Orillia woman opens up about rare disorder, hopes others come forward


An Orillia woman who needed to wait years to be identified with a rare dysfunction is hoping to unfold consciousness by sharing her expertise.

Jane Brennan was identified in December 2018 with median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS), which happens when there’s compression of that ligament on the celiac artery. It took her eight years to get that reply, although. It takes a median of three years for a MALS analysis.

She underwent a sequence of assessments in 2012. Doctors urged she had something from irritable bowel syndrome to a peptic ulcer.

“Over the years, my stomach was in more and more pain and was upset all the time,” Brennan stated.

She minimize dairy and gluten out of her weight loss plan, which helped, however in 2017, she started experiencing extreme again ache.

“It felt like my ribs were broken,” she defined.

That ache endured for a couple of months. It wasn’t till she had a pelvic ultrasound in October 2018 that she turned nearer to getting a solution.

The ultrasound led medical doctors to concentrate on the celiac artery. In November of that yr, the outcomes of a scan urged she had MALS. It was confirmed by a vascular surgeon in Hamilton.

Brennan’s median arcuate ligament was wrapped round her celiac artery, brought on by her being born with a low-sitting diaphragm. She underwent surgical procedure in February of this yr, however a number of the signs have returned.

“It takes a long time to recuperate from this because your organs are pushed around so they can get at the nerves,” she stated. “I can’t say at this point whether it was successful.”

The physician has ordered a second scan, which can happen June 1.

Brennan is doing her greatest to deal with the ache, which she stated has been likened to that of pancreatic most cancers.

“Nothing you can take will help the pain of MALS,” she stated. “The only thing that’s helped a little bit are nerve-pain pills.”

While she awaits extra solutions, Brennan is trying to join with others who’ve the dysfunction or suppose they may have it. She feels the truth that it’s a rare situation is resulting in a scarcity of diagnoses.

“Many people have been abused by the medical system and it needs to stop,” she stated, noting some have urged it’s all in her head, that she’s a drug addict or that she has anorexia, as MALS can result in extreme weight reduction. “I’m sick of the stares. It hurts because I’m self-conscious.”

There is a non-profit group within the United States referred to as the National MALS Foundation, however there isn’t one thing comparable in Canada, so Brennan has relied on info from that web site in addition to a assist group on Facebook.

She is aware of there are individuals nearer to house who’ve MALS. A health care provider informed her he had two different sufferers on this space, however, for causes of privateness, he couldn’t present their info to Brennan. She’s hoping they’ll hear about her story and get in touch with her at jebrennan@rogers.com.

“Even if three people get together, maybe we can have some awareness event — a walk or something — when COVID-19 is over,” she stated.

In the meantime, she’s doing her small half to attract consideration to the dysfunction. She has had some shirts made that bear the identify of the situation, and he or she thanked TMS Promotional Wear president and CEO Dan Burke for giving her a superb deal on them.

Brennan’s recommendation for anybody who’s experiencing signs of MALS — particularly extreme belly, higher gastrointestinal ache — and is being informed it’s simply irritable bowel syndrome is to “keep pressing for answers” and order a CTA scan or Doppler ultrasound.

“Never give up,” she stated.



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