Rebecca Griffiths, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, started suffering from cyclical vomiting syndrome back in November 2013, and the problem has become so severe that she's had to put her entire life on hold.
The 31-year-old hasn't been able to eat properly, let alone hold down a job.
Her vomiting can get so bad that she ends up in A&E almost weekly.
“I can’t eat, I can’t drink, I am basically just lying down on the sofa, with a blanket and a sick bowl and that has been my life, every other day for the last five years," Rebecca explained.
“It has completely stopped my life.”
Growing up, Rebecca had been active and healthy, despite being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after graduating from university.
But in late 2013, the former management consultant suffered a bout of vomiting episodes.
She said: "I started to really struggle with a bout of horrendous nausea and vomiting, and it lasted five days and the doctors didn’t know what to do
"I have always just wanted to be successful at whatever I do – it doesn’t matter what that is, I just want to do it well and I feel now that I can’t do anything well. I can’t do anything at all."
CVS is a rare disorder that tends to mainly affect kids.
It's not caused by any infection or illness, which makes it even more frightening – especially as in most cases, it clears up on its own before adulthood.
An episode has four phases:
1. Prodrome phase
When you start to feel a bout of vomiting is about to start, followed by intense sweating and nausea
2. Vomiting phase
Vomit up to six times an hour, for up to ten days.
Other symptoms include:
3. Recovery phase
When the vomiting/retching stops and other symptoms start to improve
4. Well phase
You feel fine again…for a few hours
The NHS says that causes are currently unknown but there may be a link between CVS and migraine.
When a vomiting episode starts, it recommends staying in bed and taking small sips of fluid to stay hydrated
After being prescribed anti-nausea medication that didn't work, Rebecca was eventually diagnosed with cyclical vomiting syndrome or CVS.
Continuous sickness makes Rebecca so dehydrated that after an episode, she needs full-time care.
The devasting combo of diabetes and sickness has recent left Rebecca so weak, that her mum Caroline has been feeding saline solution through her main vein to keep her hydrated.
But the future might be looking up for Rebecca.
A specialist in complex vascular diseases from Germany has offered her a "make or break" surgery.
Professor Sandmann believes that her vomiting is being caused by compressions in her major blood vessels, which are being squeezed shut.
That's stopping the flow of blood and causing the area around the vessels to become irritated and inflamed, and it's that which is causing her to wretch and vomit.
For 24 hours after the prof performed complex surgery to open up her artery, Rebecca wasn't sick.
Six weeks on, her vomiting has significantly been reduced.
"I have had more good days than bad days, so I really do feel like we’re getting somewhere, but I know it’s going to take time and when I have bad days I have to remember not to be disheartened and not to think that it hasn’t worked, but just remember that I am having more good days and that I can do more and more as time goes on."
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