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.