One woman is embroiled in a battle with her body — which is slowly starving itself to death.
Lisa Brown appeared to do everything right in life.
She was a university graduate, a former runway model, happily married and had made a career for herself as a substance abuse counsellor and small business owner.
However, one day Lisa started losing weight. At first, it didn’t bother her too much — she would regain it, right? — but the weight loss didn’t stop.
Within a matter of months, Lisa — who is 5’10” tall — lost over 10 kilograms off her usual 63 kilogram frame.
Now, at the age of 32, she weighs just 40 kilograms.
Lisa hadn’t changed her diet or exercise regime, but she was vomiting and experiencing excruciating pain.
As her body seemingly started to disappear, she had to explain to people that she didn’t have an eating disorder.
“Never in my adult life had I ever been this weight,” she told People. “And every month it got worse and worse.”
The truth was — she had no idea what was wrong with her. But she certainly didn’t expect she was the victim of a potentially fatal condition.
In 2013, Lisa was diagnosed with superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS).
According to People, SMAS describes a pinch in your small intestine — preventing the proper digestion of your food.
One in three people diagnosed with SMAS will die from the disease. It is also extremely rare — with only 400 people diagnosed in the United States.
What’s worse is that, on top of SMAS, Lisa also suffers from gastroparesis — another disease that stops nutrients from being absorbed into the body.
Last year, Lisa was offered some reprieve. She attended a specialist clinic in Cleveland that has dealt with 14 other people with her condition — a whopping number considering the small amount of diagnoses.
Lisa underwent surgery to have a tube inserted into her intestine, allowing some food to enter her system.
However, the temporary treatment still has a long way to go, as her body continues to deteriorate.
This month, she’s heading back to the Cleveland Clinic to explore further options.
Due to the expensive hospital fees, specialist flights, and the nurse required to travel with Lisa, Patrick has started a GoFundMe campaign for his wife.
Related content: ‘She counted every calorie we were eating – and only I knew why.’
In the meantime, Lisa is working to spread awareness of her condition.
In April, she posted a video to YouTube to inform others of her disease. She also participated in a glamorous photoshoot to “help myself accept me as I am and to give others the courage to do the same.”
Lisa told People she remains hopeful, but now takes her life day by day.
“When I look into the future, I know I will never be the same person I was, but I’m okay with that,” she said.
“This experience humbles you.”
Watch the clip below:
Have you ever known someone to suffer from a rare disease?