My re­venge mis­sion to feel sexy

Dras­tic surgery changed ev­ery­thing for Chloe Wil­son, 22, from Lin­colnshire, but not how you'd think...

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

Curled up on the sofa, I groaned in agony. It was a Satur­day night in 2014 and I was due to go out with my girl­friends. But, right now, the thought of a cock­tail made me feel sick. Sorry girls, I texted them

all. But I’ll have to pass on tonight. I feel aw­ful.

I felt so glum. I was only 18, but lately I’d lost count of the nights out I’d had to can­cel due to ter­ri­ble stom­ach cramps.

The doc­tors weren’t sure what it was, but the pain was so bad that it some­times made me vomit.

My prob­lems had started six years ear­lier when I was 12.

Even­tu­ally, I’d been di­ag­nosed as lac­tose in­tol­er­ant. Then, when a dairy-free diet made no dif­fer­ence, I’d been told that I had ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome.

Tak­ing the doc­tor’s word as gospel, I’d taken dozens of painkillers a day.

‘They’re not mak­ing any dif­fer­ence,’ I’d sobbed to my mum Mar­garet, 62.

Mirac­u­lously, I’d sat my GCSES and got a hair­dress­ing ap­pren­tice­ship.

But the con­stant pain and fran­tic trips to the loo were be­com­ing un­bear­able.

‘Please help!’ I’d begged the doc­tor.

But he’d said pain was just a nor­mal symp­tom of IBS. Other than giv­ing me more painkillers, there wasn’t much they could do.

So here I was, aged 18 and miss­ing out on life, thanks to this aw­ful pain.

‘I wish the doc­tors could do some­thing,’ I said to Mum one day, ‘I feel so fobbed off.’

That’s when I re­alised, if they couldn’t help me, I’d have to help my­self. In­stead of miss­ing out on life, I needed to seize the day.

So, to­wards the end of 2014, I de­cided to take a risk.

‘I’m go­ing to learn pole danc­ing,’ I told Mum.

I’d been talked into it by a friend, wanted to do some­thing sexy and fun that would boost my con­fi­dence. ‘Good for you!’ Mum said. I was so ner­vous at my first class at a lo­cal stu­dio a

few weeks later. But every­one was so friendly.

At first I was hope­less – we all were. We’d gig­gle like mad as we fell off the pole.

But, in time, I got the hang of it, de­spite my pain, and could con­tort my body into crazy poses.

I loved it – the ca­ma­raderie, the feel­ing of be­ing strong, sexy.

But sadly, af­ter two years of on-and-off lessons, my pain be­came crip­pling...so I had to drop out.

I was gut­ted. But the pain was so bad, I’d soon prac­ti­cally be­come a her­mit.

And ut­terly mis­er­able. Then in Jan­uary 2017, I was in the bath­room at home when I felt a stab­bing pain in my stom­ach, so bad it felt like my in­sides would fall out.

It felt as if some­thing had rup­tured and I col­lapsed onto the floor. The pain was like noth­ing I’d ever felt.

Am I dy­ing?

My par­ents heard me scream and rushed me to the hos­pi­tal. At first they thought my ap­pendix was rup­tur­ing – but af­ter scans, they thought I had a rup­tured ovar­ian cyst.

Armed with med­i­ca­tion, I hoped this would be the end of my agony.

But the pain con­tin­ued af­ter I was dis­charged. And, two months later, I col­lapsed again at home.

Ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal for loads of tests, I was di­ag­nosed with ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis.

‘It’s a long-term chronic con­di­tion that af­fects your bowel and rec­tum,’ a doc­tor said. ‘I don’t know how you’ve lived with pain this long.’ I sobbed with re­lief. Though the di­ag­no­sis was ter­ri­fy­ing, fi­nally some­one un­der­stood, could help me.

‘You have two op­tions,’ my doc­tor said. ‘You can have strong meds, or surgery to fit a stoma bag.’

A what?

Turns out it’s a bag at­tached to the out­side of your body.

It col­lects your waste from your bowel through a hole in your torso, and stores it in a pouch.

Ba­si­cally a poo bag, strapped to your tum.

I was only 20 –

I couldn’t have that!

‘I’ll go for the meds,’

I said, grossed out.

I was dosed up, but my pain got worse and worse. Un­able to eat proper food, I lost al­most a stone and, four days af­ter I’d turned up my nose to a poo bag, I was beg­ging for one.

‘Give me the surgery!’ I pleaded.

Any­thing had to be bet­ter than this agony.

My op was booked for 19 April. The day be­fore, a health­care as­sis­tant came to visit me.

‘Are you sure you want this?’ she asked. ‘You’ll never be able to wear a pretty bikini like all your friends.’ Sud­denly, I felt an­gry.

‘I can do what I want, thanks,’ I smiled tightly.

And, fall­ing asleep the night be­fore my op, I was al­ready plan­ning how to prove her wrong.

Surgery to re­move my large bowel took eight hours. When I woke up, the first thing I no­ticed was that I wasn’t in pain. I wept with re­lief! Liv­ing with agony for so long, it was only now I re­alised just how much I’d been cop­ing with.

Right then, I re­alised that was so much more im­por­tant than what my stoma looked like.

But I still braced my­self when I peered down at my torso.

And there it was… My poo bag! But the funny thing was, it looked OK.

In fact, I thought it was amaz­ing. I mean, part of my small bowel had been pulled through past my in­tes­tine and se­cured to a bag on my tummy.

So now, in­stead of sit­ting on the loo, that’s where my bow­els emp­tied.

Pretty nifty, I thought.

I only needed to change it ev­ery 48 hours, and it didn’t hurt, ei­ther.

Af­ter two months, I timidly turned up to pole-danc­ing classes again. It had been ages, but I’d stayed in touch with all the gang, and they knew what I’d been through.

So, when I walked back in, every­one rushed over.

‘Wel­come back!’ they said, hug­ging me.

You might won­der why I went back, es­pe­cially now I had a stoma. Well, in a weird way, it was be­cause I had a stoma that I re­turned.

Not just be­cause it meant I’d be able to twirl and spin pain free – but be­cause I didn’t want to be de­fined by the lit­tle bag.

I wanted to prove that nurse who sug­gested a stoma was some­thing to hide away was wrong.

The sup­port from my class­mates when I took off my kit to dance in hot­pants and bra, stoma on dis­play, was im­me­di­ate proof. ‘Well done, you!’ they said. Soon I was fly­ing around the pole again. Only now, there was no pain, just pure joy.

And when I went on hol­i­day to Tener­ife last sum­mer,

I even wore a bikini! Sure, some peo­ple stared but

I just smiled, waved back.

Now I’ve had my stoma, my life is bet­ter than ever. I’m pain free, have so much fun pole danc­ing, and I’ve even found love with a fab new guy called Thomas, 21.

That nurse up­set me when she sug­gested you couldn’t be sexy with a stoma bag.

I’ve proved that isn’t true. I’ll keep pole danc­ing and bikini wear­ing un­til I’m old and grey.

And if peo­ple don’t like it, they can moan and whis­per all they want – I’ll be off on my pole, hav­ing a blast!

I peered down at my torso and there it was… My poo bag!

It’s pole po­si­tion for me now!

Chill­ing by the pool – in a pretty bikini!

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