Let me explain my story, and my passion for human development and the power of strength, health, and fitness.
I started my personal training business in 2003. It grew fast and I got people working with me as I built my brand. However, I started going in and out of hospital regularly with days of severe bowel pain, vomiting, nausea and progressive tiredness, which incidentally I have had all my life but the symptoms were getting worse and occurring more regularly. No one seemed to help or believe me but I knew intuitively something was catastrophically wrong with me.
Fit, strong and driven with a rare illness
I kept things going while having multiple hospital admissions but at the end of 2007 I had major bowel surgery due to being finally diagnosed with intestinal malrotation, which was causing a section of my large bowel to intermittently twist (the medical term is volvulus). Fortunately for me, up until this point it could untwist itself. If the bowel doesn’t untwist, you can die very quickly. Malrotation is a congenital anomaly of the bowel affecting 1 in 6,000 live births, however this is an estimate, and it’s not considered to be found in an adult by the medical field. For an unknown reason the bowel doesn’t form in the right place during foetal development, making the bowel prone to volvulus which can kill the baby, or the baby needs emergency surgery when born.
However, after my surgery I kept getting severe bowel obstructions and had to gradually eat minimal food to reduce my hospital admissions. No one understood or could stop the bowel obstructions and in 2009 I was eventually transferred to St. Mark’s Hospital, an internationally renowned bowel specialist hospital in London where I was referred to the head psychiatrist by the gastroenterologist there, after a stay in the hospital. The psychiatrist said it was his job to find out what trauma I had been through that was causing my symptoms, and I said it was my job to find out what other physical issues I had that were not yet diagnosed. For a year we were at logger heads and he told me that unless I stayed out of hospital he would see me as an inpatient in the psychiatric ward. I had no one on my side yet again and the more frustrated I got the more I was told I had psychological problems.
I was developed a chronically fatigued state, sleeping 18 hours a day. I got in touch with the President of the British Society of Gastroenterology and asked for help. I was recommended to see the wonderful Professor Forbes at University College London Hospital, who diagnosed me with a significantly underactive thyroid and chronic intestinal pseudo obstruction. To stay out of hospital I had to make the decision to eventually stop eating altogether. I’ve had to live off medical liquid drinks and orange juice since 2012. Between 2008 and 2014 I had 55 bowel obstructions.