A beauty queen who fell to just six stones while battling an invisible disease says she feels prettier than ever with a life-saving feeding tube.
Christine Constantine, 26, of Old Swan, Liverpool, initially believed she had food poisoning the first time she developed lifelong gastroparesis, which prevented her stomach from processing food properly.
The 5ft 4in blonde bombshell had been plagued by daily vomiting, fatigue, and nausea for many years as doctors battled its diagnosis – falling to just 6st 5lbs in September 2018.
In addition to the physical strain the invisible disease put on her body, Christine's confidence collapsed when she was mocked by online trolls and even strangers on the street who accused her of being anorexic.
Christine Constantine, 26, from Liverpool, dropped to 6th place due to an invisible illness. In the picture, Christine was in and out of the hospital for six years, searching for answers until doctors diagnosed her with gastroparesis last August
The 26-year-old (now pictured) says she feels prettier than ever with a life-saving feeding tube
The 5ft 4in blonde bombshell had been plagued by daily vomiting, fatigue, and nausea for many years as doctors battled its diagnosis – falling to just 6st 5lbs in September 2018. In the picture Christine now
After being diagnosed and given a life-saving feeding tube last February, the passionate employee feels prettier than ever and has even entered the race to be the next Miss England.
"Before I got sick, I was ice skating, dancing, I was really active and healthy," said Christine. “But after years of vomiting, I was so skeletal that I wore baggy clothes just to hide my figure.
“I told people that I didn't want to be here anymore. My feeding tube breathed new life into me.
“It took me a while to get used to it, but I realized that it saved me and didn't stop me from leading a normal life.
Christine (pictured in the hospital) has now been fitted with a permanent feeding tube directly into her intestines
Christine reveals the amount of liquid food she needs to eat to stay alive (picture)
"I feel better than ever, I feel prettier and more confident, and I've accepted that I am like that."
When Christine first fell ill seven years ago, she believed it was food poisoning from a restaurant, but as the episodes of illness continued and became more frequent, it became clear that something more worrisome was at play.
WHAT IS GASTROPARESIS?
Gastroparesis is a long-term (chronic) condition in which the stomach cannot empty itself normally. Food passes through the stomach more slowly than usual.
It's thought to be the result of a problem with the nerves and muscles that control how the stomach empties.
When these nerves are damaged, the muscles in your stomach may not work properly and the movement of food may slow down.
Symptoms of gastroparesis
Symptoms of gastroparesis can include:
Do you feel full very quickly when you eat, feel sick (nausea) and vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, gas, abdominal pain or malaise, heartburn.
Confused by her confusing symptoms, which were similar signs of many other chronic illnesses, the vomiting became so severe that she could not hold onto any food, and doctors decided to give her a feeding tube in February last year.
After years of testing, endoscopies, blood tests, and medical exams, experts finally determined that she had gastroparesis in August 2019.
She continued, “I got sick after we ate with the family and I thought it was just food poisoning, but it went on for days.
Christine was a healthy active girl before becoming ill at 19 (pictured). In addition to the physical strain the invisible disease put on her body, her confidence collapsed when she was subjected to ridicule from online trolls and even strangers on the street who accused her of being anorexic
Christine's weight dropped to just six stones from daily vomiting due to debilitating chronic illness (pictured)
Christine's weight dropped to just six stones before being fitted with a life-saving tube to inject nutrients directly into her body (pictured)
Christine initially believed she was suffering from food poisoning when she first developed lifelong gastroparesis, which prevented her stomach from processing food properly. Pictured after a permanent feeding tube has been attached
Christine with boyfriend Ryan after the engagement. Pictured with her engagement rings
In just two years, Christine (now pictured) has climbed back to a healthy weight of 7-12 pounds and has a new life in her confidence
“I couldn't eat or drink, but then vomited more frequently. I would be so physically exhausted that I couldn't get up.
People just looked at me and thought I had an eating disorder. One evening a group of girls came up to me and told me I need a McDonald's.
"It was humiliating and my confidence was rocking. I was so ashamed of the way I looked."
In just two years, Christine has climbed back to a healthy weight of 7 to 12 pounds and has a new life in her confidence – even engaged to boyfriend Ryan, 27, in May 2019.
w Christine has used her newfound self-esteem to register for the Miss England competition and has already sailed into the final for Miss Liverpool.
After starring in an "I LOVE LIVERPOOL" photo shoot to support the Zoe & # 39; s Place baby hospice in her hometown, she is now one of eight finalists hoping to win the first virtual miss next month Liverpool to be crowned.
She said: There is not much awareness of people with chronic illnesses or feeding tubes and I just want to show other young girls that "normal" is not just what you see on Instagram or all social media.
"rmal is only whoever you are."
w Christine has used her newfound self-esteem to register for the Miss England competition and has already sailed into the final for Miss Liverpool. Pictured competing for Miss Liverpool
Christine's confidence collapsed when she was mocked by online trolls and even by strangers on the street who accused her of being anorexic. Pictured now with her feeding tube
Christine with boyfriend Ryan, 27, after getting engaged on Liverpool Wheel in May (pictured together)