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11 Things You Only Know When You Have An Ostomy In Your 20s

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11 Things You Only Know When You Have An Ostomy In Your 20s

11 Things You Only Know When You Have An Ostomy In Your 20s, Following emergency bowel surgery six months ago, 20-year-old Hattie was fitted with an ileostomy bag, which has to be emptied several times a day. Here's what she's learnt since then.

In January 2015 I underwent emergency surgery for an ileostomy bag, after being misdiagnosed by doctors three times before finally being admitted. I’d initially been admitted with suspected appendicitis, but after having key hole surgery for my appendix to be removed, the problem still hadn’t be solved. Five days later and I’m being rushed down to theatre with doctors shoving papers at me for me to sign, to give them permission to operate on me. I was hours from death. A four hour surgery and a bucket of morphine later, I awoke to see my family and boyfriend next to me.

I didn’t understand had happened. I didn’t want to. But of course, it was impossible for me to avoid the situation. I peered down to my stomach to see a large swollen scar running down my abdomen, alongside a beige bag that was stuck firmly onto the right bottom half of my stomach. Tears ran down my face as reality sunk in. I’d been given a stoma. I didn’t know anything about stomas, and it scared the hell out of me.

If you don’t know much about ileostomy, or stomas, here’s a little info for you. A stoma is a surgically created opening in the abdomen, for where your waste comes out. They removed my large intestine, so didn’t have a fully functioning digestive system. So what they did was bring the end of my smaller intestine outside of the abdomen, and stitched it in place. They then covered that end with an ileostomy bag which catches the waste, and that bag is emptied several times throughout the day.

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