Pain kept this young woman from eating for 5 years!
Mackenzie, who at 5-foot-3 weighed 75 pounds, remembers weeping as she tried to explain that she didn’t have anorexia. She desperately wanted to eat, she insisted, but couldn’t. In the summer of 2009 before entering Harvard, Mackenzie had spent three months at a rural clinic in Uganda. Within days of her arrival, her stomach began to hurt after she ate. Mackenzie, who lost 15 pounds, suspected that an antimalarial drug was responsible. For the next 5 years, Mackenzie would repeatedly confront the erroneous belief that her pain, which began soon after eating or drinking and lasted about four hours, was the result of stress, perfectionism, attention-seeking or just plain hunger. In the spring of 2011, the pain was so debilitating that Mackenzie opted for a feeding tube that snaked up her nose, down her throat, through her stomach, and into her small intestine. Exhaustive testing and treatment at several of the nation’s most prominent hospitals failed to uncover a physical explanation.
Clue 1: She tested negative for parasites
Clue 2: She tested negative for tropical diseases
Clue 3: She tested negative for HIV and serious digestive disorders, including Crohn’s disease
Clue 4: Even removing her gallbladder didn’t help.
Can you tell why?