Lucia Novekova

My name is Lucia Novekova at the age of 21 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

I had never heard of this disease, my consultant said that I would have to undergo an endoscopy and it revealed that 15 cm of my colon was affected. My first question was: “What caused this disease?” The Consultant told me that it was not known why ulcerative colitis occurs, but stress was a cause. For the first month I took steroids, and although my condition improved unfortunately my confidence was shattered by a moon face (after the medication my face swelled like a full moon).

In 2004 I decided to take up a position inbox the UK but within a month and a half I was admitted to a hospital in Wales, with a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis.. The doctor in charge of my case in the hospital attributed the change to eating habits and a lot of stress and I was placed on steroids again. Following my stay in the hospital, I managed to get a job in London, which I greatly enjoyed. Just a year and a few months after this experience I began to feel quite ill. I started to bleed, had high fever and I got an appointment with the gastroenterologist after inspecting my colon he found that I had another relapse and I was admitted to hospital.

My health deteriorated and the consultant proposed surgery, I was scared and refused but after long hard days, many transfusions and streams of tears I finally said yes and the surgeon performed the stoma operation which was followed by months of convalescent. During this time I learned to cope with a stoma, and I was extremely grateful to one nurse, who stood patiently with me preparing me for life with a stoma.

She informed me of all the possible problems and I felt that my stoma will be temporary and in only a few months I would be back to normal. She gave me a lot of information to study brochures and assured me that even with a stoma although my life would change I would be able to do things as before, and she was right. She also recommended the web page of the English Association of stoma patients to me which I found at that time very valuable because it helped me overcome a lot of problems that occurred after surgery.

Once everything settled down, I felt great relief that I did not have to take the tablets any more and the bleeding had subsided. Slowly I managed to gain weight as I prepared for another surgery. I was talking with a member of the English Association on the topic of motherhood and the fact that I was young and childless and was recommended to have the surgery after pregnancy.

Although I had no partner at the time I thought about the situation and decided not to undergo further surgery and would wait to see what happened, I hated the stoma obstruction it did not make my situation any easier especially in developing any romantic relationships but my open nature and accepting things as they are have brought into my life two serious relationships both with partners that did not mind my stoma and occasionally even made it fun.

In the first relationship I had wanted and longed for baby together and soon became pregnant, but unfortunately our son died when he had reached the 8th month of pregnancy. With the pain of loss and remorse I split with my partner. Then my current boyfriend came into my life (it has been 2 years now), who takes me as I am and if you asked him what he thinks about my stoma, his reply would be: “It is not important how a person looks, but how they think and how they treat other people.

My Stoma has become part of my life. My life is not simple, but I can handle each situation as it arises. I have no regrets thanks to that nurse who told me when I was coming to terms with the stoma, that in this world there is nothing more important than good health…. I’m glad I had people around me who supported and stood by me both before and after surgery, without them I probably would not have been able to handle it so well.

My aim in the future is to help not only people with a stoma, but to all who will need my help. To people who have surgery or are awaiting surgery, I hope this article will give a basis for understanding, help in overcoming some of the problems you are facing and help to give a source of energy and wellbeing.

Lucia

“Health is our greatest asset not a pile of gold and silver”.
Mahatma Gandhi