32 years of Crohn's...Ileostomy at Age 48

I'm a "crohnsie" of 32 years...more than half my life. Diagnosed at 16. With ulcerative colitis showing up now and then. But I've been blessed to have had three successful pregnancies and three beautiful healthy children.

I finally ended up with an ileostomy in May of this year with my 5th obstruction in five years since my last bowel resection in 2011. So it was time to just call it and get the bag.

It's a tough learning curve and adjustment even from a nutritional and hydration standpoint. It took a week post surgery because my intestines had an ileus for a week after surgery and basically didn't want to wake up. So I could not be on anything but TPN for nutrition. By May 22 thank God the NG tube was out, real food was starting and that catheter in my stoma had jump started my intestines to wake up.

Home a week, but lost five pounds in five days. Severely dehydrated...so three days back in the hospital to make sure I didn't have renal failure. Going home today and drinking lots of rehydration formula and/or other electrolyte beverages.

Thank you Aimee Rouski and many others for being so brave to share your story. The UK Crohn's and Colitis foundation seems to have a lot more people that are open about it. I think the people here need to not panic or freak out when they see someone with an unusual apparatus for a disability.

I fully plan to continue to wear bikinis, show my tattoos (which covered prior surgery scars) and proudly wear my bag as a badge of courage because anyone fighting any illness to lead the life they want to have ought to be admired, respected and applauded.

These invisible illnesses such as Crohn's and other auto immune diseases make us suffer plenty. But it's not obvious to the outside person just how serious these illnesses can be or what people have gone through or will.

Stay strong. You're beautiful. Be a fighter.

We have no other choice. #crohnswarrior #crohnsdisease.

We are not defined by our illness unless we let ourselves be.

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