This 32-year-old woman, from Wisconsin, USA, has a rare disorder that would not allow her to eat solid foods without experiencing severe pain, nausea and vomiting.
Lisa was diagnosed with Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome (SMAS) way back 2013. SMAS is a gastrovascular disorder that causes a pinching of her intestines making it hard to keep solid food down. She is one of only 400 documented cases worldwide, which has a mortality rate of one in three.
Lisa’s diagnosis came after visiting three different hospitals and going through different CT scans.
The once bubbly human services worker and model is now a shadow of her former self and her skeletal appearance has attracted criticism from people who think she has a dreadful eating disorder.
Lisa saw her weight drop by 30 per cent from a healthy 140lbs to just 89lbs in just almost two years.
I was vibrant, social, healthy and spirited and now I’m in constant pain, I rely on others and I’m confined to my home most days. I wasn’t noticing the weight loss at first, just that suddenly I wouldn’t be able to eat as much as I used to. Then looking at the scale when I started dropping the pounds I almost fell over I was so shocked – that’s when I knew we need to find a solution – I was scared for my life.”
The pain is chronic, it feels like there are two metal fists grabbing as tight as possible and twisting my intestines. This disease has taken everything from me- time spent with family used to be recreational and fun – the more ill I became with SMAS the more those things came to a halt and it transformed into a caretaker role.”
The diagnosis for SMAS often comes too late due to lack of proper medical resources and misdiagnosis.
Despite multiple surgeries to correct her digestive system, everything has proved unsuccessful and Lisa’s future remains in doubt.
One out of three people with SMAS die and I want to educate not only the general public but medical practitioners as well. Be your own advocate – I can’t stress it enough, everybody has a story no matter who you are. Never judge anybody because behind that smile might be a thousand tears and a story like you wouldn’t believe,” she said.