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Oliver - My stoma bag allowed me be a normal teenager again

Updated: May 12, 2021

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My stoma bag allowed me be a normal teenager again

By Oliver - @thekidwithabag

Hi I’m Ollie, just 16 years old and I’m diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Over six months ago I had major surgery to remove my colon because I was so unwell with acute colitis and no other treatments were working. It left me with a stoma bag and it saved my life.

At first I was upset and frustrated about needing stoma surgery because I thought that I may not be able to do the things I love again: play sport, go out with my mates, etc. However, as my colitis just continued to worsen and my body slowly deteriorated, I was left with little choice, I would do anything just to get better again.

In June 2020, I had my stoma surgery. The first few days were incredibly tough, painful and it was hard to adjust to the bag. However, I like to say that it is short term pain for long term gain; each day, each week I got stronger and healthier. I could put on weight again, I could sleep through the night, I could go out and after a few months and, when my nurse said so, I could start exercising and building strength and my fitness again.

I’m now over six months post op and my life is pretty normal. Obviously not perfect, but no one’s life is perfect, I guess. I returned to playing in my football team, raised over £1000 for charity, and became an ambassador for St Mark’s Hospital. I also started my social media (@thekidwithabag) to spread and raise awareness for this invisible illness and support young people like myself who have been through or are going through living with this horrible condition. I aim to give them that extra comfort and inspiration, especially at the moment in lockdown. Not many young people speak out about this topic and there’s a lot of stigma surrounding the topic so by me speaking out and spreading awareness I hope to break down those barriers.

Having a stoma bag isn’t the end of the world, it was the treatment that worked for me, made me better and a normal teenager again.

Full post reading by Jenni Pettican

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