Hoping to raise awareness about a "killer in your fridge," a blogger shared one woman's bizarre but serious health battle.
In October 2001, an otherwise healthy woman began suffering from stomach spasms and excruciating pain that radiated through her body, the woman's sister wrote for blogger Rhonda Gessner's website. Even walking "was a major chore."
"It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain," the sister wrote.
Several biopsies and 24 prescription medications later, the woman was nowhere near a diagnosis or recovery. In March 2002, the woman felt herself fading and "just knew she was dying," according to the sister.
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She set her affairs in order and made sure that all of her children would be well cared for when she passed. At this point, she was "basically in a wheelchair" but scheduled one last vacation at the end of March, so that she would have one last adventure.
Although the woman's tests still came up negative, doctors believed that she had Multiple Schlerosis (MS).
Three days before her Florida trip, the woman told her sister the news.
The sister, however, responded with an unusual question.
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"I recalled an article a friend of mine e-mailed to me and I asked my sister if she drank diet soda?" the sister wrote. "She told me that she did. As a matter of fact, she was getting ready to crack one open that moment."
As it turns out, the woman had likely been suffering from aspartame poisoning.
While many people consume the low calorie sugar substitute without incident, aspartame does not leave the body as readily as saccharin and other sweeteners, notes MD Health. It can accumulate in bodily tissues, causing serious health problems.
Aspartame poisoning symptoms can include breathlessness, elevated blood pressure, upset stomach, abdominal pain, diarrhea, intense itching and hives.
The woman in the story immediately cut the drink from her diet. Within 32 hours, she no longer had muscle spasms, and she no longer needed her wheelchair. She cut out all medication except one for aspartame poisoning.
She was "well on her way to a complete recovery," the sister wrote.