Teen mistook appendicitis for pulled muscle – ‘Get symptoms checked’

NHS: Appendicitis symptoms and cause explained

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When Paige Loren Cannon James first noticed a pain in her ribs she thought nothing of it, believing it to be a pulled muscle from an intense workout. But the pain continued to worsen and just three weeks later, while in hospital, her appendix burst. Now the 18-year-old is sharing her story in the hopes of alerting others to the signs of appendicitis.

Liverpudlian Paige, who also works as a personal trainer, was actually crowned Miss Merseyside shortly before she collapsed in agonising pain last November.

She was rushed to Royal Liverpool Hospital and underwent a five hour operation to remove her appendix which had burst in two places.

Paige was told by doctors she was lucky to be alive but she would be left with four centimetre-long scars on her stomach.

After two weeks in hospital, she returned home but despite her ordeal, she vowed to pursue her dream of competing in beauty pageants.

Next month she will jet off to Vietnam where she will represent England in the Miss Charm beauty contest.

“My scars are still quite sore and noticeable,” Paige told SWNS. “I have one on my belly button and two on my stomach but when competing in Vietnam I am just going to embrace them.

“They are part of me now, so I need to show that.

“For the competition I’ll be wearing a stylish cut-out bikini so some of my scars will be visible.

“I am nervous for the competition, but I am just going to do my best and show people that I can do well despite my scars. You shouldn’t let anything stop you.”

As the pain in her ribs continued to get worse, Paige went to the doctors who sent her straight to the hospital where she waited 50 hours for a bed to come available.

On November 21 her appendix burst and was rushed into surgery.

Paige, from West Derby, said: “The whole experience of appendicitis was dreadful.

“The medicine made me feel awful and wiped out and after my operation which I was put to sleep for, I woke up in a room on my own and all I wanted was my mum and dad.

“I started crying and I was sick so many times as the morphine they gave me was very strong.

“After my surgery I remained in hospital for a week to recover and a bag was attached to my stomach to get all the remaining infection out of me. It was life threatening and very scary.

“I want to share my story so people will get their symptoms checked out sooner. Even if you think it’s nothing, get it checked by a doctor as it could be life threatening.”


The appendix is a small, thin pouch connected to the large intestine, but no one knows exactly what its purpose is.

In cases of appendicitis it can become painful and swollen and if not removed the appendix can burst.

The first sign of appendicitis is usually a pain in the middle of your tummy that may come and go.

“Within hours, the pain travels to the lower right-hand side, where the appendix usually lies, and becomes constant and severe,” the NHS says.

“Pressing on this area, coughing or walking may make the pain worse. You may lose your appetite, feel sick and have constipation or diarrhoea.”

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