Inflammatory bowel diseases impact over 1.6 million Americans.
These chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can be incredibly debilitating and lead to everything from painful cramps to diarrhea to fever to weight loss to blood loss. While there are treatments such as medications and lifestyle changes which can help to lessen symptoms, there is no cure. In severe cases, removal of the intestines and other organs is required.
Such was the case for 33-year-old Krystal Miller, an Australian writer who blogs about her experiences as a mother as well her experiences as a Crohn’s disease sufferer.
Miller has battled her condition for over half her life, first experiencing the symptoms around the age of 15. For eight years, her doctors tried to help Miller manage her condition via medications and other means, but nothing was having much of an impact.
Finally, they decided that she needed to have her large intestine, anus, rectum, and part of her small intestine surgically removed. It was a scary decision, but one that Miller felt was the right choice. She now says, “Having the surgery was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
But that doesn’t mean that the path has been easy. Miller has a permanent ileostomy, which means she has a stoma (an opening on her abdomen) that releases waste into a bag. She admits that learning to use the bag hasn’t been easy, and she has experienced her share of bowel perforations and leaks, but that overall, she has learned to “rock out” with her ileostomy bag, and she now is encouraging other young women to do the same.
To encourage other women to not let their ileostomies get them down, Miller posts photos to Facebook that prominently feature her ileostomy bag.
Rather than trying to hide it from the world, Miller has boldly embraced her body in all of its weaknesses and all of its strengths, and the result is beautiful:
Miller’s message has gone viral, with numerous women speaking up to thank her for her words.
It’s wonderful to see that her message is being received with such love and praise.
Whether you have ever experienced Crohn’s or IBS, the truth is that we all try to hide parts of ourselves that we deem embarrassing or unlovable. But as Miller’s stunning images prove, it is these so-called flaws that often highlight our true strength and resilience. Here’s to confidence, and rocking out with your bag out!