When Esther Newton started to notice she was getting slimmer, she figured it was thanks to her getting more exercise and cutting out sugary and fatty foods.
But then the pounds wouldn’t stop falling off of her, and her family started to grow worried.
Esther, 51, started to worry too when her rings began slipping off her fingers, and her daughter, Charlotte, 21, said she was ‘wasting away.’
In the space of one year, the teacher and mum-of-one went from weighing 10st 7lbs to 7st 4lbs – even though she’d stopped dieting altogether by then.
‘I thought that the life was being sucked out of me at one point, as I couldn’t do the things I loved,’ Esther, from Nottinghamshire, said.
‘I was a shell of myself and I didn’t know how much more I could take.
‘My family were so worried about what was going on, and I do always like to keep going, even on my darkest days.
‘My daughter’s comments were a bit of a sting, but I knew that if she noticed something wasn’t right, then I needed to be concerned.
‘I had realised I wasn’t well, but I was trying to ignore it.’
Esther went to a doctor with her concerns in July 2021 and was told that she could have ovarian cancer in March 2022.
As a result, Esther had her ovaries removed.
She said: ‘I don’t think I took it in, as it happened so quickly.
‘It was too much to take in, I felt numb and I just wanted a straight answer.
‘Part of me felt like it would be awful to have cancer, but at least I would know what was wrong.’
But in May 2022, Esther got the news that she did not have cancer.
Meanwhile, her symptoms, such as cracked lips, loss of appetite and straw-like hair, continued to get harder and harder for her to deal with.
In September 2022, Esther was finally given the correct diagnosis by a gastroenterologist – exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which is a rare condition that impedes digestive functions.
She’s since been able to go on medication to help with the dreadful side effects of her condition, and she’s been able to not just enjoy food once more, but also slowly begin putting on weight again.
Esther said: ‘It was so good to know what was wrong with me after years of suffering.
‘I feel so lucky, as had it been anything else, it would have been far more serious.
‘It’s a pain that there’s no cure, but if [taking medication] means I’ll feel better and have more energy, then it’ll all be worth it.
‘It’s really important to keep looking for answers until you find it. I had never heard of my condition, so many of us aren’t aware of what’s truly wrong with us.
‘Now, I’m gradually getting back to my old self, and I’m finally starting to have a new lease of life.’
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