Shimmi Munshi is a woman from Bolton, Lancs and has suffered for more than a year because of a rare condition that made her vomit up to 60 times a day. The disorder finally left her bedridden and she lost a lot of weight during that time.
However, that was not the most unbelievable part: none of the doctors that examined Shimmi were able to come with the correct diagnosis. To add insult to the injury, she was even accused of being an “actress” in order to hide her bulimia.
“People assumed, and still assume, I have bulimia because of the illness,” Shimmi declared. In fact, one of the doctors went even further and he called her an “Oscar award winning actress” and he claimed that she was a liar.
Shimmi Munshi was diagnosed with gastroparesis
Shimmi has a 20-year-old son named Ameen, and she tried to continue her normal life, and focus on her job as well. However, she was vomiting every day, even at work, and soon it became obvious that the problem is way more serious than an eating disorder.
Finally, doctors recognised that she has gastroparesis. This is a rare disease that happens when the stomach cannot get rid of the food normally, so the food stops moving through the intestines. This leads to nausea and sever pain. This happens because the vagus nerve controls the stomach muscles and food is supposed to be broken up by the contractions, and then it should move through the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract connects the mouth to the anus and it is an important part of the digestion process. However, if the vagus nerve is damaged, the stomach muscles don’t work normally anymore and gastroparesis can occur.
“People suffer in silence because it is difficult to comprehend how someone can be sick without it being an eating disorder,” she said. “On the outside you can look well but inside your body is falling apart. “Only the people who have this know the pain and suffering they have to go through.”
The doctors’ reaction also raises some serious questions about the lack of professionalism when it comes to diagnosing someone. If Shimmi was a man, doctors probably wouldn’t have come with up with the accusation that everything is an act and they would have taken the symptoms seriously. The fact that they instantly assumed that she has an eating disorder and they refused to listen to her says a lot about the current mentality in our society.
Sadly, there is no cure that can make this disease go away. However, it can be controlled. After she finally received the correct diagnosis, she was able to get a treatment as well. Currently she has to take 12 tablets every day, including antibiotics, nerve relaxants, anti-sickness medication and painkillers. “My bowel doesn’t work and I am on medication for this,” she explained.
She also had a device fitted in her stomach and on each buttock. This device is meant to help her bladder as well as her digestion. Shimmi also has to go to the hospital every month in order to adjust the device.
“My bladder doesn’t work so I’ve had stimulators implanted in each buttock and wires attached to my spine to help the function of my bladder,” Shimmi explained. “They call me a bionic woman because of the machines I have inside me. I can feel its undercurrents every day and my stomach starts moving as if there’s a baby inside,” she added.