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Half a year with an ostomy already?

My names Danielle I’m 21 and I’m from South Wales, and like the title says I’ve had an Ileostomy for 6 months. I was born with imperforate anus, at 24 hours old I had to have surgery for a pull-through and was given a Colostomy bag till the age of 3. Obviously I don’t remember any of that but my mother chose for me to have the colostomy reversed and I’m so glad she did! Even though the outcome has given me an ileostomy, I honestly wouldn’t change anything!

As a child I had laxatives on prescription and frequent enemas. These were given to me to help me deal with everyday life. I never made a fuss as I didn’t know any different.

As an adult, my chronic constipation got harder to handle and I ended up having to use anal irrigation, which was not fun at all! At the age of 20 I never felt so down and sick.  I couldn’t believe everything that was happening to me at such a young age.

In August 2014 I was admitted to hospital due to chronic constipation and for 3 weeks I had to have 3 enemas a day and laxatives, I also had to go under anaesthetic twice for manual evacuation (which didn’t work) it was the worst experience of my life. In the end, I was told they had to cut a mass out of my colon and I was going to have an Ileostomy.

I lay in my hospital bed crying for hours it sounded horrendous, all I could think of was ‘old people have these, not people my age’. After surgery I wouldn’t even look at my bag because I just didn’t want to see it! But in all honesty it wasn’t that scary after all.

The first few weeks were tough. I had to get used to this huge change and recovering from my surgery.

To add to the situation my boyfriend booked a holiday months before this all happened, for 2 months after the surgery, how on earth was I supposed to go on holiday and actually enjoy it with this bag? Thankfully my holiday was great and I really enjoyed myself, despite my new bag.

From having my bag I have learnt that preparation is key! Always prepare for the worst, even though it is rare for the worst to happen.

I’ve also learnt that there is so much support online I don’t know what I would have done without it! I’ve talked to so many young adults going through the same thing as me and it has really helped. You must remember you are never alone!

I started 2015 off with my 21st birthday. I would never have thought I would be celebrating my 21st with an Ileostomy bag, I still went out for food and went out partying with friends and I had a great time! Your social life doesn’t disappear when you have an ostomy, if anything a new, better life is about to begin!

If I had the choice again, I would choose to have a bag, rather than having laxatives and enemas on a daily basis. I never thought I would see the day where I don’t take medication at all, it’s amazing!

Date: 1st April 2015  
Author: Danielle (21)

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