My name is Rebecca and I’m 31 years old. On the 26th June, I woke up feeling fine. I had my morning coffee, watched an episode of a tv series I’d been hooked on and began getting ready for a day of working from home. My husband Kirk and I were in the process of buying a new home, so I expected a busy day ahead with my job but also all the paperwork that comes along with buying a house!
While getting ready for work, I started to feel a little sick. I laid down on the bed and very quickly, I felt absolutely awful.
Suddenly I was boiling hot, really bloated, had bad diarrhoea and I could hear my heart racing very fast. The feeling of being sick turned into being sick very quickly. I felt an excruciating pain in my stomach.
Luckily, I was with my husband who was also getting ready for work. I knew there was just no way I could manage this pain at home, so I asked him to call 111. The people on the line called an ambulance for me and the ambulance took me straight into A&E.
When at A&E, I was given pain relief and I had a scan that diagnosed pancreatitis. Unfortunately I can’t remember what scan, as from this point onwards I can remember very little. I was moved into ICU and put on oxygen, where I stayed for 9 days. I can only remember the last couple of days of my time in ICU.
Covid-19 meant I was unable to see my friends and family in hospital, but I was also hallucinating a lot. I still struggle to determine what was reality and what was a hallucination. I thought I had been kidnapped and taken away from hospital. There were times when the room was shaking, but I try to forget most of these experiences – as they were so real and frightening at the time. Thankfully, I’ve been seeing a psychologist who has been helping me to process everything.
Finally, I was allowed to go home in August, still with one drain. I had a district nurse coming out to check the drain and dress the large blister that I had developed on my leg from excess fluid too.
I had been home for nearly two weeks. We were due to move house in just two day’s time and things were finally looking up. But the district nurse who came that day was worried about my temperature and concerned I could have an infection, so I was sent back to hospital.
I did have an infection. The excess fluid that had developed because of my pancreatitis had become badly infected. I was sent back to a different hospital that were able to fit me a different type of drain, and I tell my story from hospital now.
Since June, I have spent less than two weeks at home. I have been in hospital for over 16 weeks now. I spent my 31st birthday here. Around two weeks ago, I tested positive for Covid-19 in hospital, so have been in an isolated room. There is talk about me leaving hospital soon though. I will have to learn how to use my feeding tube from home (a tube passed through my nose and straight into my intestine, it is usually fed into the stomach but mine had shrunk so much).
My husband has been great. He has taken care of the house purchase while I’ve been in hospital, so I hope that when I do leave hospital, I’ll be walking into our lovely new home. As I spent my 31st birthday in hospital because of pancreatitis, I decided to set up a Facebook birthday fundraiser for Guts UK’s work into pancreatitis. I have raised almost £500!
There is no effective treatment for pancreatitis. There is no cure.
Guts UK is the only UK charity funding a research fellowship into pancreatitis.
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Guts UK's research is striving towards finding a cure for pancreatitis. Please donate to Guts UK today, so thousands like Rebecca can return home after months in hospital to be with their loved ones.