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A professional model and dancer has today told how it took doctors seven years to diagnose her with Crohn's disease.
Natalie-Amber Freegard, of Swindon, began suffering symptoms of the agonising digestive condition when she was 17.
Doctors - Stomach - Pains - Weight - Loss
Doctors repeatedly dismissed her stomach pains and extreme weight loss, which saw her plummet to just five stone, as anorexia.
It was only when her life was hanging in the balance and she was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery that surgeons revealed she had Crohn's.
Miss - Freegard - Ambulance - Home - Sight
Miss Freegard, now 27, was just 'hours away from dying' when she was taken in an ambulance, after collapsing at home and temporarily losing her sight.
Doctors found she had sepsis, when the body attacks its own organs in response to an infection. She believes it was responsible for her sight problem.
Miss - Freegard - Operation - Family - Stoma
Miss Freegard pulled through the operation, despite her family being told to prepare for the worst. However, she was left with a stoma bag.
Recalling her ordeal in December 2017, Miss Freegard said: 'The whole experience was terrifying. I was told I had developed sepsis and my kidneys were failing.
'Doctors - Hours - Consent - Emergency - Operation
'Doctors warned me that I was just hours away from dying if I didn’t consent to an emergency operation to save my life.'
Miss Freegard added: 'For seven years my condition went undiagnosed.' Crohn's can weaken the immune system and make a sufferer more susceptible to infection.
Miss - Freegard - Trainer - Strength - Modelling
Miss Freegard has now began working with a personal trainer to regain her strength, so she can return to dancing and modelling.
Miss Freegard suffered from agonising stomach pain since she was 17, revealing how sometimes it caused her to vomit.
'The - Pain - Fragile
She said: 'The pain became so intense that it often caused me to vomit. I felt so weak and fragile.'
'I made countless visits to the doctors where I was initially told I may have severe IBS...
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