World IBD Day: Brandon’s Story

My IBD story

My name is Brandon & my story starts when I was just 10 years old.
In primary school, I was a popular fit and healthy little guy and loved nothing more than to be out causing trouble with my mates.
My first flare was massive & so underprepared for that within 2 months I went from running around with my friends and being a happy kid to organ failure and being told my last goodbyes from loved ones.
My first symptoms were really smelly farts, then blood in the poo, then the pain & cramps to then nothing but blood in my poo. I had given up eating to avoid the pain and eventually, I started passing in and out of consciousness, due to blood loss.
I was 3½ stone at 10 years old when I was first taken in. When I say I was nothing but skin & bone I mean it…
Due to no understanding of my illness, I was tested for things like Ebola, swine flu, mad cow disease and the original sars. I had nurses & doctors in full PPE/Hazmat suits coming in to talk to me very very rarely.
After an absolutely terrifying night in which I woke up on the toilet floor, covered in blood & the next day, doctors told my loved ones to say their last goodbyes as I had entered organ failure. The last ditch attempt to save me was to send me to the cancer ward in Yorkhill Hospital, where thankfully I was saved by the wonderful team there and soon after got a diagnosis.
With my diagnosis came the start of my true battle with this illness. After scopes & tests, it was believed I had Ulcerative colitis because of multiple massive ulcers which had been burst being found all over my large intestine. (Explains the blood that was constantly coming out of me)
Then started the medications, I’ve had everything from the infamous steroids (prednisolone) to less known wildly named drugs with even crazier side effects in an attempt to get me back to health… nothing worked.
At the age of 11, I was given my first Colostomy bag as my intestines had rotted away and it was the only viable option for me left. As you can imagine this made my first week & year in high school so much more fun and was when my mental health was then affected by the condition. Between constant anxieties of the bag bursting and smelling of poo to people finding out, I had one and being bullied. I tried my best to hide my condition.
Since it was thought I had UC my stoma was reversed and I was given a J pouch for my troubles. I had frequent episodes of what was believed to be pouchitis but was in fact, my Crohns disease rearing its head and so started the 2nd saga of the journey.
After years of constant hospital admissions and every medication you can think of it was then decided between myself & my specialist team that a ileostomy bag for life would be my choice going forward. This was an especially hard choice as I had actually convinced myself and loved ones around me that I would commit suicide because of my experience with the first one.
I was given my forever bag shortly after my 18th birthday & had a rather brutal healing stage by which I mean I never healed and eventually I was told I would need even more surgery in the form of plastic surgery to close up huge wounds I was left with.
Even after the reconstructive surgery and subsequent complications that have ensued I still have a quality of life I didn’t have before, and after being ill for so long I realised that having the bag would make my life mine again and so I chose my way and I’ve never looked back since!
Am now a fully qualified personal trainer & coach. Who aspires to do nothing more than help more & more people and bring awareness of this condition.
Everyone’s story is unique… this has been mine 😁