Day 3 - Dare to Dream

"Sometimes I need to pinch myself to confirm that it is all true"

Hi, my name is Bethia and I am 25. I consider myself to be pretty normal, although anyone who has seen me dancing around the kitchen singing would probably disagree.

This year has been truly amazing, sometimes I need to pinch myself to confirm that it is all true. To list just a few of the things that have me up on cloud nine: I lived in the French Alps for a month (skiing, doing work experience and generally revelling in my freedom and the fresh air), I moved in with my boyfriend (and am still enjoying shouting “honey I’m home” in different accents whenever I open the front door – luckily he is just as silly as me), and after what has felt like a bit of an eternity can finally (and very proudly say) that I have graduated from medical school!

All of these things are massive, but to me they feel even more special as a few years ago I couldn’t have even dreamt of such a fantastic life.

When I was 21 I was very unwell and in hospital for a long time. Because of what happened I was left with short bowel syndrome and have been reliant on parenteral nutrition 7 nights a week since.

I have definitely had difficult times; feeling anxious about various aspects of PN (of which there are an infinite amount, if I ruminate on it) and having the occasional laps in self-confidence.

It has taken me a while to get into the rhythm of life with parenteral nutrition (calculating what time I need to be home, so I’ll be on time the following morning, etc.) But gradually PN has almost become habitual, like brushing my teeth (but with a lot more concentration!).

Being on artificial nutrition means that everything requires a little extra thought and planning, but for every effort that I put in I seem to get back 1000 times its worth in interest.

I have been lucky enough to have had excellent medical care, without which there is no way that I would be where I am today. But once I had left the hospital setting and tried to get back into life, it soon became clear that although health care professionals gave me the gift of survival, it was now down to me to re-form my life with artificial nutrition by my side.

My experiences with illness, and the long (sometimes faltering) climb back into a full life, have motivated me to write an information booklet about LIVING with artificial nutrition, discussing the emotional, practical and sometimes taboo topics that it brings with it.

I want to thank PINNT for supporting me in writing this booklet, and for making its production and distribution possible.


HAN Week