Samantha was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis earlier this year, and underwent surgery to have a stoma fitted only 10 days after this diagnosis. Samantha has very kindly written up her experience for me to share!
Samantha, 29, Ulcerative Colitis. Writing is my passion – I’m an editor of a lifestyle magazine (@societyabdn if you want a nosy) and assistant editor of a local newspaper.
Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis and Surgical Intervention
Currently I’m in week 8 of recovery since having my ileostomy surgery. Although I am still in shock at having to have surgery only 10 days after being diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, I’m taking this recovery time to enjoy life at a slower pace and taking advantage of being able to to be a stay-at-home mum with my four-year-old son.
I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in July this year. My symptoms began completely out of the blue in March. Prior to this year I had suffered with bloating, but it was nothing that disrupted my day-to-day life or caused any real concern. In March I started finding that poo would practically “leak” from me when I went for a pee. This progressed to bouts of diarrhoea every single day.
Then I started having diarrhoea anywhere from 6-10 times a day and every time I passed a lot of blood. I was completely drained, fatigued, and then the urgency and pain reared their ugly heads. By my birthday at the end of June I rarely left the house for fear of having an accident. I gave up gluten, dairy, every kind of junk food… but nothing helped. My doctors diagnosed me with everything from anxiety, stress, piles to IBS. I knew something was seriously wrong and I was so frustrated with my doctors. To be honest, I thought I had bowel cancer. My nerves and anxiety were completely shook. Eventually, an out of hours doctor admitted me to hospital (even though one day prior I was told by another doctor that I wasn’t ill enough to go to hospital!). From there I was diagnosed with UC and because steroids and biologics didn’t make any difference, my colon was removed on July 21.
Having a stoma absolutely has shook my body confidence. I’m still learning so much about the whole IBD journey as it’s all so new, but Instagram and people sharing their stories has really helped me to slowly rebuild my confidence. I won’t lie, I’m still rebuilding my body confidence now too. But at the end of the day, my stoma is just one small part of my body. I read that somewhere and it really struck a chord with me – it’s literally tiny. Why should I let one tiny part of my body which only I see affect my confidence so much? I shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect my confidence, but it helps to put things in perspective for me. My body has not only fought to keep my alive, but it’s also given me my amazing son who is 4. So for that, I love my stretch marks, scars and slowly, yeah I love my stoma too! I love it because it’s allowed me to continue being a mum to my little boy. ❤️
I’m only week 8 post surgery and I’ve already been out to a restaurant, gone for walks, taken my son to the park and booked a trip away next week. I never say this, but right now, considering how new I am to UC and stoma life, I’m pretty proud of myself. I have an amazing support network of friends and family, but I know my mum in particular was worried I might crumble after having my surgery. I haven’t – okay, don’t get me wrong, I’ve cried many days – but I’m not about to let this disease or new world I’m faced with destroy me. No way.
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