Azmina – My Bowels and Me
“Having suffered from Crohn’s Disease since childhood, I’ve ended up becoming a seasoned patient representative, advocating for patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colorectal Cancer, particularly those with stomas.
Having an ileostomy and panproctocolectomy (operation to remove the large bowel) was without doubt the best thing I could have done. If I’d only known how quickly it would give me my life back and take away my pain, I’d have begged a surgeon for the operation much earlier.
My own experience taught me how important it is to be aware of your bowels, but people just don’t talk about them – especially not in public! If you can’t talk about them, that’s fine. But please at least think about them from time to time? Ask yourself if you’ve noticed anything odd when going to the toilet – and no I don’t mean that the toilet paper never tears exactly along the perforations.
Why do you support Bowel Disease Research Foundation?
Because it’s probably the best surgical bowel research charity in the world.
What makes you happy?
What is your greatest fear?
Drowning – I can’t swim.
What is your most treasured possession?
My ileostomy. It’s something that will never leave me and something I literally can’t live without.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Penelope Cruz – for reasons of height equivalency. You’d have to fold most actors in half.
Which book changed your life?
Living with a stoma by Dr Craig White. Now Professor White, so I’m told. Candlestick in the drawing room, anybody?
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An ileostomist of course!!! Truthfully, I wanted to be a chemical engineer.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
When I was in hospital aged 21 a ward nurse on night duty said to me, “You’ll never find a husband now you’ve got an ileostomy bag.” What a load of stomaphobic nonsense! My boyfriend set her straight the next morning.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
My sister because she’s the ultimate multi-tasker (sibling and best friend in one).
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A tap or a plug for the end of my ileostomy, just so I could have a bit more control over when I empty my bag during the night.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
St-st-st-st stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
Read all about our Delphi Campaign