Seaford nurse living in ‘constant pain’ due to abdominal adhesions dreams of walking her dog again

A Seaford nurse living in ‘constant pain’ after complications from an appendectomy left her insides ‘stuck together’ is raising funds for a specialist wheelchair that would give her back some independence.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 11:18 am
Emma with her beloved dog Dexter

Emma Ward, from Seaford has gone from being a busy community nurse who was always out roaming the countryside with her dog Dexter, to being barely able to move or leave the house.

The 41-year-old mother-of-three had initially recovered well after a routine operation to remove her appendix ten years ago.

But after two years, she experienced severe abdominal pain and was found to have adhesions in her abdomen – bands of scar-like tissue which can cause organs to stick together.

Emma in hospital

They were removed, but over the next few years she needed more and more surgery for further adhesions.

When she returned to hospital again in December 2020 in the ‘most horrendous pain’, doctors refused to operate, as removing the adhesions was only making them grow back worse.

“I was so upset and angry, I didn’t know what they were going to do, didn’t know how I was going to get better,” Emma said.

Since then, Emma has been stuck at home ‘constant pain’.

Emma has had to give up her dream job as a community nurse

She can no longer walk or sit up for longer than 10 minutes and, unable to eat, she has to be slowly fed via a tube in her stomach for 20 hours a day.

Emma has had to give up her dream job as a nurse, which she worked so hard to get, and her family – including her fiance Kevin Elliott – have become her carers.

“It is a very frustrating situation to be in as there is no cure for adhesions, there is no way for me to get back to my old “normal”,” she said.

Emma described her insides as being ‘stuck together like cement’.

Emma and Kevin

“Scar tissue can form on any part of the body that’s been operated on and it’s normal.

“What’s not normal is for scar tissue to continue to grow, it becomes like a very sticky spider web where everything sticks,” she said.

“It is not flexible so every time my bowel moves the adhesions are pulled.”

While she has been given a wheelchair by the NHS, Emma is now fundraising for a specialist chair which would hold her in a position where she could be pain-free.

Emma and Dexter

Her dream is to be able to walk her beloved cocker spaniel Dexter out in the fields again.

“It would mean I would be able to go back out with my dog,” she said. “I could go out into the countryside which is where I’m happiest.”

Raising enough money for the wheelchair would ‘just mean the world’, she said.

“I just want to get outside and be me. I’ve lost part of me. It’s heartbreaking, it really is.”

Her fiance Kevin said of Emma: “She’s the strongest woman I’ve ever met in my life.

“To watch it all taken away from her, with her own body doing it to her, is just soul-destroying.

“It really feels like our whole life has been stolen.”