A Scots woman who has shed 10 stone has described how she ‘screams in pain’ when she tries to eat or drink.
Llewella Owl, 32, first began experiencing severe abdominal pain over two years ago, in October 2019.
The Falkirk woman, who described the pain as ‘agonising’ made several trips to the doctors as medics initially struggled to reach a diagnosis.
But in 2021, numerous tests at Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert – including an endoscopy, biopsy and a CT scan – led to Llewella eventually being diagnosed with chronic health condition Gastroparesis.
Gastroparesis means that the stomach cannot empty in the normal way and triggers vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss, among other symptoms.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Llewella said: “My symptoms began with severe pain to the abdomen, it’s like someone is slowly pushing a sword into my stomach while I eat and drink.
“I end up crying and screaming in pain on the floor while my body vomits and shakes.
She added: “My blood sugar levels get so low I sometimes have a hypo and because I can’t eat or drink. This is just one of many things I have to deal with on a daily basis.”
Llewella has lost 10 stone since developing the condition – dropping from 18st 6lbs to just 8st 11lbs – and has been left with painful ulcers in her intestines from the constant vomiting.
She added: “I used really enjoyed my food and baking for friends and even entering baking competitions. But I haven’t been able to eat and drink without severe pain since 2019.
“I was so much happier before I lost the weight.”
Llewella’s condition has now deteriorated to the point that she has to have a feeding tube fitted.
Her plummeting weight has also been seen her hospitalized several times and the former animal carer has had to give up the job she loved as her weight continues to plummet.
Left with very little quality of life’, Llewella is forced to sleep downstairs in her home because she is too weak to climb to her bedroom and even needs assistance when showering.
She said: “I use to be very active, walking dogs, riding horses, motorcycles, running 5k for different charities, running after my nieces and nephews, wild swimming and I even hosted several walks in a walking group. Now, I struggle to even walk my own dog.
“I sleep downstairs as I find the stairs too much of a struggle to get up. I can no longer organize or join group walks, I no longer look after my nieces or nephews, I don’t go swimming and I can only shower when someone is around to help me.”
The 31-year-old is now hoping to get gastro-botox, which causes temporary paralysis of a specific muscle and Llewella says may help alleviate her symptoms. Gasto-botox is an unlicensed treatment, not typically offered on the NHS.
She hopes the treatment could help her eat and drink again and has launched an urgent fundraising campaign with the hope of raising £8k for the procedure.
She said: “The treatment would relieve some of the pain and discomfort I am constantly living with. It would hopefully allow me to eat and drink small portions.
“I miss food so much. Going out for meals with friends is horrible, I just have to sit there and watch everyone else eat and enjoy life.”
You can donate to Llewella’s fundraiser here.
When approached for comment by the Daily Record, the NHS said decisions on treatment are taken after discussions between patients and their consultant.