Home News Beauty queen, 26, dropped to 6st after battling an invisible illness

Beauty queen, 26, dropped to 6st after battling an invisible illness


A beauty queen who dropped to just six stone as she battled an invisible illness says she feels prettier than ever with a life-saving feeding tube.

Christine Constantine, 26, of Old Swan, Liverpool, initially thought she was suffering with food poisoning when she first fell ill with life-long condition gastroparesis, which stops her stomach from processing food properly.

The 5ft 4in blonde bombshell was plagued with daily vomiting, fatigue and nausea for how many years as doctors struggled to diagnose her – falling to just 6st 5lbs in September 2018.

Alongside the physical toll the invisible illness was having on her body, Christine’s confidence crashed as she faced taunts from online trolls and even strangers in the street who accused her of being anorexic.

Christine Constantine, 26, from Liverpool, dropped to 6st due to an invisible illness. Pictured, Christine was in and out of hospital for six years searching for answers until doctors diagnosed her with gastroparesis last August

Christine Constantine, 26, from Liverpool, dropped to 6st due to an invisible illness. Pictured, Christine was in and out of hospital for six years searching for answers until doctors diagnosed her with gastroparesis last August

The 26-year-old (pictured, now) says she feels prettier than ever with a life-saving feeding tube

The 26-year-old (pictured, now) says she feels prettier than ever with a life-saving feeding tube

The 5ft 4in blonde bombshell was plagued with daily vomiting, fatigue and nausea for how many years as doctors struggled to diagnose her - falling to just 6st 5lbs in September 2018. Pictured, Christine now

The 5ft 4in blonde bombshell was plagued with daily vomiting, fatigue and nausea for how many years as doctors struggled to diagnose her – falling to just 6st 5lbs in September 2018. Pictured, Christine now

But after being diagnosed and fitted with a life-saving feeding tube in February last year, the passionate charity worker says she feels prettier than ever and has even entered the running to become the next Miss England.

‘Before I got sick I was into ice-skating, dancing, I was really active and healthy,’ said Christine. ‘But after years of vomiting I was so skeletal I was wearing baggy clothes just to hide my figure.

‘I was telling people that I don’t want to be here anymore. My feeding tube has given me a new lease of life.

‘It took me a while to adjust to it but I realised it had saved me and it hasn’t stopped me from living a normal life.

Christine (pictured, in hospital) has now been fitted with a permanent feeding tube straight to her bowel

Christine (pictured, in hospital) has now been fitted with a permanent feeding tube straight to her bowel

Christine shows the amount of liquid nutrition she has to take just to keep herself alive (pictured)

Christine shows the amount of liquid nutrition she has to take just to keep herself alive (pictured) 

‘I feel better than ever, I feel prettier and just more confident in myself and I have accepted this is who I am.’

The first time Christine fell ill seven years ago, she believed it was food poisoning from a restaurant, but as the sickness episodes persisted and became more common, it was clear something more concerning was at play.

WHAT IS GASTROPARESIS?

Gastroparesis is a long-term (chronic) condition where the stomach cannot empty in the normal way. Food passes through the stomach slower than usual.

It’s thought to be the result of a problem with the nerves and muscles that control how the stomach empties.

If these nerves are damaged, the muscles of your stomach may not work properly and the movement of food can slow down.

Symptoms of gastroparesis

Symptoms of gastroparesis may include:

feeling full very quickly when eating, feeling sick (nausea) and vomiting, loss f appetite, weight loss, bloating, tummy (abdominal) pain or discomfort, heartburn.

Source: NHS 

Mystified by her confusing symptoms which were similar indications of many other chronic illnesses, the vomiting became so severe that she was unable to retain any nutrition and doctors decided to fit her with a feeding tube in February last year.

Finally after years of tests, endoscopies, blood work and medical examinations, experts realised that she had gastroparesis in August 2019.

She continued: ‘I got sick after we’d gone for a family meal and I thought it was just food poisoning but it went on for days.

Christine was a healthy active girl before she fell unwell at 19 (pictured). Alongside the physical toll the invisible illness was having on her body, her confidence crashed as she faced taunts from online trolls and even strangers in the street who accused her of being anorexic

Christine was a healthy active girl before she fell unwell at 19 (pictured). Alongside the physical toll the invisible illness was having on her body, her confidence crashed as she faced taunts from online trolls and even strangers in the street who accused her of being anorexic

Christine's weight fell to just six stone through daily vomiting thanks to a crippling chronic illness (pictured)

Christine’s weight fell to just six stone through daily vomiting thanks to a crippling chronic illness (pictured)

Christine's weight fell to just six stone before she was fitted with a life saving tube to inject nutrients straight into her body (pictured)

Christine’s weight fell to just six stone before she was fitted with a life saving tube to inject nutrients straight into her body (pictured)

Christine initially thought she was suffering with food poisoning when she first fell ill with life-long condition gastroparesis, which stops her stomach from processing food properly. Pictured, after being fitted with a permanent feeding tube

Christine initially thought she was suffering with food poisoning when she first fell ill with life-long condition gastroparesis, which stops her stomach from processing food properly. Pictured, after being fitted with a permanent feeding tube

Christine with boyfriend Ryan after getting engaged. Pictured, showing their engagement rings

Christine with boyfriend Ryan after getting engaged. Pictured, showing their engagement rings

In just two years, Christine (pictured, now) has soared back to a healthy weight of 7st 12lbs and has a new lease of life in her confidence

In just two years, Christine (pictured, now) has soared back to a healthy weight of 7st 12lbs and has a new lease of life in her confidence

‘I couldn’t eat or drink, but then it turned into more frequent episodes of vomiting. I would be so physically exhausted that I couldn’t get out of bed.

‘People just looked at me and thought I had an eating disorder. I had a group of girls come up to me one night out and tell me I needed a McDonald’s. 

‘It was humiliating and my confidence was through the floor, I felt so ashamed of how I looked.’

In just two years, Christine has soared back to a healthy weight of 7st 12lbs and has a new lease of life in her confidence – even getting engaged to her boyfriend, Ryan, 27, in May 2019.

Now Christine has used her new found self-esteem to sign up to the Miss England pageant, and has already sailed through to the final for Miss Liverpool.

After starring in an ‘I LOVE LIVERPOOL’ photoshoot to support Zoe’s Place baby hospice in her home city, she is now one of eight finalists hoping to be crowned at the first virtual Miss Liverpool next month.

She said: There’s not much awareness out there for people with chronic illnesses or feeding tubes and I just want to show other young girls that ‘normal’ isn’t just what you see on Instagram or all over social media.

‘Normal is just whoever you are.’

Now Christine has used her new found self-esteem to sign up to the Miss England pageant, and has already sailed through to the final for Miss Liverpool. Pictured, while competing for Miss Liverpool

Now Christine has used her new found self-esteem to sign up to the Miss England pageant, and has already sailed through to the final for Miss Liverpool. Pictured, while competing for Miss Liverpool

Christine's confidence crashed as she faced taunts from online trolls and even strangers in the street who accused her of being anorexic. Pictured now, with her feeding tube

Christine’s confidence crashed as she faced taunts from online trolls and even strangers in the street who accused her of being anorexic. Pictured now, with her feeding tube

Christine with boyfriend Ryan, 27, after getting engaged on the Liverpool wheel in May (pictured, together)

Christine with boyfriend Ryan, 27, after getting engaged on the Liverpool wheel in May (pictured, together)

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