A British woman claims doctors ignored her symptoms — which included vomiting blood and losing chunks of hair — until eventually she received a terrifying diagnosis.
Jessica Booth said she knew something wasn’t right when her persistent headaches and nausea began last year.
But she says she was dismissed by doctors who told the 20-year-old there was “nothing wrong.” Nevertheless, she lost nearly 30 pounds in just three weeks while vomiting blood and experiencing rectal bleeding, she noted.
“I also had a feeling of needing the toilet urgently,” she told Jam Press. “In May 2022, I was on my way to work, and I had to turn back — and I’ve not been to work since.”
“From the start of my first symptoms, it progressively got worse, and I started to notice more and more symptoms as the days went by,” Booth added.
She said she even missed a long-awaited trip to Disneyland. Her partner, Owen, 23, was left to care for her and wash her hair.
Meanwhile, she struggled to find answers.
“It fell on deaf ears because my blood [tests] kept coming back clear. I was never offered any scans,” she said of her care. “I kept on suffering day after day, not being able to wash my own hair. I was missing out on life.”
With nowhere else to turn, she says she begged for a colonoscopy and was eventually diagnosed with Meckel’s diverticulum last month.
The condition — which is often diagnosed in childhood — occurs when the leftover umbilical cord creates a bulge in the small intestine, sometimes resulting in pain or gastrointestinal bleeding. Only 2% to 3% of people have the abnormality, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and symptoms are rare.
The anomaly is typically treated with surgery, which Booth says she will undergo.
She claims she was housebound for six months because of her condition, saying she doesn’t “enjoy the things” she once did. She can’t exercise or go on walks with her family and dogs, she said.
Not only is the illness physically exhausting, she emphasized, but it’s also taken a toll on her mental and emotional health.
“I used to have so much confidence — I would normally be the life and soul of any party,” she said. “Meckel’s diverticulum has completely changed my life.”
“I have become so used to being in the house … that I am scared to leave the house,” she confessed.
While the diagnosis gave her a sigh of relief, she is now anxiously awaiting the procedure to rid her of the debilitating symptoms. She says she is starting to feel better as she manages the pain by eating well.
“I’m worried about the surgery but also excited — I will accept any kind of treatment to make me better,” she said. “After the surgery I am most looking forward to having my life back again and to be able to enjoy the things I used to enjoy.”
She’s urging anyone with symptoms like hers to seek medical attention and advocate for themselves.
“Anybody experiencing these symptoms, please make sure to see your [general practitioner],” she said. “You know your own body, and if you feel something isn’t right, push for tests, and never let anybody tell you there’s nothing they can do.”