Queensland woman battling rare disease

Ellie Baxter was only 17 years old when she underwent gastric sleeve surgery after her physical and mental health was virtually non-existent due to a rare syndrome.

The 19-year-old revealed that her only way to live a fulfilling life was to have her stomach removed after being diagnosed with skin elasticity.

Ellie Baxter was only 17 years old when she underwent gastric sleeve surgery after her physical and mental health was practically non-existent, and she has been open about the positives and negatives of her decision and how it has affected her body.

When she was 15, the Ipswich teenager was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which is a series of inherited disorders that affect connective tissue such as the skin and joints.

Ellie is of this type, which means that her body was hypermobile, that is, she suffered from chronic pain, she had recurrent dislocations, bruised easily, and took forever to heal.

Since she was 10 years old, she had eight hip surgeries due to EDS, which meant that any excessive movement would likely leave her bedridden with some sort of injury.

When she was in elementary school, a nurse student and visagiste weight 80kg.

My life before I had a gastric sleeve was practically non-existent,” Ellie told news.com.au.

“I believe 100% that people can live fulfilling lives while being overweight with the right support and love around them, but it just didn’t work for me.

“I was ashamed, riddled with anxiety and never wanted to leave the house, even though my weight was my biggest anxiety trigger, food was also my coping mechanism and my outlet.

“My compulsive overeating only got worse when I developed PTSD when I was 14.”

She has tried every possible diet, including switching to keto, but her food safety system and her EDS made it almost impossible for her to budge.

At 17, in her senior year of school, Ellie weighed 142 kg and experienced a turning point in her life. She just wanted to live the same life as many of her peers, without thinking about her anxieties and illnesses.

“I sat with my thoughts and just couldn’t do it anymore,” Ellie explained.

“I tried all the fad diets, went to many nutritionists, psychologists and exercise therapists, and my weight fluctuated up and down all the time.

“I knew something needed to change, I knew that if I continued on the path I was on, I would get worse and worse and I would never come out of my shell to achieve a life and a career, which I wanted.

“I couldn’t do it alone, so I talked to my parents, a therapist, and a psychologist, and I was adamant that I wanted the sleeve.”

For two months, Ellie was taken to the operating room, which categorically changed her life. It was unlike all the hip surgeries she’d had before – it was supposed to start a path of inner healing as well as help her physical existence.

After the operation, she had to follow a strict diet in order to learn the new possibilities of her body.

It wasn’t easy, and for the first few weeks she “regretted every decision she ever made” as she couldn’t even hold down a sip of water.

“I missed food, it was my addiction,” Ellie said.

“But as the weeks went by, I slowly adjusted to my new life. I learned what I could and could not eat and what made me sick.

“As I lost weight, I regretted my decision less and less.”

Ellie went into surgery thinking it was a clean slate and within eight months she reached her target weight and has been successfully dropping 62kg ever since.

She could do so many things that she could do before, such as shopping at a brick and mortar store, being confident, going out with friends, and walking non-stop to catch her breath.

However, for Ellie, it was much more than physical.

“My overall weight loss has allowed me to lead a life I didn’t even know I had,” she said.

“I work in aged care as an aged care worker and am studying at university to become a registered nurse.

“I’ve been a nurse since I was 16 and I don’t see myself in anything else – that was my dream when I made the decision to lose weight.”

Ellie has been open about everything during her weight loss journey. TikTok page – including the fact that she was left with extra skin due to shedding a lot of weight quickly.

She said that most of the excess skin was on her stomach, arms, thighs and breasts, and while she plans to have surgery for this, she knows it will take a while while she saves up for it.

“I created my tik tak page to share my journeys, the ups and downs of living with chronic illness, and to try and destigmatize weight loss surgery as an “easy way out” by being completely open and transparent about my journey,” Ellie said.

Despite all of Ellie’s victories, she still believes her battles with chronic disease are the hardest she’s ever had.

“Knowing this is going to be with me for the rest of my life is terrible and I hate to think about it,” she said.

Originally published as Nurse student explains why sleeve gastrectomy was the only option