An unexpected medical episode left Brianna McCade in ICU for nearly two months last year. She was eventually diagnosed with necrotising pancreatitis – a health condition unknown to her.
Fast forward nearly a year later and on the road to recovery, Brianna was so grateful for the medical support she received that she set up a fundraiser for her September birthday to support pancreatic research.
Her goal of $300 was nearly tripled in 24 hours and is now over the $1000 mark!
What started as a normal day with a friend last October left the 31-year-old childcare worker feeling weak, delirious and slurring her words once she got home.
Fortunately, her partner Lenin was home and after a series of tests at the RAH, she was diagnosed with necrotising pancreatitis.
Brianna spent nearly two months in ICU from October to December 2021 where she lost motor function and was in a state of confusion. In November she was in a critical condition and was put in an induced coma for five days. Between March and June this year there were also two admissions to the ward.
“We were all shocked,’’ Brianna said. “I don’t drink and no one in my family has had this before.”
During her illness Brianna dropped from 60kgs to as low as 34kgs, received medication via an IV in her neck and had a drain in her abdomen removing fluid until March this year.
“I was so confused at the time. It was so random to have all this going on,’’ she said.
“I was intubated three times and then required a tracheostomy due to respiratory failure.
“The staff were amazing. I couldn’t have asked for better care, I was very well supported.’’
Brianna has lost 70 per cent of all pancreas function and is unable to eat fatty or fried foods, drink alcohol and is required to take 75mg of Creon per meal to assist with nutrition and fat absorption.
Yet she remains positive, has gained weight, is building up her mental and physical strength and has started a new part-time job as a childcare worker.
Brianna’s exceptional fundraising efforts will go towards pancreatic research and hopes to also raise awareness about the disease at the same time.
“Until I was diagnosed, I had no idea about necrotising pancreatitis,’’ she said. “I’m kind of an anomaly.’’
“I hope one day research can find answers and solve the mystery as to why the disease appears randomly.”