Surgery eases Sherie’s fears
AS a nurse, Sherie Davies knew what she was up against when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
The East Victoria Park resident was diagnosed with the condition in 1998, which causes inflammation and ulcers of the colon and rectum.
“I had a history of severe diarrhoea and in the last two or three weeks before I was diagnosed I had blood in my diarrhoea,” she said.
“I had issues with my bowel, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and I couldn’t eat during the day because it meant that I would need to go to the toilet straight away.
“It was a relief when I was diagnosed but I was always scared because I knew what it entailed.”
Mrs Davies said wherever she went, she needed to know where the toilet was in fear of soiling herself.
“The condition meant that I needed to stop working and I needed to take steroids but they had side effects. I would have mood swings or become a bit jittery or hyper,” she said.
“For many years I went into remission and then relapsed.
“I believe it could be hereditary because my cousin has it and my grandmother may have had it as well.”
In 2008, she had her large intestine removed and had an ileostomy procedure, which involved bringing the end of lowest part of the small intestine to the surface, meaning that she needed a pouch.
“I’m a swimmer and I’m used to wearing bikinis, so I was a bit worried about it,” she said.
“The stoma nurses had someone come around and talk to me before I had the procedure and you couldn’t see the bulge; they were able to hide it.
“It gave me my quality of life back and I had no complications.”
May is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month, during which Crohn’s and Colitis Australia is hoping to raise awareness about inflammatory bowel disease. More than five million people live with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis collectively worldwide, with about 75,000 people in Australia living with the conditions. Sherie Davies is back in the swim after an operation to remove her large intestine.