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Oh boy, this isn’t a pretty blog post today. Scroll on past if this isn’t your thing! I know I can be an over-sharer, but I actually find it helpful to me. Some people will say “keep that crap to yourself” and that’s ok, but personally I like to share – it makes me feel a bit better and a bit lighter…

So I’ve had Crohn’s Disease for almost 22 years. I’ve had some ups and downs. I have some healthy times and some shitty times (haha, good pun!). I’m not embarrassed about it, nor do I ever want people to feel sorry for me. It is what it is and I want to live my true life (not just the pretty pictures you see on Instagram or this blog). Plus I decided to be a national ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia back in 2012, so I feel pretty passionate about sharing my story in the hope that maybe someone else who is struggling with this invisible illness doesn’t feel so alone, or down in the dumps.

Now that I’ve got the justification of why I share out of the way…

Last week I headed to North Shore Private Hospital to have an MRI, colonoscopy, endoscopy and iron infusion. Long story short, I have been to hospital I think 9 times in 18 months to have abscesses flushed and IV antibiotics. I have lost some weight, become anemic and I am generally unwell.

I knew that colostomy surgery was inevitable and I am ok with that. It’s a pretty common operation, and after 22 years I knew that having a bag was on the cards.

Before anyone mentions that I should change my diet (!), I don’t have crohn’s higher in my bowel. I used to. But over the last few years I have suffered from perianal crohn’s. I have irreversible damage, unforgiving abscesses and a lot of setons in situ.

So here’s what I am having done in the next few months… I’m having a proctecomy and colostomy surgery. It’s a bloody big operation and I am not feeling so great about this one. Google if you have to, but it’s not glamorous. It’s pretty foul actually and I am not rapt about it. It means two weeks in a Sydney hospital and a few months recovery. The bottom line is that I will no longer have a rectum, I’ll be sewn up and the diseased area will be gone. I know I need this to happen. And I am sure by this time next year I will be so glad it’s done. It’s permanent, so this is fully life changing.

I am yet to discuss all the finer details and timings with my surgeon. I know it will be done some time within the next 6 months. I am hoping for early next year. I am still getting my head around it all. BUT I AM OK. I really am.

I have read and researched this over and over. I do have a lot of questions for my surgeon but I will work it all out.

I have thought more about the pros of having this done than the cons…

Here are some pros –

  • I can leave my house for more than a few hours at a time without worrying about where the toilets are
  • I can go camping with my boys
  • I will spend less on toilet paper (I think I’ll buy myself a bunch of flowers every week with that extra money as a treat!)
  • I won’t be caught in situations where I have to get home to shower in the day because I can’t hold it as well as I used to
  • I will hopefully have more energy
  • I can be more hydrated with less dry skin
  • I will no longer live on panadol to bring my low-grade temp down every day

I think they are pretty worthy pros. I am sure after all these years I deserve to feel a little better.

My husband is the best human alive. He really is. I don’t know how I got so lucky. I believe he was sent to look after me. He does not bat an eyelid and takes on more than most blokes. I am so grateful.

Anyway, thanks for reading if you’re still here. I also hope I haven’t scared anyone who may be struggling with Crohn’s! Because everyone’s disease is different, so I don’t want everyone to think this will happen to them. Because it doesn’t. I get emails and messages all the time from people with Crohn’s suffering through their own symptoms. I just want people who have this nasty disease to feel a little comfort in knowing that yes it’s a struggle, but managing it and living a full life can also be done.

Thanks for reading today. ♥ KC.

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176 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lisa Brauer

    October 18, 2017

    Wishing you all the very best with your treatment Katrina ❤️ As a sufferer of UC for 40 years I can truly understand your pain and lifestyle, it aint much fun that’s for sure. It’s a long story but for the last four years I have been finally free of any symptoms, it still feels like a miracle! I am truly grateful every day to be rid of this disease and I hope you too can enjoy life feeling healthier and stronger xxx

  2. Reply

    Nat Holmes

    October 18, 2017

    Thank you for the honesty. How scary but you’re taking it with great aplomb by sharing (it’s not an overshare!) I sincerely hope it goes well.
    You are an inspiration xx

  3. Reply

    Craig Henderson

    October 18, 2017

    Gees best of luck with it Katrina. Until I read your story I had no idea just how serious Crohns can become.

    • Reply

      Katrina Chambers

      October 18, 2017

      Thanks Craig, not fun, but I’ll be fine. Hope you are well! X

  4. Reply

    Kylie Armstrong

    October 18, 2017

    Hi Katrina – I’ve had a permanent colostomy for just over 7 years (not due to crohns; bowel cancer)….your fantastic attitude will definitely stand you in good stead for the change I hope it brings you a much better quality of life. I have been very fortunate with mine – hardly any issues and I forget it’s even there now. All the best

    • Reply

      Katrina Chambers

      October 18, 2017

      Thanks so much. X

  5. Reply

    Leah Quantrell

    October 18, 2017

    You can do it!
    I look after colostomies every day and patients having this surgery. You will blitz this!

  6. Reply

    Suella Hill

    October 19, 2017

    Hi Katrina I am sorry to hear that you have been so unwell again, I know this operation must be so overwhelming for you but stay positive because you have a wonderful support group of family and friends and many followers behind you every step of the way and with your strength and determination you will be back on your feet living your busy life again with Andrew and the boys in no time. You are such a beautiful strong and caring person Katrina you always put on a happy face and never complain you just get on with what ever life has in stall for you, so this hurdle will be no different than before except this time it will be the best thing ever for you and your health.
    I will be thinking of you Katrina and checking in with mum to see how things are progressing wishing you love and all the best of health xo

    • Reply

      Katrina

      October 19, 2017

      Thanks so much Sue. I’ll be ok, have had time to get my head around it. Just anxious to get it going! XXX

  7. Reply

    Lyndal Kilgannon

    October 18, 2017

    Thinking of you KC – thank you for being so open and sharing x

  8. Reply

    Maureen Ellis

    October 19, 2017

    Wow Katrina this is big! You will come through this with flying colours, I have no doubt about that. Thank you for sharing with all of us who love your blog and Instagram posts. Once the operation is done your new “true life” will be amazing! My thoughts and prayers will be with you all the way.

  9. Reply

    Jenny

    October 19, 2017

    Hi Katrina – Thanks for sharing your story! Sounds like your three boys and your hubby are your biggest fans and supporters but just know that your social and digital groupie are right here for you to share, dump, moan, whine, laugh and comment with anytime you like! As I say to my daughter , your mark on this life will be remembered not by how you managed things when everything was rosy but how you rose to the top and fought like a tiger when the mountain seemed a little insurmountable …..take care, be kind to yourself and yes buy those flowers every week!! Thinking of you Jenny (Sydney)

  10. Reply

    Sharyn Ahern

    October 19, 2017

    Thank you for having such a positive outlook and for raising awareness. My son has UC and PSC ( he is now 10, dx at 7 years). It is well controlled with medication but I hope he has exactly the same attitude as you do in 22 years

  11. Reply

    Lisa Wood

    October 19, 2017

    Don’t know what to say, wow , best of luck with it all and hope it does make life so much better than what you are currently experiencing. Xx

  12. Reply

    Kerrie-Lee Workman

    October 19, 2017

    Hi Katrina
    I am saddened to hear that your health has deteriorated further and that you will require a colostomy. Your attitude towards this
    inevitable procedure is commendable, and I have absolutely no doubt that you will not let is slow you down mentally nor physically. Your courage openly discussing your illness is educational for those both with and without experiencing it personally. I wish you and your family all the best in the future, and hope it gives you the improvement in health and lifestyle that you deserve. x KL

  13. Reply

    Nic Shaw

    October 19, 2017

    My heart absolutely broke reading this Katrina. I actually cried my eyes out & I just read it to my sister & cried again .
    You are so incredibly amazing . Words really cannot adequately describe you .
    You are brave & courageous.
    You put things into perspective, you really do.
    Thankyou for sharing xx

    • Reply

      Katrina Chambers

      October 19, 2017

      Oh Nic! Don’t be sad! I’m lying on my bed waving to you across the street. I’ll be ok lovely. Promise.

    • Reply

      Nic Shaw

      October 19, 2017

      Katrina Chambers
      Don’t forget we are only across the road … anything we can do to help out ,, we are more then happy xx

  14. Reply

    Belinda Piffero

    October 20, 2017

    Hope your recovery from the surgery, whenever you have it, is smooth and you enjoy those weekly flowers x

  15. Reply

    Anna-Lucia Bell

    October 21, 2017

    You’re going to be a different person. I have had colitis my whole life and have had a temporary Ileostomy ( no large bowel). I never felt better. More freedom with less need for toilet searches. No doubt will need it permanently one day but my head needs to get back in the right space. A supportive husband is a must. All the best to you x

  16. Reply

    Jenni from styling curvy

    October 25, 2017

    Gosh this is pretty big and I bet a little scary but if your quality of life is improved it needs to be done. Bravo for sharing and wishing you well x

  17. Reply

    aussiebushgirl

    October 26, 2017

    My dad had a bag and he managed just fine with it. The biggest hurdle for him to overcome initially was the stitching which kept popping each time he involuntarily ‘pressed down’. It took a very long time to heal. The other issue he worried about was hygiene and noise. If you’re not quick enough to empty the bag, it can smell! In the end he accepted that he’d have to wear this for the rest of his life, and he did quite well with it. Perhaps newer versions will pop up in the near future. I remember 30 years ago a boyfriend’s mother having a bag, and comparing hers with the newer and improved version my dad wore, his was far superior. My advice is to take it in your stride and focus more on the positives than any of the negatives you may hear. Sending healing hugs and strength your way. xo

  18. Reply

    Cheryle D

    October 28, 2017

    Hello, I’m a crohn’s suffer for the last 30 years , and presently going through a rough trot .. 3 resection in the past no bag as yet.. was given a card to say I need the loo more than you but when in a line up I’m not sure others would take notice.. lol.. I hope you recover ASAP you seem to have an understanding husband.. mine is good but I’ve never been one to complain and my husband and son don’t really understand what I have to go through.. what they don’t know won’t give them cause for concern.. they are excellent don’t get me wrong but when I had a big surgery I listened to a song which helped my recovery… listen to the words , I see trees of green red roses too – Louis Armstrong .. never fails to make me feel better..
    love your blog, kind thoughts and prayers following you C xx

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