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New health challenges for Marissa

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Sylvia Nelson, mother of Marissa Nelson, in her daughter's remodeled bedroom at her Johnson Street, Valencia, home.With her is Marissa's niece, Adelia Garcia.

Marissa Nelson, who has been warded at the High Dependency Ward at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope for the past five months for weight loss treatment, is now battling health complications and depression. This was revealed by her 68-year-old mother, Sylvia Nelson.

Last September, Marissa, 32, who at her heaviest weighed 600 pounds, was featured in the T&T Guardian when she appealed for help to deal with her morbid obesity. At the time she was in need of specialist medical care, urgent medication and a 24-hour caregiver.

Marissa suffers with lymphoedema, which left her limbs enormously swollen. She packed on the pounds after taking a cocktail of tablets to deal with her medical condition which left her confined to her bed for four years.

Touched by Marissa’s plight, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh offered medical help and provided a team of specialists to help with a weight loss programme.

She was removed from her home last November and taken to the hospital where she began intense treatment.

Last Christmas, Deyalsingh paid a surprise visit to Marissa at hospital. She said then that it was her best Christmas ever as she had lost some weight, was undergoing physiotherapy and had been put on a low carbohydrate, low fat, high protein diet.

However, according to her mother, she has been facing some challenges since undergoing two surgical procedures in recent weeks

Nelson told the T&T Guardian: “One was a gastric bypass surgery and the other was to remove the oversized growths on her legs which were hindering her from walking.”

Nelson said after the gastric bypass, Marissa began vomiting.

“Now doctors saying that they might have to go back in again because she still vomiting. She can’t eat anything solid. She does only drink the gravy from the soup they giving her.”

Nelson said the doctors believe something was wrong.

“They put some dye in her and they see somewhere was blocking but when they went in they say they not seeing the blockage. The doctor say she not supposed to be vomiting so I don’t know what wrong.”

Nelson, who uses a wheelchair, is unable to visit Marissa at hospital but speaks with her daughter by phone every day.

She said Marissa’s condition was further complicated when she fell six days ago.

“They were trying to get her to stand up to give her therapy and she fell on all her weight,” she said.

On Friday, the stitches in Marissa’s leg snapped.

“When I spoke to her this morning she said she was in a lot of pain,” she said.

Nelson said Marissa’s health has been worrying her.

“I glad in a sense they helping she, but when I hear she fall and the stitches burst I get worried. I does be stressed out because I find she suffer so much.

“When she think she going there to feel much better she has to go through all these things,” Nelson said.

“She keep saying that she missing we. It’s over five months she in the hospital. Yes, I think she is depressed. If it was me I would have been depressed too because that is not an easy thing to go through.”

Last Tuesday, members of the T&T Defence Force and Toco/ Sangre Grande MP Glenda Jennings-Smith completed work on a remodelled bedroom for Marissa.

Nelson said she has no idea when Marissa would come home to enjoy her new and spacious room.

“That is one question I can’t answer. The way she lost the weight so fast she has too much flab on the arms which they still have to remove, so she would not be home in a hurry.”

Yesterday, Deyalsingh said he could not give out information on any patient, including Marissa, and advised that we speak to her doctors.

Deyalsingh did not name Marissa’s doctors.


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