Living with a Stoma at 18

I’m Lucy, 18 years old and living with a stoma bag.

After months of guessing what was wrong with me, in 2013 I was diagnosed with an invisible illness known as ulcerative colitis. However, never did I believe in 5 years time I would have needed a stoma (Syrell as named by my surgeon) to save my life.

I had started noticing symptoms around October but nothing too serious to stop me from going about my daily life. As a result, I had a few of my medications changed around. But December 14th saw the day that started two months from hell. I left work early thinking I was coming down with the flu, got home and all my symptoms came back at once; projectile vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and tiredness.

I ended up in the hospital 6 days before Christmas being treated with IV antibiotics, fluids, and steroids. We went home Christmas Eve, luckily I had somewhat of a Christmas (meaning I managed to get through the day without being sick) but a couple of days later my symptoms relapsed.

After being sick on my 18th for all the wrong reasons and having a birthday meal of soup, I went back into hospital on the 10th January for what we thought was going to be a week of feeding tubes and IV steroids and more fluids. However, a colonoscopy on 12th January left me with a ruptured colon, meaning I had to undergo an emergency surgery once doctors found out the cause of my agony was a perforation. Of course, being a typical 18-year-old, my main concern was what a stoma would look like but my amazing team of surgeons came round at 4 am to promise me I could still wear skinny jeans and leggings, and that they’d place it in accordance with my jeans.

Following my surgery, I spent a few days in ICU, I had to learn how to walk again because I’d become so weak, had to gain almost 15kg in weight I’d lost,  I was also lucky enough to get norovirus, pass out a few times, have my electrolytes all go off balance and go into an anaphylactic shock from an anti-sickness drug. Safe to say I had my fair share of problems in the hospital, but I’m incredibly grateful for the life a stoma has given me at the moment, not to say when Syrell is reversed within a year I’ll miss him, but I don’t mind him being around for now. 

 

4 Comments

  1. March 11, 2018 / 6:01 pm

    Your story is similar to mine right before Christmas, had perforated large intestine, agonizing pain, and I too required rehab.
    I have wanted to start my own blog and share my journey. You Lucy and Syrell have inspired me. I have already gone through reversal (RIP Lized 18 Dec 16 – 30 Jan 18).
    Lized saved my life!
    My diagnosis is diverticulitis. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing your story it isn’t easy but it’s therapeutic for you and others who follow! Stay positive! Take care and look forward to hearing how your journey goes! Best of luck!

    • Lucyofrost
      Author
      March 11, 2018 / 6:51 pm

      Thank you so much!
      I wish you well without Lized!

  2. Herb Tusk
    March 26, 2018 / 3:19 am

    Dear Lucy,
    May I suggest that you join our forum called VeganOstomy.ca. it is run by a wonderful fellow, Eric. Besides the benefits of discussions about coping, it is heartwarming to realize that you are not alone.
    I have made many friends on the forum who have a common denominator. We are all ostomates.

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