Leah Smith, 40, saw her world turned upside down after suffering from stroke-like symptoms in 2017. The north Wales mother of five had tests and MRIs to find the cause of her symptoms
Image: family handout)
A mother has been in bed for five years after suffering from stroke-like symptoms “out of the blue”.
Leah Smith, 40, has to lie flat and often has seizures and numbness of the body.
The north Wales mother of five underwent tests and MRIs to find the cause of her symptoms after her first episode in 2017.
Mama Debbie, 62, was sitting next to Leah when she first got worse.
“It was like an altered consciousness, I could see that she wasn’t herself,” she told the Echo.
“She looked a little empty, she could speak, but I saw that she wasn’t quite with us, so I called an ambulance.”
In the weeks that followed, Leah felt numbness in her legs and underwent a lumbar puncture to check for multiple sclerosis (MS).
Doctors later found that the lumbar puncture had caused CSF loss.
Although she tried to correct the problem, which provided Leah with temporary pain relief and allowed her to sit up straight for an hour, they ultimately proved unsuccessful.
She has since been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) – a group of rare hereditary diseases that affect connective tissue – and arachnoiditis.
The pain disorder is caused by inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the nerves in the spinal cord, causing chronic pain and neurological problems.
For the past five years Leah has only left home to attend hospital appointments, and this is done with the utmost effort and with the help of a reclining wheelchair.
Debbie said, “She has a recumbent wheelchair that she can’t even use right now because she’s in so much pain all over the place. will get stronger.
“Your muscles and everything are getting worse,” said Debbie.
“It’s gotten exponentially over the past 12 months. It’s getting weaker and weaker and in more pain.”
Since her diagnosis, Leah’s family has struggled to get her the help she needs, but fear that time is running out.
She needs several life-saving surgeries that Debbie said can only be done through private healthcare.
However, specialists in Germany and England may be able to help her.
She is now looked after around the clock, including by nurses, specialists and hospital interventions.
A Gofundme page was set up with the aim of raising enough money for Leah’s use and special transport.
Debbie said, “It is devastating that you are in this state and have struggled as much as we have struggled to find out the reasons for what is going on.
“And to try and struggle to get help, to find out that help is only available with specialists who you have to pay for.”