Me. Intestinal failure and POTs.

In this next post I’m going to talk about all my medical stuff, in the hope of finding someone, somewhere with the same thing. I’m also sharing this online because I don’t feel like I have anything to hide. I’ve felt almost ashamed or like I’d be judged because of how different my life has become. I’m still the same girl, always with her head stuck in a book, who loves LUSH products, shopping, poetry, notebooks. The same girl who loves to sing along to music that’s too loud and who never leaves the house without makeup.

I have spent hours reading through blogs online trying to find someone I could connect with – a blog that isn’t complaining but explaining how they live with conditions. Those of you who know me personally know that I am very practical and task orientated and I’m looking for someone to discuss these practicalities with.

I was born with a rare neurological disorder (a glitch in my brain basically) which means now I have “degenerative pan gut dysmotility” or total degenerative intestinal failure. I was born completely normal, except for gastric reflux which worsened as I grew older. In January 2015 my vomiting became so bad that I was admitted to hospital for six months. After numerous tests this diagnosis was made.

Nothing from my stomach down gastro wise works very well at all. I can’t eat or drink, and rely on a jejunostomy tube (a feeding tube straight into my bowel). My medications have to be delivered by a syringe driver at 1ml a minute otherwise I can be very sick. My stomach drains through a port on my tube to help stop me be sick (although this isn’t working at the moment so I pass a nasogastric tube NG tube down my nose and into my stomach every night).

The bit that I’m scared to talk about online (my bowel) has been causing me huge problems over the last few months. I am on a large amount of laxatives and have to do bowel care every day. I don’t understand why the bowel is seen as something that no one can talk about – it is as natural as the blood flowing through your veins and the air we breathe. Everyone has to use it in order to live. My bowel causes me tremendous pain – especially at night while on feed (my source of calories). When I go on my feed I am forced to be in bed due to its ill effects on me.

I also have something called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). This is a huge factor in my life – and another reason I stay in bed while on feed. POTS means I am extremely dizzy and am prone to fainting. A POTS attack consists of a really fast pulse, much higher than your normal pulse, and very low blood pressure. This happens to me because so much of my blood is redirected to my bowel trying to digest the calories and water that it struggles with. Personally, I go very pale and start talking absolute rubbish because I feel light headed. POTS attacks can happen to me any time and are extremely embarrassing.

I have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, but not chronic fatigue syndrome. It is a result of everything that happens to me in a day, and the tiredness related to that. I use a wheelchair and really struggle to walk any distance because of this fatigue, my POTS and my pain.

I guess I’ve written this because I’m not scared anymore. People can know. I have wonderful friends and family that help me so much more than you will ever know. I’m not going to sugar coat it – these conditions can leave me miserable and they are degenerative. However, with amazing people surrounding me I know I have so much love and support.

The main reason I’ve written this is to hopefully find someone else to talk to. So if you’re reading this and you have this condition it would mean a lot for me to speak to you.

Hollie McNish and overlays

I’ve been away from here for a few weeks. It has been life stuff. Sorry to be so illusive but the “stuff” isn’t my personal “stuff” to share.

I went to poem and a pint in Ulverston a few weeks ago and saw Hollie McNish – one of my favourite poets ever. I always think her poems have such a well thought out opinion and strength to them. They made me rethink the commercialisation of motherhood, something I didn’t even think was a thing.

I also read some poetry during the open mic. It was very strange to be reading on the same stage as Hollie!


I’m launching a little poetry club at school tomorrow. We are going to be looking at two poems. The first “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins is one of my favourites. I love studying poetry, but I hate the overstudying of poetry for people just getting to know it. I personally feel that’s what put me off at GCSE. Now that I love poetry I can pull a poem to bits and restitch it again, in fact I love doing it – but at the start this is so hard!

The second poem was recommended by the Poetry Society on the theme of “messages”. It’s “This is just to say” by William Carlos Williams.
It’s going to be National poetry day on Thursday (6th October) – and guess where I’ll be? Stuck in a hospital clinic! Gutted!

In other Hannah related news I have started using coloured overlays while reading. I have something called asfedia (more commonly known as Irlen Syndrome) – where words jump out and lines wiggled on the page. I just assumed that it was happening because I was tired – something as simple as a purple sheet has revolutionised everything! I’ve definitely got a few books to chomp my way through now.

My favourite poem at the moment is The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop. I discovered it at Dove Cottage Young Poets and it has stuck in my brain – a rare thing these days. It is the imagery that does it for me. The feathered fish, the wallpaper skin with damp coming through. I love it! It reminds me of my grandad down at his pond and the endless photos of fish I’m supposed to know the breed of.

I’ve got a couple of things coming up over the next few weeks. See you soon!