Up until the age of 14, Keera Pittorino had a life like any other teenage girl. And then it all changed, literally overnight.
Keera suddenly felt excruciating pain in her digestive system one day, and then the pain just never went away.
After years of meeting with doctors to try and figure out what was causing it, she was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of intestinal malrotation in March of last year.
“It’s something that happens when you’re forming in the first trimester of pregnancy,” she explains to Mamamia.
“In a normal person, their organs will twist and rotate into the right position, but for some reason, in some people, it just doesn’t twist, or it starts moving and then stops.”
Normally, the condition presents itself not long after birth, but Keera, now 16, didn’t even show any symptoms of having it for the first 14 years of her life.
“For pretty much the majority of my life, I was actually pretty normal. I was healthy and active, until I was 14. That’s when I started experiencing symptoms,” she says.
Doctors are still unsure as to why it took so long for Keera to show any signs of the condition.
"Most people have symptoms at birth or early life, so they can't explain why it happened overnight," she says.
"They think it could have been triggered by a growth spurt. Some people go through puberty and they're okay, but that's what they think the main reason for me was."
According to Keera's mum, Maria, even after she displayed the symptoms, it wasn't easy getting answers.
"It was frustrating, because the doctors kept saying, 'Nothing's wrong,' and all of her tests were coming back clear and normal," she adds.