Lorna thought her vomiting was due to a dairy intolerance. It wasn't until her mum forced her to go to A&E that a scan confirmed she had pancreatitis.
My name is Lorna, I’m 22 years old from Liverpool. I enjoy listening to music, gaming and photography. Guts UK have asked me to share my experience with pancreatitis throughout the last year, which was necrotising pancreatitis caused by gallstones.
Back in roughly March 2020 I started experiencing health issues. It started with just feeling sick, to projecticel vomiting weekly with intense pain. Being a healthy 21-year-old at the time, I convinced myself that this was all caused due to something I was eating and I thought it might all be due to dairy. This stopped me reaching out for actual medical advice, I didn’t even speak to my doctor. In fact, I just suffered alone instead. I decided to limit my diet to really ‘bland’ food, but this didn’t resolve the issue.
Four months later was when the serious problems started. I woke up with indescribable pain and sickness, in which I finally reached out to the doctors for an emergency blood test, which I never made it to. Three days later after not being able to stomach even a dry biscuit or fluid, I was forced by my mum to go into A&E. Although I was certain I’d be home within the hour as I was so convinced it was a dairy problem.
Looking back at this time, I definitely wasn’t thinking correctly. This was probably due to having very little sleep, no food and quite frankly feeling like I was in a different world. The journey to the hospital was horrific, I remember every single bump in the road. As soon as I got into hospital I was admitted in resus with tachycardia and low oxygen, then moved to critical care. A CT scan confirmed I had necrosis of the pancreas, which I knew nothing about.
When I was at my worst, I struggle to find the words to describe just how bad I felt. I suppose the word is ‘lifeless.’
As my pancreatitis was caused initially by gallstones, I was under the impression that once I had the ‘problem’ removed I would be fine. After my body had recovered from the first attack, I had my gallbladder removed in September. I’d thought this might be the end of pancreatitis journey, but I had a further 2 attacks of pancreatitis in December. In 2o21 so far, I haven’t had any acute attacks, but I still suffer from daily problems like nausea, digestive problems and tiredness. I’m still under the pancreatic team to monitor this.
There’s a few things that I want people to take from my story the main one being to take your health seriously! Don’t delay help.
Since discovering the pancreatitis community online, I now know it’s not just me who didn’t always feel like I was taken seriously. On my last stay in A&E, even after a history of pancreatitis on my records, I was made to have oral pain relief in A&E (despite trying to explain that due to vomiting, I couldn’t keep it down). Once oral pain relief is given, you’re unable to take any other form of pain relief. This meant a prolonged period of intense pain for me. We need to be taken seriously.
I want to thank Guts UK for being such an amazing support system throughout, especially to my family – let’s continue to raise awareness."I want awareness of pancreatitis to be vocalised more. It's a subject that most people don't know anything about, including myself at the time." - Lorna.
There is no effective treatment for pancreatitis. There is no cure.
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