A woman who suffered more than a decade of pain after having spinal surgery has eaten her first meal in TWO YEARS following a pioneering operation in Germany.
Emma Green, 29, had surgery to correct her S-shaped spine, caused by scoliosis, when she was 15.
Although the operation was a success, Emma suffered a range of health issues, including painful artery compressions.
She was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a condition that affects connective tissue, and was told she was born with it.
The condition caused her scoliosis but the surgery, which was necessary, triggered artery compressions which left her unable to eat.
Artery compressions occur when different parts of the body restrict blood flow through blood vessels.
It can cause thrombosis and hypertension, but in Emma’s case caused constant pain and numbness.
Emma was left unable to eat food for two years because her body rejected even small solids and caused pain, sickness and diarrhoea.
As a result, Emma was forced to drink a hospital drink called Elemental Extra and her weight plummeted to just seven-and-a-half stone last year.
But she has now enjoyed her first meal in two years – a bowl of Kelloggs Rice Krispies – after having surgery in Germany last month.
Doctors at Lutheran Hospital in Mettmann, near Dusseldorf, carried out a midline laparotomy, which involved decompressing the celiac arteries by making a large incision through the abdomen to relieve pressure on the blood vessels.
The £25,000 operation, which is not available on the NHS, was carried out on April 5 and took seven-and-a-half hours.
And just six days after the operation, Emma enjoyed her first full meal since 2015 – a bowl of soggy cereal.
“My first experience of eating was still quite painful but they gave me a bowl of soggy Rice Krispies.
“I had to leave them to soak through for about half-an-hour before I could actually swallow them but it was still the best meal I’d had in two years.
“My tastes before the operation were completely off but after the surgery I could enjoy food again. I can’t wait to try more foods and enjoy eating.
“The last few years have been incredibly difficult but I have hope again.
“The condition made me faint constantly and I was struggling to absorb anything.
“When I ate food I didn’t get any nutrients from it.
“Each year got worse and I could do was try and deal with it the best I could.
“I only found out I had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome in 2015.
“Over the years I have had to constantly change my diet as I would find some food my body could digest but it would only tolerate it for so long.
“I was not able to eat any solid food, even liquid food would go straight through me.”
Before her operation in Germany, Emma had been hospitalised so many times over the years that A&E staff even thought she had an eating disorder.
She added: “It’s greatly affected my life as I’ve been constantly on-and-off ill and, for the past 14 years, in and out of hospital.
“In the past two years, I’ve had vein pain in left leg, groin and pelvis which eventually stopped me from walking and needing a wheelchair.
“I spent most of the last year-and-a-half in bed.
“I was getting desperate as I didn’t want to be tube fed or liquid fed for the rest of my life and I was losing weight on my hospital drinks.
“They said they could tube-feed me because I feared I would get infections.
“I felt full and starving at the same time, it was so weird.
“I wasn’t able to taste flavours properly for ages.
“I now can absorb foods and have normal bowel movements, as my intestines now get enough blood supply.
“I now feel like I can actually breathe more, as all I’d ever know before was a faint feeling ever since my spinal surgery.
“I can actually sing more notes now and I can use my diaphragm better.
“Surgeons have told me it will take up to a year to fully recover but I’m already enjoying my new second chance at life.
“I want to raise awareness of these conditions – how you can have more than one and it can be caused by corrective scoliosis surgery but other people can get these due to accidents in child birth or other types of surgery.
“It is not the NHS’s fault but there needs to be more research done into artery compressions.
“If I can help people so they don’t have to go through what I have, I’ll feel very happy.
“I have a second chance now.”