Both of Georgie’s parents have been affected by pancreatitis. This is her family’ story.
Hi, I’m Georgie. I’m 28 years old, living in London, and just over two years ago, I lost my father, David to pancreatitis.
My mother, Nikki was diagnosed with pancreatitis in 2005. A disease our family hadn’t heard of before, nor anyone we knew. It was caused by gallstones that became trapped in the bile duct which caused the pancreas to inflame.
A year later, my father was diagnosed with the exact same disease, but this caused more complications, including a pseudocyst on the pancreas. The hospital team supporting both my mother and father found it astonishing that both of them had gone through this.
Luckily, both my parents had seen through the removal of their gallbladders. After a few months in hospital, neither experienced a relapse for a number of years thereafter.
My father lost a lot of weight due to his difficulty eating solid foods. Eventually, he needed a feeding tube through his nose and to his stomach. Despite his initial recovery, he continued to suffer from pancreatitis on several more occasions. Dad’s most recent episode being the most heartbreaking and traumatic.
In the summer of 2019, on a Wednesday, my father was rushed again to hospital from work due to sharp stabbing pains in his abdomen. He had been sweating and was in excruciating pain. As he had experienced this before, our family thought, “oh no not again, but he’ll be okay!”.
A day later, dad’s symptoms had gotten worse, and the pain was astronomical. Even morphine couldn’t touch pain he was experiencing. Dad was diverted straight to the Intensive Care Unit and put into an induced coma.
The doctors asked us to make a horrible decision, in a matter of minutes. We either give him a higher dose of drugs, which could cause further organ failure where he could die immediately. Or, we could just not give him more painkillers once they ran out. Our hearts sank.
Just 48 hours later, dad was gone. His body had shut down and was unable to mend itself. All I could think was I will never get a chance to see him when he was awake, nor say goodbye to him. But for me, I am certain dad heard everything I said to him.
Experiencing bereavement at the age of 26 was hard. In addition, I have a constant worry that my mother needs to remain healthy and well, to ensure she doesn’t fall ill too. I always think to myself, if she ever falls sick again with pancreatitis, I could lose her too. I’ve lost one parent from this awful disease, I couldn’t begin to imagine losing her too. Mum is our rock and the strongest woman to have gone through what she has, and still be the most positive person.
There is such little awareness about pancreatitis, that I find myself talking about it more and more. I try to do everything I can to support individuals from a bereavement point of view, and also a pancreatic point of view.
Because of the industry I work in, I am lucky enough to receive a number of beauty products and decided in 2020 to support a charity who work with bereaved children & young adults by holding a beauty sample sale where all proceeds would be donated to the charity. The sale was incredibly successful. In 2021, I wanted to repeat this activity for a charity that was more focused on pancreatitis, as something that not only my father, but of course my mother too had experienced. After extensive research of only finding charities that supported pancreatic cancer, I found Guts UK charity. It has been such a privilege to raise both money and awareness for this small, but mighty charity. I hope to continue to raise awareness for pancreatitis far and wide."I won’t stop supporting and funding research to support treatment and understanding, until a cure or an effective treatment for pancreatitis is found." - Georgie
There is no effective treatment for pancreatitis. There is no cure.
Guts UK is the only UK charity funding a research fellowship into pancreatitis. We are dedicated to finding an effective treatment, a cure for this misunderstood and underfunded 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.