make an appointment with my GP first thing on the Monday.
The GP told me it was probably gastritis and told me to double up on my Lansoprazole medication, as it should pass in a few days. But it didn’t pass.
The pain grew so much worse. I knew something wasn’t right. In just 7 days I had lost over a stone in weight! My mum and my boyfriend took me to A&E and they tested my amylase, which was nearly 700 and my CRP was high. I had acute pancreatitis. I was sent for a CT which showed my pancreas and spleen were enlarged and my liver function results were abnormal.
I was being asked questions about my lifestyle like how much I drank and what I ate. I rarely drink but the doctors assured me this would be a one off if I avoided alcohol and fatty/spicy foods. I rarely indulged in any of these so I carried on as normal.
One year to the day I had another flare and was hospitalised again. The CT showed my pancreas was bulky and bloods showed my parathyroid gland levels weren’t right. The pain was unbearable, I couldn’t stand up straight.
I was put on IV painkillers and was nil by mouth. Further investigation was done and in the coming months, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. This was key in diagnosing my pancreatitis.
I still have an enlarged pancreas (my consultant now thinks I have chronic pancreatitis) and me and my pancreas are learning together what foods it doesn’t like and what causes me pain. I have been on several biological drugs for my UC, in the hope that this will reduce the chance of me having another pancreatitis flare.
We must do more research into pancreatitis and raise awareness of this disease. It was such a relief to find that there were actually quite a few people like me through Guts UK and this brilliant Kranky Panky campaign.
I had no idea of the effect pancreatitis can have on other organs and the key role it plays in digestion. I want people to know that you’re not alone, there’s always help available if and when you need it.
Guts UK is the only UK charity funding a research fellowship into pancreatitis.
We are dedicated to finding an effective treatment for this devastating condition. People are suffering, people are dying, all because of a lack of knowledge about our guts. Join our community and champion our cause by donating to our life-saving research today.Be part of life-saving research by donating to Guts UK today. Let's get to grips with pancreatitis.