12-year-old girl is 'dying before her mum’s eyes' due to lifelong phobia of eating
A mother has opened up about her 12-year-old daughter's crippling fear of eating, claiming her child is "dying before her eyes".
Janine Daw's daughter Grace has reportedly lived with a fear of choking her entire life and struggles to eat anything but crisps, ice-cream and jalapenos.
No solid conclusion has been reached on her condition yet, but doctors have warned "it is only a matter of time before her organs begin to fail".
Speaking to The Sun, Janine claimed Grace's weight had plummeted to "just four stone" and she has to be fed through a tube that goes straight to her stomach called a mic-key, that was fitted when she was just four months old.
The young girl can take up to 40 minutes to eat each mouthful and anything which requires chewing will see her rush to the toilet to throw up.
"Last year I was over the moon because she ate two chocolates from her advent calendar. She's stopped growing because of this," Janine said. "She's incredibly pale and has dark circles around her eyes. She just constantly looks ill. I just feel completely guilty. I've exhausted every avenue. I just feel completely hopeless."
Grace's trouble with eating first started when she was just a newborn, with her instantly throwing up her breast milk and bottle feed.
When her mother raised the alarm with doctors, they discovered that she had ALPACA syndrome, a rare congenital heart defect where the heart doesn't get enough oxygen.
With medical professionals believing this was the reason behind her aversion to food and choking problems, at nine months old, she went through open heart surgery. However, even after the eight-hour operation, she still had no interest in eating.
A number of psychologists have suggested that the 12-year-old suffers from pseudodysphagia, a chronic fear of choking, but no one has come up with a firm solution yet.
In the meantime, doctors have been left unable to remove her food tube as Grace is only able to eat a "palm full of food" per day.
Janine, who has been forced to quit her job to become Grace's full-time carer, said: "We're just not getting the help from professionals. I had a breakdown a couple of years ago because it was all getting a bit much. I'm working tirelessly to help save Grace only to watch her almost dying before my very eyes.
"I'm even studying to become a children's counsellor to try and help. I've had this constant battle for 12 years and I just don't know what to do. It's now escalated from a fear to a genuine mental health issue. It's the only thing she's ever known. If we mention taking out her mic-key she goes hysterical. It's now become so extreme, I've just hit a brick wall."