"I've always had stomach troubles, but doctors put it down to having irritable bowel syndrome. After New Year, I developed horrendous cramps and woke up one morning in agony and unable to move. Doctors were perplexed, so they opened me up to investigate.
During surgery, my large intestine unexpectedly split and I nearly died on the operating table. When I came round from the anaesthetic, I had a stoma, which is where the small or large intestine is pulled through to the outside of the stomach, and a bag is attached to collect bodily waste.
I was finally diagnosed with Hirschsprung's disease, which affects the large intestine causing severe constipation or intestinal obstruction. I had developed it in the womb and it could have surfaced at any time.
After that day, I had to learn to walk again, all the while dealing with intense anger, feeling ugly and worrying what people would think. I lashed out at my family and boyfriend through pure frustration at having to wear a bag.
One common myth is that people with bags don't have sex at all. I even found a Facebook group set up to determine how many people would go through with a one-stand if they discovered the person they brought home had a colostomy bag! It really pissed me off as it's such a negative view of the condition, and my sex life hasn't been affected at all. The other myth is that because we have to shit in a bag, we must smell and are dirty. In reality, the bag is really clean and hides well. Some people also think it's only old people fitted with bags, but newborn babies can have them, so it really touches all ages.
It shouldn't be a taboo subject and I want to people to ask questions and understand it better. That's why I posted a picture of me modelling my bag to my blog on YourBizarre. It's the first picture I've really put out there. I was expecting loads of negative comments, but everyone on the site has been so supportive!
Those of us who wear bags are not disgusting and can still be attractive, fun and confident. Initially I thought it was the end of the world, but now I feel more confident than ever before. I just want people to get talking about it positively."
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