‘I woke up in agony and was told to go straight to hospital and lost four stone’

On the morning of December 14 2022, Molly Gardner from Edge Hill, Lancashire, sought medical advice from her doctor.

Concerned about Molly’s pain, right beneath her breastbone, fearing it could be gallstones, the doctor told her to go straight to hospital.

Molly joked to the doctor: “I’m not going to be missing my birthday.”

Turning 51 the following week, her stint at hospital was meant to be no longer than two days, but she up spending her birthday on a ward.

Suffering from an adverse reaction to painkiller, Moly recalled: “All of a sudden the room just started spinning.

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“I was shouting for the doctor. And then the last thing I hear is, we need to get her down to ICU [intensive care unit].”

Hooked up to a CPAP machine to enable oxygen to flow more freely to her lungs, for the next six days, Molly would sleep for up to 16 hours a day.

“I had to have a food tube through my nose,” Molly said. “Every time I looked at food, I was being sick. I just couldn’t face any food.”

Bedridden and nauseous, Molly lost four stone during her two-month stay in hospital.

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Medics finally got to the bottom of Molly’s ill turn, which turned out to be acute pancreatitis.

Acute pancreatitis

The NHS explains: “Acute pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed (swollen) over a short period of time.

“Some people with severe acute pancreatitis can go on to develop serious complications.”

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis may include:

  • Suddenly getting severe pain in the centre of your tummy (abdomen)
  • Feeling or being sick
  • A high temperature of 38C or more (fever).

While Molly had surgery to have her gallbladder removed, she fell into a negative headspace.

“I had that stage where everything was negative for me. I sort of couldn’t get out of it,” Molly shared.

Yet, the emotional support of her sisters and friend, Anabelle, was invaluable.

Now Molly is taking a bike ride to raise awareness about acute pancreatitis on behalf of the charity Guts UK.

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