Hello, you lovely blog readers!
I’m Nathan Wheeler, a YouTuber and an ileostomate.
As I’m new to the SecuriCare Blog, I thought I would introduce myself and share my story with you. One of the most fascinating things about life with a stoma, is hearing everyone’s different stories… so here’s mine!
In 2008 at the age of 17 I started to get the most terrible stomach pains…
I would describe it to people as feeling like I was pregnant! I had a full-time job and was still pushing myself to get to work (I really am a workaholic)! A month passed with these pains, and as a stubborn teen I really didn’t want to go to the GP surgery.
I was using the toilet a lot more frequently and was passing a lot of blood so I eventually decided I HAD to see a doctor.
They concluded that I had nothing more than a stomach bug and gave me a course of antibiotics. Over the next few days, I got worse: I took time off work; I wasn’t eating; I was weak; and I was going to the toilet an average of 25 times a day. I went back to the doctors who decided I should head to A&E but the hospital couldn’t find anything wrong. I was pumped with antibiotics and sent home after a week.
A few days went by, and things escalated. I was basically shutting down. I was pale and dehydrated, and passing blood whenever I went to the toilet.
My mum called the GP over to my house and we decided I needed to go to A&E again. As soon as I arrived, they realised how ill I was. The staff had a defibrillator at the ready because I was that close to dying. On top of my original problem, it was discovered that I’d caught C-Diff, the hospital superbug, from my first visit to A&E which obviously made my condition a lot worse.
I stayed in A&E overnight and was pumped with morphine to control the pain. The next morning, the doctors and surgeons came to see me and agreed that no medicine was going to help…
I needed surgery and FAST. I was given just two hours left to live.
With that, I found myself being told about Ulcerative Colitis (UC) for the first time as the nurse marked the site for my stoma. That was it, I thought, my life was over. I thought I would either die there or be forced to live with a massive bag on my stomach, never appealing to anyone, living my life alone and not enjoying it. WRONG!
I had a nine hour procedure to remove my large intestine and an ileostomy was created.
I was soon awake from the surgery and spent a week in the High Dependency Unit. I couldn’t look down in that time - I didn’t want to see what they’d created. I was so high on all the drugs I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Over the next few weeks in hospital, I had some issues with eating and had a line put through my neck, that caused complications which also nearly killed me! After that, I focussed on getting better and getting out of there. I managed to leave hospital just three days before my 18th birthday!
As I was so ill with UC and C-Diff, my rectal stump had to be left in.
Removal of it during my first operation could have killed me. They gave me five years to see if the UC in my rectum would heal, at which point it would either be reconnected or removed. I shall save that story for another blog post!
To say 2008 was traumatic would be an understatement, it changed my whole life, but I’ve learnt so much and I wouldn’t change a thing!
You can hear more about my brush with death and how having a stoma saved my life, in my YouTube video: Crohn's and Colitis: My Story. In the coming blogs, I’ll tell you my experiences over the last 10 years and answer the common questions people are scared to ask.
I hope you enjoyed my first post - thanks for having me!