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‘Living with a stoma has given me back my life’: Co Down woman wants to erase stigma of colostomy bags


A younger Co Down lady who skilled repeated bowel points over quite a lot of years and was instructed she was “too younger to have bowel most cancers” as she awaited her prognosis, has spoken about dwelling with a stoma which she says gave her “my life again ”.

icky MacDowall, (32) from north Down, was recognized with ulcerative colitis and needed to have a colostomy bag — also called a stoma — fitted.

A stoma is a gap on the stomach that may be related to both your digestive or urinary system to permit waste to be diverted out of your physique.

Vicky now runs the weblog ‘My Little Stomie’ which particulars her every day actions together with images of her stoma bag to assist beat the misconceptions surrounding having the situation.

“The stigma about stomas is lifting, nevertheless it’s not the place it must be, there are nonetheless tons of people that endure in silence and who do not need to go to a physician,” stated Vicky, who says she receives messages on social media from individuals with related circumstances to herself.

She believes this implies persons are extra open to talking about bowel and digestive points, however nonetheless desires individuals to contact docs about their signs.

The attention of recognizing bowel circumstances early has been heightened by the latest loss of life of journalist and campaigner Dame Deborah James.

Dame Deborah, was recognized with bowel most cancers in December 2016, and led a marketing campaign within the months previous to her loss of life for everybody “to examine their poo” for signs of bowel issues, together with most cancers.

Vicky’s first signs started in late 2016, when she observed she wanted the toilet much more than ordinary. She then discovered it tough to foretell when she would want the bathroom.

Initially believing her points have been right down to one thing she had eaten, Vicky then started to note one of the vital outstanding warning indicators one thing additional was unsuitable in early 2017 after discovering blood in her stool.

It wasn’t till a extra severe facet impact of her situation had occurred that Vicky was lastly capable of get a prognosis for her situation.

“The day after my twenty seventh birthday I collapsed in my dad’s home, and I used to be rushed to the hospital in excruciating ache. I had misplaced a lot weight and was in a lot ache. The following morning, I woke as much as a guide who instructed me they believed I had ulcerative colitis,” stated Vicky, who was relieved to lastly get a prognosis she felt was extra correct to how she was feeling.

Ulcerative colitis is a long-term situation the place the colon and rectum grow to be infected. The situation is severe however could be managed with treatment.

Now with an correct prognosis, Vicky was capable of obtain mediation to assist handle the situation, ultimately placing it into remission.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than her points started once more, as after Vicky and her now-husband went on vacation to Jamaica, she sadly picked up a abdomen bug which led to her ulcerative colitis returning worse than earlier than.

This time her situation grew to become unmanageable by treatment, and he or she was then instructed the one factor left was to function and supply her with a stoma.

“I grew to become so sick I bought sepsis, I needed to have iron infusions, treatment administered every day and I do not know what number of tablets to push the illness into remission once more,” stated Vicky. “I simply knew my physique was giving up and I used to be instructed there was nothing else to be accomplished for me.”

She now lives a full life due to her stoma, however awaits some additional surgical procedures and he or she’s eager to stamp out any misconceptions individuals could have.

“I do know there are individuals on the market who suppose it is the worst factor that might occur to them,” Vicky added.

“Everybody might be completely different, nevertheless it’s given me my life again as a result of with out it I in all probability would not be right here.”

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