Woman left paralysed from waist down while having bath just days after 30th birthday
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A mum-of-two said she feels ‘completely helpless’ after becoming paralysed from the waist down while having a bath.
Jessica Ennis, 30, told her two daughters that she was going to take a bath before taking them to nursery but just minutes later found she was unable to move her legs and had to be pulled from the tub by her mum.
Jessica, from Gelligaer in Wales, had been suffering from pain and discomfort all over her body dating back to August last year, which eventually resulted in her being confined to a bed at Ystrad Mynach Hospital.
In June this year, she was diagnosed with functional neurological disorder (FND) - a condition which causes problems with how the brain receives and sends information to the rest of the body, causing serious arm and leg weakness and seizures. It is often also associated with an accompanying all-over pain.
“It was my 30th birthday party on June 17 and I'd had a rare good day where I was able to enjoy it," Jessica said.
"On the Monday I remember being really tired but got through the day. Then on the Tuesday the pain I was in was unbearable. I was up all night and in the morning I told the girls I was going in the bath for 10 minutes. At 10 past seven I got in the bath and by 20 past I was paralysed from the waist down.
“I couldn’t move my legs at all. It was terrifying. I called my mum who came around and dragged me out the bath before an ambulance got to us. That was the last time I saw my own home.
“I was taken straight to hospital and then a week later I got the diagnosis. My life has completely changed in a way I could never have imagined before all this. I’ve been in hospital ever since and I’ve not had any feeling in my legs since. The doctors have got no idea what the future holds for me because it’s a rare condition and different for every patient.
“Despite my diagnosis the symptoms have worsened. I'm now having multiple seizures a day where it feels like lightning bolts are running through my body. My throat closes and I can't breathe while I'm having them. The pain I feel during the seizures leaves me exhausted.
"I’m also stuttering and struggling to get my words out and have involuntary spasms in my right arm. I can no longer feed myself because I can’t use my hands without them shaking uncontrollably.
"I can’t help my children with anything. I’m incontinent at 30 years old. It’s a horrible condition and not something I’d ever thought would have happened to me. The worst part is the hyper-sensitivity meaning I can't bear being touched and all I want to do is hug my husband and my children."
Prior to falling ill, Jessica had been an active member of her community, where she founded the local football team, and had a busy family life with her husband, daughters Cassidy, three, and Savannah, two, as well as stepson Caylan, 11.
Her popularity within the local community has resulted in locals rallying ‘round to help raise funds for the home to be modified ahead of Jessica’s eventual discharge from hospital.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done for me to raise that money,” she added. “I can’t even think about it without crying. All the money raised will help me get home."
You can donate to the fundraiser here.