A mum-of-three who has an extremely rare digestive disorder that makes her sick up to 20 times a day says Cadbury’s Creme Eggs saved her life.
Stella Brown, 51, suffers from achalasia which affects the oesophagus and can mean the muscles can’t contract properly.
Swallowing can become near impossible with food and drink unable to pass through to the stomach and often being brought back up.
Stella, from Leicester, said her disorder left her unable to swallow properly and in constant pain.
Thankfully, after surgery her diet has been expanded, but Stella says for two years the only thing she was able to eat was Cadbury’s Creme Eggs.
She told Leicestershire Live: "To be honest, laugh or not – Cadbury’s Creme Eggs saved my life. They were the only food I could eat – odd I know but it is true.
"I had one one day and for some reason I could eat it and it just stayed down."
Speaking about how it all began, she said: "It was really weird because I just woke up one day and I couldn’t swallow.
"It got worse over the next two weeks and eventually I went to the hospital and they thought it was just a reflux and gave me some Gaviscon."
Three weeks later, Stella said she was finding it almost impossible to keep water down, and was struggling to swallow anything at all.
"Everything started coming up, and I started to panic," she said.
"There’s not really any medication to ease the pain and I lost weight so much that I’ve literally gone down to size 4 clothes.
"I was starting to get really depressed because of the weight that I had lost.
"I have had two operations to dilate my oesophagus just so I can swallow – which I struggle with every day."
At this point Stella claims doctors told her she only had a year to live if her condition did not improve.
NHS guidelines say there is no cure to the disorder but certain treatments can help sufferers.
These include medicine, surgery to stretch the oesophagus muscle, and botox injections into the ring of muscle to help it to relax.
Stella has had two operations which have helped her.
This surgery is called balloon dilation, and involves a balloon being inflated inside the oesophagus to help stretch the muscle so that people can swallow more easily.
But Stella thinks her return back to health is also down to the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs.
She said: "Before I started eating them I would faint a lot because I wasn’t getting the energy I needed from food and would blackout.
"They saved my life. I carried one around with me wherever I went for two years."
Symptoms of Achalasia?
The symptoms, according to the NHS, are:
- choking and coughing fits
- chest pain
- repeated chest infections
- drooling of vomit or saliva
- gradual but significant weight loss.
Since having surgery, Stella says she can eat a bigger selection of foods, however she is still sick every day.
"It’s difficult, if I got to a restaurant, for example, I have to sit as close to the toilets as possible, just in case."
And it’s not just her social life that has been affected.
"I want to go back to work, but because of my sickness it affects my ability to work," she told.
"I have volunteered at the council working in kitchens cooking for elderly and also on Goldhill Park a year ago, helping out in school holidays.
"But after my latest results in February I will see what lies ahead and try and get back into work when I’m fully fit and healthy."
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