Living with colitis
When I first started getting regular bouts of diarrhoea, about 15 years ago, I put it down to a bad lifestyle.
But after my eldest daughter was born 12 years ago, I became so ill that I lost loads of weight and was continually on the loo. Not really what you want when you’re a new mum. Eventually, I was referred to a specialist who diagnosed ulcerative colitis. It’s where the colon spasms, sending the food you’ve just eaten straight out.
Over the next year, I was hospitalised several times and put on drips. A year later, my ulcerative colitis was so severe that I had an operation called a total colectomy, where my whole colon was removed.For about a year after that, I had to wear an ileostomy bag to collect the waste food. It tucked under my clothes, and I had a nurse who visited me at home to help me cope.
But it was still a nightmare. The bag needed changing every couple of hours. Then I had another op that used the end of my small bowel to form a new back passage, in order to replace the one that had been removed. It meant I could go to the loo ‘normally’ again.
Unfortunately, the op didn’t work as well as it should and I’m still on steroids.Nobody knows what brought on my ulcerative colitis, I’ve just had to learn to cope. Luckily, my husband has a great sense of humour and helps me see the funny side if I have an accident. My kids are great, too. We often end up doing homework in the toilet!
Ulcerative colitis is debilitating and, if you have it, you need to be monitored for bowel cancer. But however bad it gets, I’m proof you can cope!
Yvon Sutton, 46, Flamstead, Hertfordshire
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