Although the diagnosis was only made five years ago, the complaints have always been there. “We quickly realized that things were different for Emma than for the eldest two: even when I was still in the hospital, she was spitting up more than normal. After three months she also started to lag behind in weight and height,” says mother Natalie.
Emma ends up in the medical mill at a young age, but nothing seems to help. She is also operated on three times, but these also do not solve anything. The latter even ensures that Emma can no longer vomit.
Finally the official diagnosis comes: Emma has gastroparesis, a severely delayed stomach emptying. For Emma it is a relief that she finally knows what is going on, but there is no cure for gastroparesis yet. There are means to make the disease more bearable, but unfortunately they do not help Emma. The singer can chew and swallow, but eating and drinking makes her very ill. That is why the teenager receives liquid food through a stomach tube 22 hours a day. Nathalie says: “What she can eat and drink herself is minimal; actually only to taste something every now and then. In the morning and in the afternoon she eats half a small rice waffle, and in the evening a baby fruit snack.”
This hinders Emma enormously in her daily life, including at school. “At school I was of course different from other children,” says the young singer. “I couldn’t eat or drink anything and had a small child’s walker with a basket on the front in which I could put my two pumps. That way I could still play.”
Unfortunately, things don’t always remain this friendly and once in eighth grade, her classmates see her as an easy target. “From that moment on, the bullying started. I was left out, called ‘gnome’ and ‘grandma’ because of my walker, and there was gossip about me,” Emma reflects. “It was really bad and it made me mentally more difficult to deal with my illness. I didn’t want to be different.”
Emma changes schools and receives psychological help, but bullying also started in her new class. “When she later went to secondary school, fortunately the bullying did not stop. But her illness remains a battle every day.”
You can read the entire interview now WOMAN Magazine.