Beautiful woman only eats pancakes due to rare condition which causes agonising blisters in mouth
Meet the woman who lives off a diet of pancakes all because of a condition which leaves her throat covered in AGONISING BLISTERS.
Leanne Yewer suffers from an extremely rare condition – Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (RDEB) – which could cause her to choke at any time.
The beautiful 26-year-old from Bournemouth, Dorset, celebrates pancake day every day of the year after her condition left her terrified of other foods.
Leanne said: “I live on pancakes because they’re one of the only things that don’t cause my throat to blister.
“I’m petrified of eating anything sharp or slightly hard, even my own saliva has caused me to choke.
“But I feel safe eating pancakes as they’re soft and easy to swallow.
“Pancake Day is one of my favourite days of the year, although I never need an excuse to eat one, I love them.”
Leanne was diagnosed with RDEB when she was born as there was no skin on her right foot where a large blister had burst.
By the time she was four she couldn’t drink liquids or even swallow her own saliva without choking and gasping for breath.
She said: “When I was 16 I had a horrendous experience when a crisp got stuck in my throat, it scratched me so badly that it left a huge blister.
“I woke up in the middle of the night in floods of tears and struggling for breath as my throat had closed up – I still have that blister today.
“I can be choking on something for hours and if I can’t remove it I have to wait for it to become dislodged on its own.
“Since then I’ve had a real fear of eating most things.”
Leanne eats as little as possible to avoid getting painful blisters and choking.
In the last five years she has struggled with her health and is now classified as underweight at seven-and-a-half stone.
Leanne said: “I struggle to put any weight on despite wanting to.
“I get tired and weak a lot quicker than anyone else as I’m unable to eat enough.
“When the blisters are at their worst it can be a couple of weeks before I can eat anything properly.
“Pancakes are definitely the best thing for me.
“The older I’ve got the better my skin has got externally but my mouth and throat internally are continuing to get worse.
“I can’t eat any sharp foods or anything with skin on like grapes or beans as the skin gets caught in my throat.
“Other than pancakes I can only eat really soft foods like soup, mash, pasta and custard.”
In 2013 Leanne had another frightening experience which resulted in her having her throat dilated.
Leanne said: “I have since had two more procedures which help the blisters to heal properly.
“The plan is now to have this done as much as possible now to stretch my throat.
“The last time I had it done the doctors struggled to insert a tiny tube down my throat, they were amazed I could eat anything.
RDEB affects Leanne’s skin as well as her oesophagus.
Leanne said: “I also get little blood blisters all over my body which are incredibly sore.
“I can get blisters on my foot still up to three times a week sometimes, it’s even caused scarring.
“Growing up it was a nightmare, even shoes would cause horrendous blisters so I would always be careful.
“I ironically took up ballet for a while, I loved it, but RDEB prevented me from doing a lot of normal things children do.
“My sister also suffers from mild EB but hers has got considerably better as she’s got older.”
Leanne’s mum Tricia, 58, father Robert, 54, sister Kelly, 31, and long term boyfriend Simon, 26, have all been a massive support.
“I don’t think I could have got through all of this without them they’re all always there when I need them.
“Simon has been incredible, he comes with me to most of my hospital trips and drops everything when I need him.
“I contacted DEBRA when I was feeling at my lowest as I couldn’t put weight on and I can’t thank them for picking me back up again.
“After doing research into the condition I found DEBRA, a national charity which helps support people suffering from all forms of EB.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done without them, they’ve been exceptional and always go above and beyond when I need them.”
Miranda Hartley, Leanne’s EB Community Support Manager for DEBRA said: “Leanne was devastated when she lost her job due to the time she needed to take off to recuperate in between operations.
“I was really pleased to be able to help her obtain the benefits she was entitled to when she was unable to work.
“Despite being quite poorly and in considerable pain she was a joy to work with as she is always so cheerful and has such an optimistic outlook on life.
“DEBRA was founded in 1978 and provides an enhanced EB Healthcare Service, in partnership with the NHS, to deliver optimal healthcare to children and adults living with EB.
“Please visit http://www.debra.org.uk/ for more information.”