In recent months, social media has been abuzz with pictures, videos and stories about people living with ileostomies.
Take 19-year-old Leanne Hammond. She posted a selfie that showed her ileostomy bag. Her intent was to educate people and challenge taboos about ostomy options. According to a popular women’s magazine, some 50,000 people have seen the photo.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of because it shows the battle you’ve fought! Life continues the same way as it did before ileostomy. If you are positive, anything that has the power to save your life should be flaunted!” Hammond told Cosmopolitan.
Azmina Verjee, a British women who battled Crohn’s diesease before being fitted with an ileostomy, wore a bikini in a fashion show to let people know she wanted to be asked about her bag.
“When you wear a bikini, people will stare and wonder what the ileostomy bag is. But I hope if people are curious, they will just ask me about it. When you know about something, it dispels the fear factor,” she was quoted as saying in The Mirror.
Blake Bedford, a fitness model, was featured in Muscle Fitness magazine in Oct. 2014 wearing a ileostomy bag. Bedford had spent 10 years suffering from ulcerative colitis when he underwent an ileostomy that removed much of his colon.
“For people like me who have an ostomy or IBD, it isn’t through choice. It could happen to anyone, and why should we be ashamed? Why should we hide it away and not talk about it? Why can’t we be in the public eye?” he told the Today show.
Finally, Sam Cleasby, a popular blogger and public speaker, has posted many photos of herself, both with an ileostomy bag and following a J-pouch procedure. Those photos show only the stoma that’s on her abdomen.
“When I started writing about it, there was very little information out there in terms of people’spersonal experiences and it was such a frightening time. What I really wanted was to speak to somebody who knew what it was actually like – a real person, not a doctor telling me about the medical side. Like, what it is like when you go swimming?” she told the British paper Independent.
If you’re living with Crohn’s disease, colitis or another condition that could require the removal of you colon, find reassurance in these brave individuals’ stories. And know that modern medicine offers a multitude of ileostomy options that allow you live a full, active life.
For instance, the Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir (BCIR), allows you to control waste elimination without wearing a bag, dealing with leakage or the other incoveniences that come with typical ostomies.
If you’d like to learn more about the BCIR, schedule a consultation with Dr. Don Schiller by calling 323-472-9931.