I love to go outside and do cool things. Well, I like to think they are cool anyway. Depending on the season, I am up in the mountains snowboarding, and in the summer, I gravitate towards water sports. What makes my story a little different about these things, is that I do them while carrying a bag of shit with me everywhere I go.
Why would I do this you ask? Well, I have Crohn’s disease, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a chronic illness that attacks my digestive system. It seems to affect everyone who has it slightly differently, and can manifest itself along any stage of the digestive tract, esophagus to anus. FUN! Well, mine was the final stretch of my bowels, large intestine, and the exit chute. This lead to many embarrassing moments, loads of pain and discomfort, mood swings, massive weight fluctuations and a ton of visits to the hospital. I can say as an adult male in my 30’s, I have probably pooped myself more than most children. Safe to say that when I was at my worst, I really didn’t go out much. I remember going to work one day, parked, walked into the building, and before I could blink, BOOM, I turned around, and got back into the car to drive home. I needed to change my underwear. Life was awesome!
I had gone through every available medical option to try and control my disease, and my poor attempts at controlling my diet fell short, so I went with the last option available. I had decided to have my large intestine removed. Thus, the bag of shit I carry with me everywhere. I have an ileostomy, which means I now poop into a bag on my stomach. I had been dead set against this option for years. I considered myself a failure if I had to resort to this option to control the disease. Well, I was wrong. Since the surgery, I have been able to get back to doing fun things outside. Snowboarding, backcountry snowboarding, kiteboarding, wake surfing just to name a few. I can go on walks and hikes with my partner and not be terrified I am going to shit myself and need to cut things short.
I wanted to share my stories, to raise awareness for those that might not know that this stuff exists, and to show others facing the same choice that it’s not the end of the world, and it can be a massive benefit. A way for you to take control of your life back. If I was given the choice between a healthy bowel and an ileostomy, I would choose the healthy bowel every time. But between my old bowel and my bag, the bag wins every time.