BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
A veterinarian who was deemed an ‘attention seeker’ due to a rare condition that caused her to vomit up to 12 TIMES AN HOUR has nearly cured herself with natural dieting and exercise.
Angie Higgins Moore, 37, of Kelso, Washington, USA, suffered from episodes once a month, which caused her to puke every five to 15 minutes for up to five days at a time.
Suffering from the chronic illness Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome but was misdiagnosed with mental illnesses like bulimia and bipolar disorder as well as being accused of being an ‘attention seeker’.
After countless hospital stays and having to give up her private practice, Angie took it upon herself to try an all-natural vegetarian diet in additional to taking vitamin supplements daily.
She also started exercising daily, with her routines including walking, running, biking, yoga, meditation and kayaking.
Since taking up the new lifestyle, the vet can go months without having a single episode and hasn’t been to the hospital in almost four years.
She has been able to go as long as six months vomit-free and the longest her cycles now last are 24 hours.
Prior to the new diet, she would stay in the hospital for up to ten days to treat her severe dehydration and was even at a risk of having a heart attack.
Angie, who now works as a public health veterinarian for the government, said: “I’ve been able to manage it with my natural methods. I have the power to control my condition.
“I wanted to be able to live a healthy life without the chemicals, without doctors prescribing me things I don’t need.
“I used to just be in constant intense nausea for five days and there was no feeling of relief when the vomiting stopped.
“The misery and agony is so intense and it feels like it’s never going to end. When it’s over I’m always glad I’m alive, but I have never had an episode where I didn’t want to die.
“I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but I was really emotionally unwell because of what I was going through. People can confuse that with a mental disorder.
“I couldn’t work in a private practice anymore because I had to keep taking time off. When you’re at a job like that, there’s no one to replace you.”
It is easier for her to take sick days as a government worker, but being a supervisor, her role still carries a lot of responsibility.
While the veterinarian has only had a cycle twice this year, at times she does worry about the possibility of losing her job.
Angie said: “This job is a little more flexible with sick leave, but I still need to be on site the majority of the time since I’m a supervisor.
“There are limits. I do worry about what I would do if I ever lost this job.”
Five months after her last episode, Angie hopes to break her record of going six months without puking.
If able to reach that goal, her next one will be to make it to one year.
She said: “I am becoming a healthier person, so I definitely feel like it is possible to beat my record.
“If I can go six months without vomiting, then I bet I can go a year too.”
Dr. Thangham Venkatesan, a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, says there is no known cause of the syndrome, but that researchers have suggested a few possibilities.
The gastroenterologist said: “Different theories including genetic factors such like mitochondrial DNA SNPs2, 3 and polymorphisms in the cannabinoid receptor gene have been implicated.
“Stress is a huge trigger and dysfunction of the endocannabinoid and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis have also been suggested.”
The doctor added: “It is associated with several comorbid conditions like anxiety, depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
“Sometimes episodes can be associated with acute complications like gastrointestinal bleeding, dehydration and prolonged hospital stays.
“Almost a third of affected adults are disabled and many lose their jobs. Several patients are also unable to pursue their education and need to drop out of school or college.”