For the past two years I have been living with an ileostomy due to severe Ulcerative Colitis of which I was diagnosed with in 2008 at just 17 years old.

In March 2013 my condition took a turn for the worst and the idea of having major surgery and an ileostomy wasn’t the most welcomed, especially at 21 years old. Unfortunately due to the extent of my condition I had no other choice as the inflammation in my bowel was now so severe it had begun to turn toxic. The decision I faced was either have a colostomy bag or possibly lose my life to a rupturing bowel. It was either ‘a bag or a box’. I obviously choose the bag ….I was admitted into hospital one Monday evening after having a weekend of excruciating pain.

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People who have been through bowel surgery have the same nutritional needs as everyone else. You need fats, proteins, carbohydrates and an abundance of vitamins and minerals to enable your body to perform at its best. There are however additional considerations for those with a stoma and we have asked Nutritionist Jenny Phillips to advise us on some tips to make healthy eating a breeze.

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I am an energetic, enthusiastic and ambitious young woman, embracing her life with an ostomy bag and free from the pain of Ulcerative Colitis. For 14 years I suffered from crippling pain, fatigue and constant diarrhoea, battling to get through every day. I lived in fear of surgery and life with a stoma, I thought it would make me feel undesirable and disgusting and, for a long time, thought I would rather die. But last year I ran out of options and had a subtotal ileostomy, leaving me with a temporary ostomy bag. I immediately felt like a new woman. I was suddenly able to do what I wanted when I wanted instead of having my life ruled by my dodgy bowel, which often left me unable to leave the house.

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