Can I give u an injection in your leg? You can stick it in my eye if it will help the pain.
I can remember looking at my twin sister at only 14 years old and thinking I don’t care if I don’t see the morning. It had taken many months of being in pain every minute of every day to reach this emotional low point and to this day I think maybe my own family didn’t realise just how ready to give in I was. I’m a fighter you see, the strong willed person who through the pain always has a smile on her face. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 12, 6 months before my mum died, all in all a pretty duff year wouldn’t you say. I had several flare ups from this time up until the age of 18.
I’ve tried every medication possible suffered from all of the side effects they carry, sat and cried on the toilet more times than you could probably imagine, in fact I found a diary once that said: Breakfast, nothing. Lunch: half a slice of toast, Dinner: 2 biscuits. I’d visited the toilet 14 times during the day, 8 times through the night and vomited 12 times. At the bottom of the page it read “Not such a bad day today”. This wasn’t a sarcastic remark but an honest statement.
Over 7 years with every flare up I had immense pain, trying to live as normal a life as possible while being spaced out on various painkillers. That’s if I could brave leaving the house, I couldn’t move a step without being knowing exactly where the nearest toilet was. Throughout this time I managed to get 11 GCSE’s, and 3 and a half A-levels, I got the qualifications I needed to go to Uni.
Going to Uni was great fun, up ‘til all hours, happy hour, netball socials, assignment stress, in fact it provided the perfect cocktail to insure I had my worst flare up to date. I dropped out of Uni and ended up dropping down to 5 and a half stone, at 5’ 8” I looked emaciated. No medication was going to help me now and I ended up being prepped for surgery. It was a devastating feeling when even though I desperately needed surgery, due to my tiny weight the surgeon refused to operate. He was convinced that I was at too much of a risk of post op complications. I was fitted with a nasogastric tube and fed 24 hours a day with a high protein feed, several weeks later when I’d almost reached 6 stone the surgeon finally gave in.
I was given many possible outcomes of what they might do in theatre, to be honest with you I didn’t care. I did in fact wake up with an ileostomy and a vertical scar from an open wound. I couldn’t wait to change my bag, just to show I could, I was eager to go home. From the May to the September I’d been in hospital for all but probably two weeks. I couldn’t wait to get on with my life and I wanted to do it there and then!
Changing my bag now is as second nature as going for a wee, I’ve now got a degree and a brilliant career in a fast paced and stressful environment. I spend all day on my feet and just haven’t looked back. I’ve been on holidays abroad and absolutely love camping in the UK.
I have recently modelled in an Underwear and Swimwear show for a charity called Ostomy Lifestyle, where i had to walk down a catwalk wearing a tiny and very revealing underwear set! and do you know what? it didn’t phase me as I knew that with my hair curled, a full face of make up and with a 5’8”, size 8 figure, I knew no one was looking at the bag on my stomach and more to the point I didn’t care if they were!.
You can watch my video interview for Ostomy Lifestyle below.
I hope in doing it I made at least one person realise that after stoma surgery you can still look and feel amazing in your own skin.
From personal experience I know there has been several times that through the pain and the numerous humiliating toilet visits I didn’t care if I didn’t live to see another day. Now I’ve fought through and regained complete control over my life through the formation of my ileostomy.
I can now face every day with a smile, and I can honestly say right now I’m enjoying every minute.