Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and this week we’re celebrating one girl who recently hit the headlines for her very brave and courageous bikini snaps.
Heather Grant is a 23-year-old girl who also happens to suffer from Chrons – the sister illness of UC (which I have). The sales assistant from Merseyside underwent life changing surgery in order to correct a complication caused by her illness and woke up with a colostomy bag, but instead of waking up and despising this new addition she thanked it for saving her life – and has vowed to display it proudly on the beach this summer.
When I was first diagnosed (and of course came home to google the crap out of the disease) – the one thing that really stuck out and scared me was the fear of surgery and possibly having to have a colostomy bag fitted to me.
For those who don’t know, a colostomy bag is fitted to a person’s stomach via a small tube which diverts waste away from the colon, the small pouch collects the waste and is then emptied once it’s full. Colostomy procedures are usually put in place to help those with colon and bowel issues, anything from Chrons, Colitis and IBD. Around 6,400 permanent colostomies are performed each year in the UK alone.
As you can imagine, the thought of having to empty your poo out of a bag which is filling up on the outside of your stomach is not the sexiest image, and I was (am) petrified that if my UC gets out of hand..this may also happen to me. But reading stories from the likes of Heather, Bethany Townsend and the holy grail – The Debrief…has made me realise that actually it’s not the end of the world and you can still be badass with a colostomy bag!
But it’s not the bag that defines women like Heather, it’s the fact that she’s living life to the max REGARDLESS of that bag. And why shouldn’t people who’ve had this procedure walk proudly onto the beach, top up their tan and enjoy the summer like the rest?
In an age where young people are more afraid of having a hair out-of-place or an extra inch to pinch around the tummy, I feel (UC or no UC) that we should all be looking up to women (and men) like this – who just say FUCK IT.
Would I have respected someone like Heather a year and a half ago..of course, would I have championed her for body confidence and felt a strong urge to shout it from the rooftops..probably not. But life is set to teach us lessons, and perhaps having UC has made me less bothered about the small fry. I’m less bothered about the cellulite, the crows feet, the bingo wings and the crooked teeth – and I’m learning to appreciate that you only get one body and when it’s fucked its fucked so actually the cosmetic stuff doesn’t matter anywhere NEAR as much as you think it does. If it can lift you up in the morning, nourish you and empower you to move and express yourself then it’s pretty bloody amazing.
More to come on body confidence in future posts…
Thanks as always for reading. x