My journey with my internal pouch (j-pouch) has not been without its ups and downs.
Constructed and connected across 2 operations in 2016, it all started in 2012 with an emergency sub-total collectomy for severe Ulcerative Colitis. After 4 years living with an ileostomy bag it was supposed to be the happy ending to my story.
But I've learnt that pouchie life is not altogether straightforward. First up, despite having my anatomy reconnected, I can assure you that I 100% definitely do not poo like a 'normal' person! 💩
I've been in and out of A&E and I've lost count of the number of excruciatingly painful bowel obstructions I've had over the past 3 years. In the end adhesions caused by my previous three bowel ops led me to need a further adhesiolysis surgery in 2017. That brings the grand total number of surgeries I've had to endure so far to 4... Five if you count my 2015 ceserean, which I definitely do!
In amongst all this my pursuit of running - and long-held dream of completing a marathon - understandabley took a back seat. That is until I decided earlier this year that I'd be damned if my bloody health problems are going to take something else from me!
So in a moment of rare energy and enthusiasm I signed up for the Vitality 10k, printed off a training plan and to the cheer of Cleo shouting, "Run faster Mummy", I set off running again.
Despite physically not being altogether in the best of shape I know that, on the days that I do feel up to it, stepping out for a run makes me feel like me again. Running makes me feel fit, healthy and alive.
Despite everything I know life is still good. Really good.
The Red Lion Group are a really small, volunteer lead charity who I first engaged with just over a year ago when I attended one of their annual Information Days at St Marks Hospital. Connecting with fellow pouchies - along with their friends and family - definitely helped both Nick and I feel less alone in our situation. Plus, knowledge is power when you are dealing with doctors and medical specialists. Information gleened from the Red Lion Information Days have help me ensure that I am in control of my own healthcare.
Everyone's experience of living with a pouch is different. As the charity grows they also hope to donate more funds for research, to understand pouches with their quirks and to ensure all us pouchies live our best life.
So, thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.... and for making it to the end of my spiel! I assure you that the Red Lion Group will benefit hugely from every donation recieved.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.