In October 2015 I underwent surgery to re-connect my small bowel to my rectum after Ulcerative Colitis murdered my large intestine.
I’d had an ileostomy bag for 10 months, and I felt ready to go under the knife once more to have my reversal.
I prepared myself to feel emotional once waking up – and sure enough I did, stirring from the anaesthetic to see a bare, bag-less stomach; skin flat underneath the bandages left from the operation.
I was excited. I didn’t mind having a bag physically – it didn’t bother me seeing it in the mirror and I sure as hell didn’t let it affect my sex life – but I was suffering from constant bag leaks, which would burn my skin and leave the area around and underneath the bag red raw.
I was excited to not have to get up extra early to change my bag and to make several attempts at cutting a secure fit to prevent those leaks.
I was excited to not have to wear support pants to keep the bag safely tucked into my skinny jeans.
I was excited to not have to use the disabled toilets anymore, and to avoid the stares that came from customers who didn’t know the meaning of ‘invisible illness’.
But boy, was I wrong.