Rogers Story

Life has changed drastically for me. Some of you will know what I have been through and some of you won’t so I thought I would share this as there is a moral to what you are about to read.

My story starts on Friday 21st September 2019. A typical Friday afternoon, minding my own business and driving home from work and excited to get my daughter for the weekend and that I had finished work for a week of relaxation and doing nothing as one does when on annual leave. On the way back, I had stomach ache. Typically, I thought nothing of it and thought it would pass as stomach ache usually does. It did pass for a short while but unbeknown to me this was the start of my problems.

During my week of annual leave, I kept getting stomach ache. My toilet habits hadn’t really changed however towards the end of the week it was getting harder and harder to empty my bowels. Having had this problem before, I thought I was just constipated so rather than bother the doctor I bought some over the counter remedy which I was hoping would help by the time I went back to work. Quite the opposite to be honest. Nothing happened and I returned to work in agony with writhing stomach ache and having not had a bowel movement for a few days which is rare for me as I usually go a few times a day (as one does). I was sent home during the early part of the afternoon and decided to try and get something more powerful in the hope that I would have a movement. Again, not the case so I then contacted my GP who called me and did the usual things a doctor does when there are problems with the bowel. I won’t go into it as it’s not very nice however I will leave it to your imagination. Anyway, the doctor prescribed a laxative and I followed the advice I was given. I took the laxative for a week and again nothing happened so returned to the GP for further advice.

On this second visit, I saw a locum who provided me with a sick note as by this time I had been off work for seven days. The locum also advised me to take a higher dosage of the laxative. I duly followed this advice and it actually made me sick. My stomach could not handle such a high dosage in one go. I tried and tried but to no avail. I tried to lead my life normally however sleeping on the sofa does nothing for you. I had my daughter again on the weekend of 13th and 14th October. During the night of the 13th October I was violently sick. It was not nice as it was brown and had a rather pungent odour akin to excrement. I was now very worried so I explained the situation I was in to my ex-wife and asked her to come to my house to collect my daughter as I was unable to drive and spent most of the 14th October asleep on the sofa with a bucket beside me. It was all I could do to stay hydrated.

On Monday 15th October, I again went to the doctor who proceeded to do another examination of my rear end with the outcome that they could not find anything. There was definitely something wrong so they called the hospital and arranged for me to be admitted. The parting advice was “Pack and overnight bag as you are likely to be in there tonight”. How little did I know! Now I was really worried as one would be after having to recount the story above several times.

I came home to get things for hospital and whilst sorting things out, I felt the urge to go to the toilet which I did and thought at last I have had a movement though it was far from normal. I told my parents and asked to be taken down to the hospital and that I would let them know any updates as and when I got them. In the hospital, I had to wait an age to be seen. Once I had been triaged, recounted my story so far and had bloods taken I was then told to wait in the waiting room again as it would be some time before the blood test results came back.

The results came back and nothing could be found so it was then decided to send me for an X-ray. Again after lots of waiting I had the X-rays done and went back to the Short Stay Surgical Unit where I had been sent by my GP. After a few hours (I can’t remember how many), a consultant came to see me and advised me that I had a blockage and that I would need an operation to remove it. I was warned that it could be more serious however further investigation was required. At approximately 10pm that night, I was taken for a CT Scan. They had to stop me going initially as I did not have a cannula and this was required for the scan. Once this had hurriedly been put in place, I was taken for the scan. All I can say it… WOW, what a rush! Again back to waiting on the unit after the scan frustrated that no one seemed to know what was actually wrong with me. The beds in this unit were not proper hospital beds. They were stretchers and there was no way I could sleep on one of those. Fortunately, the unit has some recliner chairs and once was brought into the cubicle I was in and I managed a little sleep. Not much as you can imagine.

Tuesday 16th October came round and I was told that there was definitely a blockage and that I had been put on the urgent surgery list however the consultant could not tell me what time I was going to go into theatre however a stoma nurse would come to see me as I would more than likely have some sort of stoma. The rest of the day was a blur to be honest. I remember that the anaesthetist came to see me I was on nil by mouth and very hungry as I had hardly eaten anything for quite a few days. At half past 3, I was informed that I would be going into theatre and to get ready. Having undergone surgery before, I had an idea what I was in for however this turned out to very different from before. Before I went up to Theatre, I asked the unit to contact my mother to tell her where I would be after surgery as I did not have a chance. They said that they would but guess what……… They didn’t.

I walked up to the theatre waiting room accompanied by one of the nurses. When the appointed time came, I was called and taken on a gurney into the anaesthetic room. I was asked to sit up as straight as I could. The anaesthetist had the biggest needle I had ever seen and said he was going to give me a painkiller in my lower back for when I came round from surgery. I remember looking at the clock and it has half past 4 in the afternoon when I was put to sleep. I came round after the surgery and was very groggy. I was aware that I was not in the usual recovery suite and that I was somewhere else as I was hooked up to various monitoring equipment and didn’t know what had been done. All I remember is that I have a dressing all the way down my front and was in a lot of pain It was not until later on the Wednesday that it all became clear.

Later on the Wednesday morning, the consultant came to see me and said that they had had to remove my entire large bowel as not only was there a blockage but the bowel had also started to perforate at the other end. I was also informed that there was a possibility that I had bowel cancer which was a massive shock however nothing could be confirmed for some time as tests needed to be carried out on the organ that had been removed. According to my mother, who came to see me that day, I had been in the operating theatre for 5 hours and in the Intensive Therapy Unit for a further 4 and a half hours and that she had to make several phone calls to find out which ward I was on.

The consultant said that they had given me morphine to self-administer for the pain as well as 2 pain diffusers, being catheterised, a drain and an NG tube which went up my nose and into my stomach. As you can imagine, it was hard to move that day and I was still very groggy from the events of the night before. During this time, I also had to call into work every day to say I would not be in. This frustrated me as I had to call before 9am each subsequent morning from my hospital bed. I was told that despite being in hospital, I had to follow company procedure. The first night after the operation was horrible the NG tube kept catching on my epiglottis and made me retch all night long. Little or no sleep for me that night. The next day, the consultant came to see me and I requested that the tube was removed. Reluctantly, he agreed however I had to wait another 5 hours for a nurse to remove the contraption. Once removed, I started to feel better.

I was in hospital for just over a week. Each day I made significant progress though the first few days were hard as I had problems getting out of bed due to having no stomach muscle per say. All I can say is it was thanks to the physiotherapists who helped me get mobile again and walking after a fashion. Not easy when you have to carry various things with you to help with pain etc. As the week wore on, I had visits from my parents, one of my brothers and my ex-wife brought my daughter in to see me for which I was really appreciative of as my daughter is a big part of my life. As the week progressed, equipment was removed starting with the catheter, then the pain diffusers and finally the drain on the day I was finally discharged which was exactly a week after the operation.

On discharge, I was given a box full of various medications that I had to take as well as supplies for my Stoma, having learnt how to empty it and change it. Following discharge, I would have a visit from the stoma nurse to see how I was getting on. I was discharged to my parents’ house and my brother very kindly came to get me from the hospital and to take me back as he worked locally and it would save a long trip for my mother. It had been arranged that I would have dressing changes at my GP practise and that they would remove the staples on the Friday after returning home from hospital. The day after my discharge, I had a phone call to say that I tests had been performed on the bowel and that I did not have bowel cancer but had suffered from diverticulitis which is a condition where small bulges or pockets (diverticula) develop in the lining of the intestine. Diverticulitis is when these pockets become inflamed or infected. This was a massive relief, not only for me but my family as well as I was fearing the worst.

Friday 23rd October came. This was the day I was being visited by the Stoma Nurse as well as going to have the staples removed. The Stoma nurse came to see me at the appointed time. I removed my stoma pouch so she could see the stoma and all was good. I then had to clean the stoma and replace the pouch with a fresh one. Shortly after, off to the doctors I went. As the staples were being removed, the wound opened in to places. Not a very nice sight I can tell you. The Practise nurse did everything she could however after being examined by a doctor, it was decided that I should return to the Short Stay Surgical Unit for them to decide on the appropriate course of action so back I went.

Once there, I was prodded and poked and samples were taken from the wound to establish if there was any infection. It was determined that the top part of the wound was over 10cm deep and in excess of 10 cm long and that the lower part of the wound that had split was of a similar size. The wound was packed and dressed and I was asked to return the following Monday for a further review.

The weekend passed and I returned to the Short Stay Surgical Unit on the Monday morning. After a long wait, it was decided that they would treat the open wound with a vacuum dressing. Having never had this sort of thing before I had no idea what to expect. I left the hospital with the said dressing and a vacuum pump which I had to carry with me everywhere as well as spare dressing and canisters for exudate. The fun started again. For the next month, I had the district nurse come out every day to change the dressing during the day and each night, the canister would set off an alarm as there was a problem. I had to call the on call district nurse out nearly every night and ask them to sort it out for me as I did not know what to do. The problem was that I had a small canister for 2 wounds. I asked if it was possible to get a larger canister and this did initially work however due to the amount of exudate from the lower part of the wound, this would also alarm and again, the on-call District Nurse had to be called out. As you can imagine, this was very frustrating for me and I was getting more and more ratty irate due to severe lack of sleep. I can tell you that there were several days where I would live on literally a maximum of 2 hours sleep and there were several all-nighters on the trot and it felt like my life had come to a complete stop.

During this time, I was back and forth to hospital for regular reviews of the wound. After 6 weeks or so on the vacuum dressing, it was decided to dry pack the top part of the wound and to continue as before on the lower part of the wound as there was more exudate coming from this that the top. Again, with my ‘ball and chain’, it was back home where I continued to have the alarms and many many sleepless nights. This got too much for me so at the next wound review, I asked for both to be dry packed realising that healing would take longer however I needed sleep.

So, dry packing the wounds it was! Again, the district nurses came out every day (at different times) and for each visit, it was a different nurse so it was a little hard to build some sort of rapport however as time passed, there were a few familiar faces who I was able to build some sort of rapport with and then there were the ones whom I took an instant dislike to due to their attitude and in some cases ‘old fashioned ways’ and that they were always right rather than listening to the needs of the patient.

Christmas 2018 is a bit of a blur due to the pain I was having and also daily dressing changes. All I remember from this time is not feeling Christmassy at all though I did try and make the effort for the sake of my daughter, who I had had most weekends since returning from Hospital in the October, as I wanted Christmas to be a special as I could make it for her. I even bought a miniature Christmas tree and lights for my bedroom as that is where we spent a lot of time. For the first time ever, most my gifts for other members of the family were bought online. The only gifts that were not bought online were some last minute ones and some clothes for my daughter. By this time, I had tried to drive however it was too painful. Our family Christmas is always celebrated on Boxing Day due various arrangements regarding children. Most of the family were there except for one of my brothers and his partner as unfortunately, he was working that day.

For New Year, I did venture out for the first time with my daughter in tow. We were invited to a party however there were not many people there and I was not in the right frame of mind to say good bye to 2018 and welcome 2019. I still welcomed in the New Year (albeit in a lot of pain) and tried my best not to show anyone how much pain I was really in. I felt I had to put a face on and appear happy with all the festivities.

It was a few days into the New Year that things really started to go downhill for me. I found I was getting very depressed, was snapping at family members a lot and it even got to the point where I was constantly losing my temper due to things being said about me (i.e. being lazy and not helping about the house or making a noise when someone was trying to watch TV). On one occasion, I was emptying biscuits into my time and comment was made that I was being rather noisy. This really upset me so I stopped what I was doing, slamming the lid on the tin and launching it across the living room in anger, narrowly missing one of the dogs (my parents and one of my brothers have Old English Sheepdogs and my brothers dog is at my parents during the day as he has abandonment issues. That is another story). After this I picked up the tin, put it on the table and walked out of the room in tears as I had never been like this or felt this way before. By this time, I had started to go to the GP surgery 3 times a week for dressing changes and having the District Nurse attend on a Sunday.

I was getting more and more frustrated and losing my temper as well as crying more frequently. I realised that something here was not right. Having suffered from Depression in 2004 / 2005, I recognised the symptoms and I did not want to go down the route of having to take anti –depressants as they had actually made my depression worse rather than helping with it. Having recognised the symptoms, I went to see the doctor to see if there was anything that could be done without the use of medication. Depression, even now is a very taboo subject, especially amongst men in the UK. Most men are brought up to ‘grin and bear it’ and they feel that there is no one they can turn to for help. I’m very different in that respect having been there before. I explained my symptoms to the doctor and said that I was very emotional, losing my temper and had extremely low mood. I felt helpless that I could not do things that I wanted to do and needed assistance with most things that I would have otherwise done myself. Even now, at the time of writing this, I still feel a little helpless though I have become more self-sufficient and know what my boundaries are and to ask for help if I need. I would not have done this previously. Having explained my predicament to the Doctor, I was given the options of seeking help from MIND, a helpline (similar to the Employee Assistance Helpline my employer provides) or approach the Local Primary Mental Health Support Service (also known as HYWL (pronounced ‘HOYLE’). The advantage of HWYL was that the mental health experts were present in the GP surgery every week so I elected for this option as it was easier for me.

Also, during this time, I was informed that my employer would be completely stopping my monthly salary as I had hit a particular milestone and also that my Statutory Sick Pay was coming to an end. This also did not help my mental state as I went into panic mode wondering what I would do for money and how I would pay bills over the coming months. I spoke to my manager who said a letter had been sent from the HR department of my employer and that I was advised to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and speak to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for further advice. I took it upon myself to contact my utility suppliers who, unfortunately were unable to help as I earned too much. Gas and Electric advised that they would ‘Red Flag’ my address which meant I would be contacted immediately by the supplier or distributor if there were any major issues with the gas or electricity supply. This was the best they could however they did advise that if I was having issues and payments were returned that I was to contact them straight away and they could arrange a repayment plan. The local council, on the other hand were able offer me advice. The water board said that I could get a reduced tariff but only if I was receiving a specific benefit however, again due to my salary, were unable to help. They suggested I apply for PIP as this would help.

I then turned to the DWP for advice. After nearly 2 hours on hold listening to Vivaldi’s 4 seasons on a loop and being reminded of the opening hours, I finally spoke to an advisor who said I would have to apply for Universal Credit and that the only way I would do this online. This did not help my current frame of mind and I felt increasingly frustrated. Back on the internet I went and duly completed my Universal Credit application (as well as completing and ESA application form) and arranged an interview at the job centre. This was for the following week and, to be honest, I felt proud as I had tried to do something about my finances rather than burrow my head in the sand. I met with a Mental Health professional from HYWL (pronounced hoyle) which is a mental health signposting service at the GP surgery and after telling them my predicament, they suggested that I attend some courses (some of which I turned down as I had covered the subject matter at work) as well as attending a ‘coffee morning’ at my local community centre where I could meet like-minded people. Having not had any interaction with people apart from my family, my anxiety went through the roof as this would be my first time out on my own.

I went to the coffee morning and was made to feel very welcome. Even though there was a small group of us, I was able to talk about my predicament and how it had made me feel. It was quite upsetting to talk about as (you will hear this phrase quite a bit going forward) I felt I was broken and helpless. It was at this coffee morning that I found out about another group not far away who met on a Thursday afternoon for a couple of hours and I was invited to this as well. A little progress had been made.

My appointment for Universal Credit came round and I attended (with the help of my mother who had been ferrying me about for months and months). It was here that I was told that I had been advised incorrectly about applying for Universal Credit and that I had to apply for ESA instead. As you can imagine I was not very happy at all and felt that I had not only wasted my own time but the time of the person I went to see. A further appointment was made for the following week for which I was asked to re complete the ESA application form and bring various documents that were required. I duly attended the rearranged appointment and was told that I would not need to attend an assessment and that I would be put into some sort of ‘work group’ and that I may be assigned a work coach to help me back into work. I also had to agree to various commitments otherwise I would be sanctioned which would mean I lose money. Not good when there is no income from your employer as they have stopped your wages and you have to wait for the insurance company to pay out. At this time, I had also completed a PIP form with the help of Welfare Rights and sent this off. I was told by Welfare Rights that it would be some time before they responded so back to the waiting game.

Feeling that I had done all I could, I had to get on with life as best I could. Finances were still the major issue I was facing not helped by people (who shall rename nameless) asking if a payment was going to be made as they would struggle if it wasn’t.
In the first few days of February, I had an appointment with the Stoma Nurse to see how I was getting on with the Stoma and the pouches. I had been having problems with the pouches supplied to me as they were getting uncomfortable and digging into my nether regions. I contacted the manufacturer of my pouches and requested samples of other products available which had to be resent as the postman had ‘had a fall’ and was not able to deliver them. The samples arrived and I took them to the appointment with the Stoma Nurse who seemed not to like the idea that I was being proactive in trying to make my life with the stoma better. Reluctantly, she agreed to the pouches I wanted and said she would amend the prescription with the supplier and send me a box in the interim. She also said that I had to have a special belt that would prevent me from getting a hernia and that I would receive a prescription in the post to present to my GP as they would have to agree to the belt and send it off to the supplier. A couple of weeks passed and nothing came so I called the Stoma Nurse helpline and was advised that she had forgotten to send both the prescription and the pouches. They did eventually turn up. Once I had the prescription for the belt, I handed it in to my GP. Time passed again and nothing so the belt was chased with the GP. It turned out that they had sat on it for a while before being authorised and sent to the supplier. Upon checking, they had not sent all the correct documentation so it all had to be resent. I was told by the GP receptionist that I would be contacted by the supplier in due course.

Towards the end of February, I decided that it would be in my best interest to try and move back into my own house and lead some sort of normal life. My neighbours noticed that I had not been about and thought I had moved. I had to reassure them that I was still around and proceeded on several occasions to recount a highly edited version of my story. Also, during February, I received several letters and text messages from the DWP to say that my current sick note was running out. On each occasion, I sent copies of my current sick note and also called them to complain as I felt I was getting harassed. It turned out that they have 2 separate systems that do not cross reference each other so whilst one was up to date, the other was not. They relented in the end and apologised for the inconvenience. So far, at the time of writing, I’ve not had so much contact from them regarding sick notes. I hope this continues.

Coming back to my own home was quite a shock. The house was in a bit of a state, to say the least as it had not been lived in since September (I had been back on a weekly basis to collect post) and there were still things in the washing bowl and on the coffee table from the last time I was in the house. With help from my mother, I was able to tidy round and make the place habitable again.

It was shortly after I returned that I had a notification from the DWP that I would be having an assessment for PIP and that the assessment would take place at home. I was happy with this as I was expecting to have to go to an assessment centre as several people I had spoken to regarding PIP said that I would. A nice surprise however as the assessments were being performed by a third party, I was getting letters and texts reminding me of the appointment. I was not happy with this however did not want to complain as I thought it would harm my assessment. I did make the assessor aware when they attended that the amount of communication regarding PIP was excessive and that it had affected me with my depression and anxiety.

The rest of February seemed to pass quite quickly. My mood, I thought was getting better and I thought life was starting to get better. How wrong I was.

The first few days of March were ok for me. It all went wrong on the 9th March. This was the first weekend in my house on my own without my daughter. It was also my brother’s birthday so the day had been spent at my parents celebrating with him. Normally, I would venture out on a Saturday night when I did not have my daughter however still recovering, I decided not to so as there was nothing on TV I thought I’d have a quiet night and listen to the radio for a change as it was a friend broadcasting. Being on my own, I started to think about everything I had been through and how my life had changed in the last few months. I was sat on the sofa and the tears just streamed down my face. It was at this point that I went beyond rock bottom and seriously contemplated ending it all. Cocodamol looked very appetising and I was going to take a whole pack. I posted a status on Facebook and several friends talked me down and made me see the light. I realised that I would be hurting a lot of people that were important to me and the one that would suffer the most would be my daughter. I was asked recently, when talking about this, if I would have had the guts to actually do what I intended. The answer to this question is ‘Yes’ as I was so low and didn’t want to go on.

It was around this time that I started talking to someone who is now a big part of my life and really special. I don’t want to go into too much detail however suffice it to say that this person has really help to change my life for the better as they accept who I am and they have changed my attitude from ‘Broken and Helpless’ to ‘Healing and Growing’.

The end of March and start of April were busy. It was at the end of March that I had my PIP assessment. It seemed to go ok. The assessor was at my house for about 50 minutes and asked a range of questions about my mobility and mental health. During the assessment, I did zone out a couple of times and had to ask the assessor if they could repeat the question that had been asked. During the same week, I had a visit from the manufacturers of the hernia belt. I had to contact them as they contacted me previously to advise that the order had been received and that someone would be in touch to arrange a visit. No one had contacted me so yet again, I had to chase to see what had happened. At least they turned up and took my measurements then informed me that the belt would be specially made and sent in the post.

During this time I was still having regular dressing changes. More complications had occurred towards the end of March with part of my wound. It split again and a hole appeared. I was not happy, nor was the nurse. I told the nurse that I was due to see the consultant in April so she advised that I show the consultant and see what they wanted to do. The rest of wound continued to heal. Progress has been slow however it is getting there slowly.

I attended the hospital for my consult and actually saw the registrar whom I had been dealing with previously. They probed the wound where it had split and it was 6 cm deep. It was decided that I would need a CT scan to see if there was a tract underneath the wound that had not healed and that was causing it to split. I also asked why my entire bowel had been removed. I was told that the decision was taken as a lot of pressure had built up due to the blockage and this pressure had caused the bowel to perforate at the other end. It could have been repaired however there was no guarantee that the repair would have worked. I also asked if the stoma could be reversed. This was just out of curiosity as I had read that it could. I was told that it could be reversed however I would need a lot of counselling and a long operation and recovery time. It was at this point that I made a really important life decision and that was that I could not go through this again. I would not wish this on anyone especially the aftermath, dealing with the healing of the wounds and subsequent depression that has accompanied it. I have decided that I will have the stoma for the rest of my life. You never know, I may change my mind at some point in the far future however I have accepted the stoma (lovingly referred to as Billy Bunter) and the associated care of it and so far, I have not had any major problems apart from the odd leak / burst / accident.

It was shortly after my hospital appointment that I received a letter from the DWP telling me I had to attend the local Job Centre to see a ‘Work Coach’ to help me transition back into work. To be honest, I feel that this is a complete waste of time as I am currently in regular contact with my manager who is fully aware of my current circumstances. I have also been told that my position with the company I work for is safe and that when I do eventually return to work it will be on a slow phased return to work basis. Do I really need to see a ‘Work Coach’? I want to work however the policy of the company I work for is that if I am sick or recovering from an operation then I cannot work, even from home. This is mainly due to the insurance side of things. What do I say to this person? I’ve a good mind to pull up my shirt and show my dressing and say that if they can find a magic wand to make it better, I’d return to work the next day. I admit I am bored stupid at home and can’t wait to get back to work but in all seriousness, I am physically and mentally not ready. The healing process takes time. Unfortunately for me, it is taking a long time. I will go back to work when I am ready and not before as I have rushed back before. Time for me to put me first rather than work.

The visit to see the ‘Work Coach’ was a complete waste of time. I learned nothing new and there was nothing new to tell them apart from update them on my current circumstances. I was advised to stay in touch with work which I had been doing since the start of my current predicament and that I would be called for again in 3 months’ time.

PIP was declined in late April 2019 however this has been appealed with another 6 to 8 weeks before I hear a result. This was a disappointment for me as the reasons for it being declined were basically a pack of lies due to, it seems, the interviewer who came to see me writing a report full of falseness. We will see what happens when I hear that my case has been reviewed. My CT scan took place in early April 2019 and the results came through saying that there was no tract as first thought so that was a bit of very good news. Dressings have continued thrice weekly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

I have taken each day as it comes as each day has its own battles. I’ve heard back from DWP regarding PIP and again the decision has been against me. I am now taking this to a tribunal. I will have to see what happens and how far I have to go.

There have been several positives. Everyone has been raving about a new stoma bag so I ordered samples and tried them. I had a meeting with the stoma nurse and said that I wanted these and not only did she approve, she gave me a box to keep me going. I was very happy with that decision. My mental health is improving slowly and I am getting back to my old self and after nearly a year of not seeing friends, I am finally getting the courage to venture out to see them and renew my friendships.

At the time of updating this (August 2019), I have just got over an infection in my wound which I was not happy about as it has set me back somewhat however the road to recovery is, as I have found out long and arduous. I have also been signed off work for a further 3 months so it looks like it will be sometime around Christmas 2019 that I return.

My Stoma Story is far from complete. Life, currently is very good. I have a beautiful daughter who has been an absolute superstar throughout this entire story (which is still ongoing) and has shown me all the love that a doting dad needs. I have a fantastic family, some of whom have really pulled out the stops to help me and assist me during the recover process. I have a new set of friends who have also helped me through a lot. All of the above (I have deliberately not mentioned any names as there are far too many however they know who they are) and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

So, remember back to the start of this I said that there was a moral to my stoma story. I lied! There are a few and they are:

  1. If you are constipated and laxatives do not work, please go to see your GP as soon as possible to get yourself checked. I would not like to see you having to go through what I have been through.
  2. Depression and Anxiety, as we all know, are killers. If, at any point, you feel you have low mood or you see that you have changed then I would again implore you to seek help Do not suffer in silence.
  3. Do not be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t ask you don’t know. Even if the answer is not the one you are looking for, at least you have some sort of answer. I still have questions that need to be answered however its getting the right time and people to ask them too.
  4. At some point, you might find yourself in financial trouble. Seek help sooner rather than later. Speak to welfare rights to find out what you could be entitled to. It might not be much but at least it would help. Speak to your utility suppliers. In most cases, they can help however they could not help me. Also speak to your local council to see if they can help. In my case, I was able to get some assistance.