Wigan mum's body shut down months after she was branded a hypochondriac
A Wigan mum who has lived most of her life in chronic pain is hoping to reach out to others suffering from "invisible illnesses".
Jacqueline Wall, 28, spent many years being told she was a "hypochondriac" and a "moaner" before a life-changing event left her fearing for her life.
The retail assistant, who grew up in Scholes, was born with a "nervous tremor" which has plagued her life from as young as she can remember.
As a former St John Fisher student, she remembers being bullied for the constant shaking brought on by her condition.
But as Jacqueline grew older and began to start her own family, her problems only worsened and after two difficult pregnancies - the new mum-of-two and step-mum-of-one fell ill with a mystery disease.
"I was getting sicker and sicker," she said. "I was getting a lot of my pain in my stomach and the best way to describe it was someone putting their hands in my stomach and twisting and pulling.
"It’s horrific. I had some blood tests and was told it was probably an infection. I had about four months of constant pain which wasn’t going after antibiotics.
"People were calling me a hypochondriac. I was told ‘all you do is moan’. Some people were really negative about it so I started keeping it to myself. I tried being someone I wasn’t."
However, when Jacqueline woke up one morning and had turned yellow - her husband Darren insisted that she make an emergency appointment with the doctor.
"They sent me to hospital straight away," she said. "My liver levels were really high and they found a lump in my pancreas. They assumed the worse and sent me straight to Manchester Royal.
"My body was shutting down. They thought it was cancer and that I didn’t have very long left to live. We were terrified."
But diligent doctors continued tests, which revealed Jacqueline’s growth was not a life-threatening tumour - but just part and parcel of numerous autoimmune diseases she will now battle for the rest of her life.
Jacqueline, who had not long given birth to her now five-year-old son Harvey, missed out on the first seven months of her baby’s life as she recovered in hospital, only to succumb again a year later.
Now, after being diagnosed with several illnesses including Bric disease, autoimmune pancreatitis, biliary disease, liver disease, osteoporosis, rheumatorid arthritis and a nervous tremor, Jacqueline is hoping she can use her pain to help others suffering from "invisible illnesses."
"I went through the stage where I was so angry," she explained. "But as time went on I began to open my mind a bit, I would speak to other people on the wards who were suffering. There are all sorts of people including those with drug and alcohol problems.
"I want people to know they can speak to me and to others. I have been in that position where people just cut you out or walk away, where they assume you’re making it up. I suffer with pain every day. I have good days and bad but speaking to people in a group helps. It’s good to help each other."
To join the chronic pain and invisible illness support group visit www.facebook.com/groups/180049309272794