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Barrett’s Oesophagus sufferer seeks support
5:20pm Sunday 10th March 2013 in News
MUM Maria Stevens is appealing for Swindon people who suffer with the same condition as she has to get in touch to prevent her from feeling so alone.
Maria, 43, of Park South, was diagnosed with Barrett’s Oesophagus two years ago but despite it affecting one in every 30,000 people she has yet to find anybody in the town with the same condition.
She and her partner Andrew Halliday are now appealing for anybody in the same position to get in touch so they can support one another.
Andrew said: “The condition affects Maria on a daily basis and it is horrible to see her in pain – we have looked online and we have found support forums for people in Salisbury and Bristol, but nothing in Swindon. “She would love to be put in touch with people who might understand what she is going through, it is hard to try to explain the pain to somebody who hasn’t been through it.”
Barrett’s Oesophagus means that the cells that line the lower oesophagus are abnormal. The main cause is long-standing reflux of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus.
People with the condition have an increased risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus. The risk is small, but sufferers will have regular edoscopies to detect precancerous changes to the cells.
Andrew said: “It basically means that the lining of the throat becomes lined with the same material as your stomach, so everything you eat and drink can really hurt, you have to be careful what you take in.
“Maria had suffered with chronic indigestion for many years but it wasn’t until the doctor sent her for an endoscopy that she was diagnosed with Barrett’s Oesophagus.
“We had never heard of it then, we didn’t know anything about it which was quite scary.
“It can be very frightening because she almost feels like she is choking when she eats at times, and if she is ever physically sick she risks tearing the weak lining in her throat. “It is a scary condition to have and having someone else to talk to that may understand would be really good for Maria.
“She could eat a big greasy fry up one day and be absolutely fine, then she could eat a banana and suffer all sorts of problems, you just never know what will happen so she won’t ever eat out at a restaurant or anything in case something happens.
“Whenever she goes for an endoscopy, we always see lots of people in there having the same procedure, so at least one of them must be suffering with the same condition. We’d love to be put in touch with them.”
Anyone who is suffering with Barrett’s Oesophagus can contact Maria on 01793 530554.