Management consultant, 31, suffers from a rare condition that causes her to vomit up to 100 times A DAY
- Rebecca Griffiths had a severe case of cyclical vomiting syndrome
- Started five years ago with her life then being ‘just lying on the sofa with a bowl’
- Underwent ‘make or break’ surgery six weeks again to try and ease the disorder
A management consultant used to vomit up to 100 times a day before surgery to reverse the crippling condition.
Rebecca Griffiths, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, suffered from a severe case of cyclical vomiting syndrome.
The 31-year-old started vomiting uncontrollably five years ago, with her life then consisting of ‘just lying down on the sofa with a sick bowl’.
She was left unable to hold down a job or eat a meal, with her condition even landing her in A&E as often as once a week.
After being forced to rely on her parents to act as her full-time carers, Ms Griffiths’ luck may have finally changed after a surgeon in Germany performed a ‘make or break’ operation.
Six weeks on, Ms Griffiths’ vomiting episodes have reduced dramatically, with her looking forward to a brighter future.
Rebecca Griffiths suffered from a severe case of cyclical vomiting syndrome
The former management consultant would vomit up to 100 times a day, with her being unable to hold down a job or eat a meal. She would even have to go to A&E up to once a week
Ms Griffiths’ condition was thought to be caused by blood vessels in her stomach being compressed, which led to inflammation, pain and retching. She is pictured six weeks ago with her mother Caroline after undergoing surgery in Germany to relieve the compression
Speaking of her condition, Ms Griffiths said: ‘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.
‘It has completely stopped my life.’
Ms Griffiths, who also suffers from type 1 diabetes, used to love outdoor sports and was full of energy growing up.
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But in November 2013, she suddenly started to experience mysterious vomiting episodes.
‘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,’ Ms Griffiths said.
‘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.’
Since her condition developed five years ago, Ms Griffiths claimed her life consisted of ‘just lying down on the sofa with a blanket and a sick bowl’. She now hopes for a brighter future
Ms Griffiths, who also suffers from type 1 diabetes, would often be left lethargic and unresponsive after vomiting episodes made her develop severe dehydration. She relied on her parents to be her full-time carers, with Caroline even feeding her saline solution via an IV drip
WHAT IS CYCLICAL VOMITING SYNDROME?
Cyclical vomiting syndrome is a rare disorder that causes patients to suffer repeated vomiting and nausea episodes.
It affects as little as one in every 25,000 people.
CVS has no obvious case and is generally not the result of an infection or lifestyle choice.
It mainly affects children with symptoms often resolving by adulthood.
CVS sufferers may feel very sick and vomit for hours or even days at a time.
They will then recover and feel fine until their next episode.
An episode starts with someone sweating intensely and being unusually pale, which is followed by retching, vomiting and a sufferer being unresponsive.
Episodes may be triggered by certain foods, caffeine, hot weather, periods, motion sickness, exhaustion, sleep deprivation or extreme emotions, like anxiety or excitement.
Medication can ease nausea and vomiting.
If a patient becomes severely dehydrated, they may require IV fluids in hospital.
Untreated, CVS can lead to inflammation of the oesphagus lining and tooth decay.
Source: NHS Choices
After being prescribed anti-nausea medication, which did little to ease her suffering, Ms Griffiths was eventually diagnosed with CVS.
The near-constant vomiting made Ms Griffiths so dehydrated that she was left lethargic and unresponsive.
The combination of her CVS and diabetes even made Ms Griffiths so dehydrated that her mother Caroline was forced to feed saline solution through her daughter’s main vein.
But Ms Griffiths’ luck may have changed after a specialist in complex vascular diseases, from Germany, performed surgery on her.
Her doctor, known only as Professor Sandmann, believes Ms Griffiths’ vomiting was caused by the compression of her major blood vessels.
She thinks Ms Griffiths’ blood vessels were being squeezed shut by a ligament, which was restricting her blood flow.
The area around these blood vessels is made up of a cluster of sensitive nerve endings, with Ms Griffiths’ becoming irritated and inflamed due to the compression.
Subsequent pain in this area can make a person wretch and vomit.
Professor Sandmann performed complex surgery to open up Ms Griffiths’ blood vessels.
And 24 hours after the operation, Ms Griffiths’ still had not vomited.
Six weeks on, she said: ‘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.’
Ms Griffiths features on Body Bizarre, which airs on Saturdays at 10pm on TLC UK.
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