In 1998 whilst serving as an intelligence operator onboard UK Nuclear Hunter Killer Submarines I was diagnosed with cancer in three places so was discharged and received successful treatment and given the all clear December of 2000.
Swiftly moving into THE year 2001, my older brother Wayne sadly passed away on January 19th. This absolutely broke my heart as it would anyone.
At the same time I had just been diagnosed with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) in the form of ulcerative colitis (UC). A terrible horrendous disease that when it flared up I was completely disabled from performing and living a normal daily life and for the next 8 months I think I had around 4 weeks of so called normality where excruciating pain and going to the toilet sometimes 48 times in one day were not happening. I was rushed into hospital and admitted for 3 months, of which I cannot remember much regarding my stay apart from certain snippets that stick out in my memory.
I do remember being so weak I actually thought this is it, I'm going to die tonight and lying on the bed going through my life trying my hardest to think of what had I done that was so bad to deserve this pain that I was in and hallucinating terribly with some of the most bizarre things imaginable.
As it happens the staff had practically over dosed me on morphine to the point that I should have died and there was an internal investigation at the time. I wasn't that bothered as the steroids and prednisone were not working and I didn't feel much pain let alone anything else, as was absolutely on a different planet.
What I do remember, was Lyn having to tell me there are complications with our little baby and that she is having to have a still birth. Low and behold, I awake in intensive care with a stoma a few weeks later, after having an emergency ileostomy operation and total proctocolectomy, which basically means not just my colon but my bum removed also as it was so badly diseased.
I was so ill I was told I may not be strong enough to recover from it.
There I was 29 yrs of age and now looking down at what I believe to be my insides hanging out of my stomach, ejecting poo into a massive see through plastic bag. To say I was shocked would be an understatement, but one good thing which was pretty immediate, i didn't feel the pain from ulcerative colitis, yipeeee its gone and I could shout from the roof tops, but a stoma, wtf is a stoma. It took around 6 months getting used to it but hey i'm alive, well and very much kicking. Fast forward through a busy life of working, business and family life and in 2019 I climbed Kilimanjaro raising awareness for Crohns & Colitis UK and have just started my new job as a firefighter.
Who says we cannot live the dream with a bag on our side. :}