Schoolboy beats cancer but chemo leaves him with bizarre addiction to garlic bread
A schoolboy who beat cancer after heavy dose of chemo was left with a bizarre side effect – an addiction to GARLIC BREAD that’s lasted for EIGHT YEARS.
Billy Turner, 11, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, became addicted to the pongy snack after chemotherapy to treat his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma left him unable to stomach anything else.
But he because so used to munching nothing but the Italian staple that even after his treatment finished, he refused to eat anything else.
Now, his desperate mum Louise Blackshaw, 32, has turned to a hypnotist to try to help her son overcome his addiction.
Louise said: “When Billy was having his chemo, he said eating felt very strange, as the feeling of food moving down his throat felt very pronounced.
“The only thing that he said didn’t make him feel funny was garlic bread – so that’s what he ate. I was just happy he could eat something.
“But it’s now eight years later and he still refuses to eat anything else.”
Billy was diagnosed with cancer when he was just three years old – and underwent a six month course of chemotherapy in 2008.
Since undergoing intense chemo as at tot, Billy went into remission a year later, but despite only returning to the doctor for yearly check ups, his taste for garlic bread has remained strong.
Depsite him beating the disease, his weird addiction to garlic bread stuck with him – and now, after almost a decade of gobbling down garlic bread, mum Louise is turning to hypnotherapy to try to cure her son.
When Bill was undergoing chemo, exasperated Louise found that while her son complained about most food stuffs, he was still able to eat garlic bread and, steadily, ran out of other options to provide for his dinner.
And while Louise would often cook fresh family meals for dinner, she was unable to convince Billy to try her cooking, her son just wolfed down garlic bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Billy said: “I want to be able to go to a restaurant now and actually order food like everyone else.
“I could always feel the food moving down my throat when I tried to eat and that was really off-putting – but I could always eat the likes of garlic bread.
“Only being able to eat certain food makes me feel really self-conscious and I always try to make sure that my friends don’t find out.”
Louise has now enlisted the help of hypnotherapist Felix Economakis, who specialises in helping people overcome Selective Eating Disorder – and hopes that he will finally be able to help her son.
Louise said: “Billy’s eating habits began to change after he was diagnosed with cancer and he complained about how the food felt as he ate it.
“Although I wanted to cook meals for all of the family, there was nothing that he could eat and he ended up with a really restricted diet.
“It always upset me to see the lengths that Billy had to go to, to find something that he would be able to eat.
“At the time when Billy was first going through chemo, it was easier that he ate what he was comfortable with, but he fell into the same pattern.
“Billy said he kept feeling like his food was getting stuck in his throat whenever he tried to eat something that was new or unknown to him.
“All the doctors we visited just said that Billy was a fussy eater, but didn’t know what else to say.
“Billy has started his hypnotherapy now and we’re really hopeful that it will work. He’s already beaten cancer, he can beat this too.”
Felix, a psychologist and clinical hypnotist for The Heath therapy clinic, said: “SED as a phobia is confused with a natural phase in childhood which is fussy eating.
“While a lot of people act as if they have a phobia of food they are just fussy, whereas people with SED would rather die than eat certain foods.
“Typically it’s because at some point in childhood they have had a traumatic experience which has resulted in them mistrusting food.
“In the presence of food people will start to panic or clam up. Some people will be able to get food near their mouth or even in it, but the food will not go down and their body refuses to swallow it.”