Woman misdiagnosed with anorexia now has 'last chance of life'

A dangerously ill woman who is ‘starving to death’ is hoping to get ‘one last chance of life’.

Due to a rare condition, Nicolette Baker, 36, has shrunk in weight to just three stone and is currently receiving palliative care after the NHS said there was nothing more they could do.

She has suffered from Superior Mesenteric Arterial syndromes (SMAS) since birth but was only diagnosed after being wrongly told she was anorexic for most of her life.

The misdiagnosis has seen her sectioned on multiple occasions, and given wrong and ‘traumatic’ treatment throughout her life.

Now, she has been given one last hope after being made aware of potentially life-saving treatment costing £50k in Germany.

Without this treatment her body will become weaker and more organs will be starved of blood supply.

The German clinic specialises in severe vascular compressions and agreed to perform the surgery this month if she could fund the cost.

The community has rallied around her and now successfully raised £90k through a Go Fund Me page that will also cover accommodation, flights and insurances, to make the trip a reality.

Nicolette, of Truro, Cornwall, said: ‘I am trying to keep the dream alive. The result of the surgery is not guaranteed but this is my last chance to reclaim my quality of life.’

She wrote on the page: ‘This surgery costs well over £50,000 and does not include my accommodation, my flights, travel and medical insurance, Covid tests and a medical chaperone accompanying me to surgery.

‘I will need to spend six weeks in Germany and due to my severely emaciated state of health I will need to take taxis and rely on extra support for luggage and transportation.

‘But from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for reading this. Anything you can donate to this cause would be so gratefully received.’

She added: ‘I don’t know if I’ll make it until the surgery date but I’m living for each day and the hope that I can get better is giving me something to look forward to.

‘I am absolutely indebted to you, every one of you. Everyone who has donated in any way – monetarily, by sharing, by trusting or by connecting. I thank you all.

‘So many of you are keen for me to keep you informed on my journey, by which I’m most humbled and it is the very least I can do.

‘I will be turning off donations in due course, with my eternal gratitude for every one of them, and will keep you posted on my rainbow coloured journey of which you are all such a magical part.’

The condition refers to vascular compression in the small intestine, after experiencing pain when eating and drinking.

Given how painful it is, sufferers can begin to fear eating and one-third of people die of malnutrition.

Nicolette said she was treated as a mental health patient for 25 years and told she had an eating disorder – the syndrome is so rare with an incidence rate of just 0.013%, so it’s not commonly known among UK medical professionals.

She felt ‘completely humiliated’ during those years until her diagnosis in 2015, but says she holds no grudges.

She added: ‘I am still deeply grateful for all the NHS treatment I received throughout the decades of my dismissed symptoms and it is merely due to its rarity that the medics gave me the diagnosis they thought fitted with my presenting symptoms.

‘I truly believe that they did what they believed was right and I have only respect and gratitude for that despite it leading me to where I am now.

‘I do believe they were motivated wholeheartedly to do the best for me and I have no regrets for my past medical experiences and traumas.

‘I didn’t have anorexia because I wanted to be thin. I simply didn’t want to eat because of the pain it caused me.’

A friend of Nicolette said: ‘When we go to the doctors, we assume that they will know what to do. It’s uncharted territory when they don’t.

‘I think if medics can’t find something wrong, they can sometimes be quick to label someone or say it’s psychosomatic but that can be very damaging to the patient. It can really knock their confidence.

‘Nicolette is very exhausted but she is tenacious, determined and strong. It’s outstanding considering her circumstances.

‘This really is her last chance.’

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