The Psychological Effects of Having a Stoma

I originally started to formulate ideas for this post last weekend when I was feeling pretty low. I had been discharged from hospital and was the reality of everything was hitting home. There were so many things going through my mind that were being amplified by feeling unwell. I was going to compose the post, which would have overall been very negative, but instead I decided to take a step back, wait and try to turn the negatives into positives.

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Electing to Have Surgery

At some point up to 75% of Crohn’s sufferers will have surgery of some form either by electing to have the procedure or having it due to complications.

Surgery will remove infected parts of the intestine but will not cure the disease but for many people it will improve their quality of life and allow them to return to normal activities.

IBD is a disease that you never wanted and wished every day you never had and having surgery to change the way your body functions, particularly if you elect to have it, is a big decision. But, at some point you feel enough is enough and it’s time to start pooping a different way.

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My Crohn’s History

When you have been living with a chronic disease for such a long time, it’s hard to recall what life was like before but you never forget the day you are diagnosed with one.

The Day You Discover You’ve Got a Disease for Life

It was 2002 and was in my early 20s and I started my journey to IBD with frequent visits to the toilet and the usual things that end up in the toilet. Faced with a potentially lengthy time waiting to see a gastroenterologist, I opted to go private for the initial diagnosis.

The specialist I saw (I still see the same doctor to this day under the NHS!) performed a flexible Sigmoidoscopy and was quickly able to diagnose IBD. I can vividly remember the diagnosis and he was very upfront about the fact that I had an incurable disease and would be on medication for the rest of my life. From then onwards, things would be different.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

I left accepting what I had been told but I there was a lot to process. IBD comes with many symptoms and at some point and I would get to experience many of them at some point in the future and probably at the same time. I would become a regular at the hospital. I would have to numerous and regular blood tests, MRI and CT scans, colonoscopies, Sigmoidoscopies, bone density scans. I would have to work my through medications that go in both ends to work out which worked best for me. I would have to get to experience abscesses, fistulas, mouth ulcers, pain, discomfort and the toilet would become my second home. On some occasions I’d never make it to my second home in time.

I cried!

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