1 – My Stoma

I have a stoma; an exterior opening to my intestines through my abdomen.
My life has changed drastically, because I have a bag attached to my gut. It is a temporary stoma, and I am waiting for am operation to have it reversed soon, but I have been warned that the surgery is risky and the stoma could become permanent if there are complications.
I woke up with the stoma after surgery at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough. It was attached during one of several major operations in early 2017 to resect my intestines due to a severe flare-up of Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation in the gut. Because of the flare-up, a long, inflamed section of my small intestine was to be cut out and rejoined. It was supposed to be a fairly straightforward operation. I had undergone a similar surgery in my teenage years and was told that I would be staying in hospital for around three days.
Instead of three days I ended up staying in hospital for three months. And instead of one operation I ended up having five major surgeries, due to various complications that I experienced in theatre. I was told by surgeons during this time that the surgery had turned life-threatening, and that I was very lucky to still be alive.
The surgery saved my life, but took so much of it in return. It took my confidence, my happiness, my athletic ability and my livelihood. But I allowed it to take more than it should.

It has been a long and tough journey since Crohn’s disease had become active in my gut again. It has been difficult to talk about it to my friends and family, and until now, I had not opened up about my experience in any public way. It has not been easy to express how I feel about what happened to me. I am now writing about my experience in the hope that it may help or inspire others going through a similar ordeal, and also for my own therapy, to unburden myself and open up about the most difficult time of my life.