A Tourette’s sufferer who piled on a staggering 10 stone in one year after becoming housebound by her condition is now a healthy weight – thanks to an implant in her BRAIN.
Emma Gregory, 27, has suffered from the condition since the age of three and would regularly lash out with her arms and loudly swear.
But her ticks became so severe she was left unable to even make a cup of coffee herself – and once broke her own arm in a spontaneous outburst.
Embarrassed Emma eventually became frightened to leave the house and her weight ballooned from 8st to 18st in 12 months as she gorged on ice cream and chocolate.
But she started to lose weight after doctors said she might be eligible for a revolutionary brain implant – if she was slimmer.
The operation last year halted her ticks and she was able to resume a normal life with regular exercise and healthy meals – and she is now a healthy 11st 5lbs.
Delighted Emma, of Lockleaze, Bristol, said: “It got to a point when my Tourette’s had got so bad it had completely taken over my life.
“I think that’s why I retreated to my room, it was a place of safety and sanctuary for me.
“I would eat crisps, chocolate, packaged sandwiches – junk basically because of how I felt. I put on 10st in a year.”
“It is no exaggeration to say [the operation] has completely transformed my life – it is amazing.
“My confidence has blossomed. I have been on the bus on my own, I go for walks and it’s really exciting to think that one day I could even have a job.
“I feel so much healthier, I sleep better, and life is just brilliant at the moment.”
Emma first started suffering ticks – like involuntary hand movements – when she was aged three but wasn’t diagnosed until it was recognised by a school nurse, aged nine.
She started shouting out swear words and inappropriate comments when she reached her teens, but her physical symptoms escalated out of control aged 23.
The once-confident young woman spent years barely leaving the house, and was unable to cook her own meals as she was unable to control her hands.
“It was really, really, serious,” she said.
“I was really starting to hurt myself and I was giving myself black eyes.
“I lost the hair on one side of my hair because of forcing my head on the pillow in one of my ticks.
“I couldn’t cut things to cook a meal otherwise I wouldn’t have any fingers left, and I barely left the house and would just sit in bed and eat all day.”
But in early 2013 she was told about an operation that she might be eligible for in the future called a ‘deep brain stimulation implant’.
“Doctors said I had to lose weight, but didn’t say how much,” she said.
“I just looked at myself and knew I had to do something. Nothing was going to get in the way. I had to start living.”
She enrolled with Slimming World and lost a staggering six stones before the operation at the National Hospital for Neurology in March last year.
Two electrodes in the brain now work with a pacemaker in her chest to interrupt the signals which made her tick.
Emma is one of the first people to have the revolutionary implant – which is usually used for Parkinsons’ sufferers – and it has cured 85 per cent of her ticks.
She went on to lose a further stone, and now aims to lose another 14 pounds.
“It has made such a difference to my life,” she said.