Stunning student left feeling like pensioner thanks to multiple strokes
Here’s the STUNNING blonde who has been left feeling like a PENSIONER due to a rare tissue disorder which has caused multiple STROKES.
Seanin Smith, 23, from Newry County Down, Northern Ireland, was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome a condition which affects the connective tissues in the body just five years ago.
She has been rushed to hospital 14 times in the last two years, takes 39 tablets every day and uses a Zimmer frame to walk.
The deadly condition has become so severe that Seanin has even suffered several strokes.
But despite her eye sight deteriorating and being unable to control her hands properly, Seanin completed a univerisity honours degree this year.
Seanin said: “I feel like I’m trapped in an old person’s body, I have so many problems that you associate with the elderly.
“I have to use a Zimmer frame now that my body is so weak, my eyesight is going and I have migraines all the time.
“I’ve lost count of how many seizures and strokes I’ve had.
“Even though I am in pain every day I’m not going to let it get in my way.
“I can’t drive anymore because I often get paralysis in my legs, and I can’t write because my hands don’t work properly.
“But that hasn’t stopped me following my dream of being a dietician, and now that I have completed my undergraduate course in Human Nutrition at Ulster University I’m going to go on to do a masters.”
Seanin’s studies have taken her five years to complete because of her illness.
In the summer of 2012, just after Seanin had started her university placement as part of her course, she suffered from a major stroke.
Doctors are unsure what the strokes or are caused by, but it may be muscle degeneration as a result of her EDS.
Unlike most strokes, MRI scans have not revealed any damage caused to the brain, although there is a lack of blood being sent to her brain.
She said: “It was terrifying, I had no idea what was happening to me.
“I had never had one before and I had to stay in hospital for sixteen days.
“The neurologist said he didn’t know how I’d got like it and he told my mum he didn’t know how I’d come back.
“It was a horrible, scary time. When I woke up and realised I wasn’t able to walk I was terrified.
“I couldn’t have got through it all without my mum. She was there with me the whole way through.”
Seanin returned to her studies, but up until her first major stroke, her university was unaware that she was travelling to hospital every month to treat her deteriorating eye sight.
Seanin’s mum Mary, 50, said: “I am so proud of her, she just gets on with it. She’s always looking to the future.
“To think she is in so much pain every day and could for all we know potentially have a seizure every day, she really doesn’t dwell on it.
“I’m with her 24/7 and she never complains about it. She amazes me.
“Four times she’s had to learn to walk, and each time she has battled on.
“She is taking 77mg of warfarin a week to try and help keep the blood flowing to her brain and prevent the strokes, whereas most people that need to take it only take 2-4mg.
“It’s an incredible about for a 23-year-old to take.
“Numerous times when she was hospitalised I thought we were never going to get her home.
“Last year she won a ‘Spirit of Northern Ireland’ award after being chosen from the ‘Overcoming Adversity’ category.
“She continues to amaze me every day.”
COO of the Ehlers Danlos Support Group UK Lara Bloom said: “EDS is a multi-systemic condition that can affect those living with it in a variety of different ways.
“Symptoms can be far ranging, causing chronic pain and fatigue, subluxations and dislocations, hypermobility, gastrointestinal issues, autonomic problems and more.
“Young and old people with EDS struggle to get a diagnosis and the management they need due to a lack of specialists and understanding in the field.”