Grandmother has just months to live after being diagnosed with two rare conditions

Grandmother has just months to live after being diagnosed with two rare conditions

A grandmother has been given just months to live after being diagnosed with two rare conditions.

Tanya Burrell, 56, was first diagnosed with scleroderma around eight years ago after she developed an abscess on her finger.

The condition affects the skin and can cause problems with organs, reports ChronicleLive.

Then at the start of lockdown, Tanya began feeling breathless while doing everyday tasks around the house and went to get it checked out.

After tests, she was diagnosed with another rare disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension – which is thought to be a secondary disease to her scleroderma.

This condition means the right side of her heart is under intense pressure and is struggling to supply enough blood to the lungs to then oxygenate the body.

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Tanya began feeling breathless while doing everyday tasks at the beginning of lockdown

Sadly Tanya, from Sunderland, is currently in the last stage of the condition – which her daughter said is like a “ticking time bomb”.

Gayle Carr, 31, said: “My mam was fine the day before and then literally the next day she was feeling so out of breath so I think it was quite a shock.

“She couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t do normal tasks like making a meal or going to the toilet because she was so out of breath.

“She thought it was her lungs because she had shortness of breath and was feeling so tired.”

Doctors tragically then told the family Tanya has just months left, which Gayle said dropped on her mum like a “bombshell”.

The daughter said: “She was always doing this and that and then from getting scleroderma she has to be put on medication because she had no immune system and she had to stop work because she couldn’t risk picking anything up.

Tanya and family at an event

“She was finally coming to terms with what was happening then this dropped on her like a bombshell.

“My birthday was last Sunday and staff at the hospital said we were lucky to celebrate my birthday together because otherwise we might not spend my birthday together again and I didn’t expect that.

“It just feels surreal.”

The conditions have left Tanya wheelchair-bound and on constant oxygen with the mum in and out of Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital as she needs to have constant observation and close management.

She is due to start a new treatment this week which is hoped will extend her life by 12 to 18 months but is the last treatment available to her.

Gayle said her mum hates not being able to do things for herself and is having to rely on other people to do things for her.

Daughter Gayle said her mum “very up and down”

She said: “My mam is very up and down at the moment, sometimes she has a positive head on, the next day she can’t cope with it anymore.

“She just wants to be able to go to the toilet and do normal, everyday things without being breathless.

“She’s trying to be positive but I think she’s a bit bogged down because she’s on oxygen all the time and then she’s having to rely on everybody. She’s back and forwards to the hospital.

“She said not being able to do anything for herself is hard because she never had to ask anything from anyone and having to ask people kills her.”

Tanya is extremely close to her grandchildren, especially Gayle’s son Jake, five, and is “heartbroken” she won’t see them grow up.

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Gayle said: “My mam lives two minutes down the road and she’s been with him every single day so their bond is so strong and she’s heartbroken for that reason that she won’t get to see him grow up.

“It’s hard because he’s so young and he doesn’t understand why my mam can’t sit on the floor and play with his toys with him.”

To make her time left as special as possible, Gayle is raising money to take her mum to Skegness which is a place “close to her heart”.

Gayle said: “Since my mam was a little girl, she always went to Skegness and loved it. We’ve all gone there so she’s been there as a child, a mother, and a grandmother.”

If there is any money left over, the family would also like to take Tanya to Edinburgh Zoo but if Tanya sadly passes before they get to do anything, then any money raised will be donated to the Freeman Hospital.

If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe page, you can do so here.

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