My name is Amy Lucas, I am 26 years old and I have decided to share my story following an illness that left me desperately ill for months; an illness that caused my body to go into multi organ failure and cardiac arrest; an illness that has left me with numerous health conditions forcing me to take 45 tablets daily .
From a social person who enjoyed life as a student in Liverpool, I ended up close to death. In June 2012, I was rushed to A&E with violent sickness and excruciating back pain. Things soon moved to a critical condition and within hours I was moved to the Intensive Care Unit at Morriston hospital. For weeks then on, my time was spent in and out of intensive care unit with doctors unable to identify the cause of the problem. During my fourth week in hospital, I suffered pain like no other; my body then went into cardiac arrest, organ failure, and due to my inability to breathe I was ventilated. Unaware at the time, I had been diagnosed with severe acute necrotising pancreatitis. I had emergency surgery removing 90% of my pancreas resulting in dialysis, central lines, a pancreatic drain and strong antibiotics. From then on I spent six weeks in intensive care followed by weeks on the hospital ward.
By this point, my body had been through hell, I had lost 10 stone and I was fed through a naso-gastric tube. Daily blood tests meant my veins were disappearing and my hair was falling out. Moving my body ever so slightly had become an issue resulting in painful bedsores, and personal care had become impossible to manage. I felt as though my dignity had been removed completely, and for me, as a young woman this very tough to deal with, my confidence was very low. There was one particular day where I had simply had enough; enough of the pain, enough of the suffering, enough of the fear, I had refused anymore medication, I was simply ready to die. I remember the pained look in my mothers eyes who had already lost a son, I could not give up on her.
I have been out of hospital for a few years now, but the recovery process is still very tough, both physically and emotionally. I now suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress, chronic fatigue, asthma and diabetes. I take 45 tablets daily. These conditions in combination makes day to day life very tough, and no matter how hard I try to explain, people never fully understand. There are days where I feel so very alone; days where my mind is consumed by flashbacks of what happened in hospital. There are times when it is difficult to remain positive. What keeps me going is the fact that I am still here to tell the tale. I am a fighter and I will live this life the best that I can.
I want to use this life to help others and to support those who are suffering in a similarly way. I am trying my very best to lead a normal life. I am still not strong enough to work, but I volunteer and this makes me feel that I am making a difference to other peoples life. There was a dedicated team of nurses, health-care workers and physiotherapists that supported me throughout my illness and without their support I would not have been able to remain so positive. To anyone suffering similarly: Keep strong, I know it is hard, lonely and at times you feel like giving up, but just remember you are worth it and together, by talking we can help each other. Time really can be a great healer.