WHEN Laura Ormiston was told she needed a pacemaker she was shocked.
When she discovered it was for her stomach she was doubly stunned.
But after suffering from up to 30 bouts of sickness every day the 19-year-old knows the medical device is a life-saver.
Laura's gastric pacemaker, which is the size of a credit card, has changed her life.
It is helping her fight a brave battle against an agonising illness which almost killed her.
The condition has seen her be sick up to 30 times a day, left her unable to eat and caused her weight to drop to seven stone.
At times she has said even said she wants to die.
But she's so fond of her pacemaker, she calls it Princess.
She said: "It's my way of dealing with it. It's not a cure, it's a symptom manager. I'm in constant pain every day.
"At times I was lying in bed saying 'Just let me die'. I said 'Don't treat me any more, just let me go'.
"But then I wake up the next day and say 'That wasn't me, that was the pain talking'.
It was in 2007, when she was 14, that Laura, from Eaglesham in East Renfrewshire first got a stabbing pain in her stomach.
It happened while she was swimming in East Kilbride, where Laura who has swum for Scotland, is a member of the Lifesaving Club.
She thought it was a stitch at first, but it got worse. She said: "It was as if somebody was standing with 10 knives stabbing me."
Her worried parents Elaine, 45, and Robert, 48, who runs a garage in the village, took her to A&E at Hairmyres Hospital numerous times.
Over the next few years puzzled doctors explored everything from appendicitis to irritable bowel syndrome, as well as kidney problems and cancer.
They even suggested to Laura that it could be all in her head.
And though they discovered she had an unrelated kidney condition, they couldn't figure out what was causing the pain, which at times left her unable to stand up.
But in February, 2010 Laura took a turn for the worse while in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
She said: "One day I fell into unconsciousness. The crash team were called, intensive care doctors and so were my mum and dad.
"I was out of it for about three days and I was moved to the high dependency unit. My body was just shutting down.
"I thought I was dead. It was only because my mum was on one side holding my hand and my dad was on the other holding my hand I realised I wasn't. I realised I had something to fight for."
Mum Elaine, said: "That was the darkest day of my life. They didn't know what was wrong with her. The doctors came to speak to Robert and me and we asked 'Is she going to be OK?' and they said 'We are doing everything'."
But Laura pulled through, and on May 10 that year surgeons opened up her abdomen, leaving her with a big scar down her front, to see if they could discover what was wrong.
They still didn't find an answer and when she woke up she was even more poorly.
For the next year she was sick up to 30 times a day. She couldn't eat or drink, and had to be fed nightly through a tube. Her weight dropped to under seven stone and she was dangerously ill.
That summer, doctors finally figured out what was wrong, after doing tests on Laura's stomach.
She has gastroparesis, paralysis of the stomach muscles, which means they don't contract in the normal way to empty food.
That August, Laura was offered a temporary gastric pacemaker. And it changed her life.
She said: "For the full six days I could eat and drink and I wasn't sick. The pacemaker has two wee wires fed into my stomach and it sets pulses and makes my stomach do what it should do."
However, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said she couldn't have the permanent version, called an enterra, until there was funding – but they don't how long it could take.
The family launched a fight, and were backed by MPS, including Jackson Carlaw, and Jim Murphy MP. Her school, her swimming club and her sister Claire all wrote to NHS bosses and Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.
Laura, said: "I was at the stage where if I didn't get it I thought I was going to die. It was the only option. I thought 'I cannot do this for the rest of my life."
Finally, the health board said the money was there, and, on April 21, 2011, she became one of the youngest of only around 50 people in the UK to have it fitted.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: "Patients referred to the gastric pacemaker service have a complex nature of conditions which may require this highly specialised surgical intervention.
"Before surgery can be considered patients undergo an extensive assessment. The reason for this extensive assessment is the highly specialist nature of the procedure and the need for the input of a very full multi-disciplinary team.
"This patient has now had a gastric pacemaker fitted and we are delighted to hear she is making good progress."
And though she is still in constant pain, which she must sometimes take morphine to handle, Laura can finally enjoy some of the things other teens take for granted.
She went to her school prom at Mearns Castle Academy and on holiday to Crete with her friends.
She can eat and drink most things and hopes to take her Highers next year at Langside College, as she missed most of 5th and 6th year at school.
She's back swimming, has just done the Race for Life, and volunteers for MS Revive. Plus, the inspiring teenager has kept a scrapbook of her illness, which can be linked to diabetes. Hospital wristbands, get well messages and photos of her in hospital as well as extracts from her diary fill the colourful pages.
Laura said it has proved a great support for her, and she now hopes to create an online version to help other sufferers.
She said: "I look at it and I think 'I've managed to get through up to now, so I will manage to get through it for another wee bit.'
"I could have been diagnosed, and thought, 'that's my life gone'. But I've decided that this is what I've got, I can't change it, I might as well make the most of it.
"I want to say thanks to my family and friends because they've been an amazing support."
Mum Elaine, said: "Laura's a very positive and caring girl.
"You can see her teenage life has been taken away from her.
"She's just amazing."
Now Laura will take part in a photoshoot to highlight her condition, which is being arranged by fellow sufferer Sam Cleal, from Essex and her daughter Alexzandra. To donate visit www.wix.com/ gpphotoshoot/donate