Through blogging I have met some incredible and brave people. During the course of me appearing on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show, I met Jamie. He lives not far from me which was an obvious starting point for a conversation. He has become a good friend and is always there for a chat and check in. I asked Jamie if he would answer some questions about himself and his diagnosis/surgery from a male perspective. He kindly agreed and so here we go!
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your diagnosis?
My name is Jamie & I am living in Derby. I am a massive football fan & love teaching it and playing. I an a laid back person who is ambitious. I was told I have Ulcerative Colitis over 8 years ago. All the symptoms started with me injuring my toe nail & being on a long course of antibiotics. The bleeding & constant toilet trips all happened a few weeks after my toe nail surgery.
What surgery have you had as a result of your IBD?
I had my surgery October 5th 2016 for my stoma & left my rectal stump in, in case I wanted a j-pouch created. My surgery was planned after all medications were tried & failed. I was at the stage where I couldn’t go on with the pain and was bed bound.
How did you feel when you were told you would need a stoma formed?
That first moment I was told I would be having a stoma, I just didn’t take it all in & I felt so scared. I was thinking does it stink and how will I live a normal life? Then the stoma nurse explained everything and I felt so much better. Of course I was still scared but at the same time I was now prepared for a new life with my stoma.
Do you suffer with nay other health problems connected to your IBD?
I suffer with depression from IBD & surgery for my stoma. A month in hospital with 2 operations & not getting answers just really knocked me down. I am now on anti-depressants which are helping.
What do you think are some of the issues men face when dealing with this illness/surgery?
The issues I feel for myself & other men with a stoma or illness is confidence in going out places. For example – can anyone see my bag & what do I wear? Also dating is scary. Explaining you have an illness or a stoma & getting into a sexual relationship is difficult to navigate. The first time you have sex after surgery is a big step.
What advice would you give to others facing ostomy surgery?
Advice I would give for anyone having surgery is it isn’t the end of the world having a bag. You still can be normal & achieve anything in life. It won’t be easy, but in my case I have become a much stronger person & my confidence is so much better. Also, good support groups are around online. The IBD & Ostomy Support Show I think is amazing on YouTube, as well as the group on Facebook.
You have more surgery planned. What is next for you?
I have surgery planned for June which is the rectal stump removal to make my bag permanent. I have been told if I have a J-pouch made it would just collapse.
Have you continued doing the things you did before surgery since having your stoma?
Since my first surgery it took some time but I’m basically doing most of the stuff I did before. Playing football was a big one but I did that & was so happy. I would advise whatever you do just rest after you have done it. But yeah, I can do anything I used to do since surgery. I started my blog from seeing yourself & others share their stories. I just wanted to share my experiences and what I went through & if it helps just one person then I am happy.
Please get in touch if you have a story to tell. I would love to share other Spoonies and parents stories over the coming months, just fill out the form and I will email you back as soon as I can