Each week this month here at the Pact Blog, we’re featuring a story from a member of our community. We have enjoyed getting to know these people, and know you will too. First up, Rachel Briggs.
My story begins when I was 12. I suffered with a very severe eating disorder (Anorexia subtype purging) and I only recovered 4 years ago. I believe this was the start of my chronic illness journey.
I was in and out of treatment centers all over the country. When I went to college things started to get really bad. I was in college for Pre Med. My dad is a doctor, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I started getting a lot of GI symptoms; like lack of appetite and quite a bit of vomiting. The vomiting came out of nowhere. I remember standing in my apartment building waiting for the elevator and all of a sudden I vomited on the floor. I started to see quite a few doctors as I was loosing a lot of weight very fast.
The first GI doctor I saw said it was IBS and that I had Celiac disease. I continued to get sicker. I went to a different GI in the same hospital and she ordered an endoscopy. I had eaten soup the day before at around noon and when they did the scope the next day she found the soup still in my stomach. She scheduled a gastric emptying study. I did the study and while I continued to wait for my results I was getting sicker and sicker. I ended up in the hospital with sepsis because food stayed in my stomach for so long it got formed a bezoar, and caused me to be septic.
Finally I saw a GI who specializes in complicated GI cases and he admitted me immediately and the next day I got an NJ tube. Things started to get much better. About 3 months later after my weight became stable, I had surgery to get a GJ tube. It was a painful surgery but so worth it. My nose and throat had started to hurt so bad from the NJ tube. I had been on tube feeds for about 2 years when I started not being able to tolerate the feeds. I began to lose weight again fast. I saw my GI again and he immediately admitted me again and placed my double lumen hickman line on December 5, 2018. I started TPN on that day.
TPN saved my life and continues to let me do the things I can to feel like a normal person. I try and support other people who are going through similar things on Instagram. My Instagram is @dyingto_eat. I want to provide support to anyone who is going through a hard time and show them love and compassion. None of us deserve to go through this and having a good friend to talk to makes all the difference. I have a few close friends that I have met through the chronic illness community on Instagram and I guarantee that without them I wouldn’t have made it this far. They are an amazing group of friends and I am so thankful for them! Even if I can only help one person my whole chronic illness will have been worth it. I have a lot of love to give and it brings me such happiness to put a smile on someone’s face. WE are WARRIORS!!!