A woman has told how she was wrongly treated for coronavirus while suffering from a devastating disease which “attacked her from the inside out” and left unable to walk.
Amy Murphy battled symptoms including terrible cramps and blood in her urine since Easter 2019, but decided not to go to the doctors as she ‘didn’t want to bother them’.
Suffering with symptoms on and off throughout the year, the 34-year-old was finally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) – an inflammation of the lower end of the digestive system – and given drugs to treat it.
After her diagnoses in January 2020, Amy suffered breathing complications in April which doctors initially believed was due to coronavirus.
However, it turned out to be pneumonitis brought on by bowel drugs and immunosuppressants.
Speaking to The Liverpool ECHO, the mum-of-one said: “My body was just attacking itself and causing inflammation.”
“In Easter , 2019, I had terrible cramps and I was going to the toilet and I noticed blood, but I didn’t go to the doctors.
“It must have been a flare up because after a few days it stopped happening. So then I kind of ignored it.
“But it happened again a few months later and then it stopped again. I didn’t go to the doctors, I didn’t even tell them.
“I’m not scared of going to the doctors, but I also don’t want to bother them. Because it started and stopped and I didn’t feel unwell, really, I just thought it was fatigue.”
Having avoided the doctors throughout the year, the pain got so bad the went to hospital on Christmas Eve and was told she was suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
She was sent home and even managed to make a full Christmas meal for the whole family, despite doubling over in pain.
But her symptoms worsened dramatically and by December 29, she said she couldn’t walk.
Amy would spend the next four weeks in hospital, before she was finally diagnosed with UC and given medication to treat the digestive disease.
She said: “I was having infections, I must have had infections six or seven times in four months.
“I was days away from having surgery, but luckily my body began to respond to the drugs. I had lost so must weight and was so weak, but was sent home.
“Then I began to lose clumps of hair. Peeing blood. Unknown bruising all over face. Blisters on arms and hands. Then the breathing difficulties started.”
In April Amy, from Merysdie in England, said she was breathless, which prompted fears she had contracted coronavirus during lockdown.
She says she was then twice treated for coronavirus.
She said: “My breathing got so bad that I was rushed to A,amp;E and I was kept in for five days and was told it was Covid.
“It turned out I was having an adverse reaction to the bowel drugs and immunosuppressants.
“I was incorrectly treated for Covid-19, twice. On my third admission to hospital, I was put in infections diseases ward in the Royal, on a CPAP machine.
“It was not Covid, it was pneumonitis brought on by my bowel drugs/and or/immunosuppressants.”
By June, Amy said she had the “worst flare up” and had the worst inflammation levels she’d had before.
At this point, Amy said she wanted to have surgery because “she couldn’t live with the pain any more.”
Amy now lives with an ileostomy bag, her health has now improved and she’s not facing painful symptoms as frequently any more.
She said: “Ileostomy life is a million times better then the pain UC can give you.”
She said she had heard of Crohn’s disease before, but wasn’t as familiar with colitis, and she said she hopes to realise more awareness about UC, symptoms and how to spot it.
She said: “You should never ignore blood, as I did. I would advise anyone to go and get checked out.”