Trudi Stonard, 37, was ‘lucky to survive’ after she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis – a condition which causes inflammation of the colon and rectum.
In just 10 weeks the condition escalated to life-threatening and surgeons spent six hours removing her bowel, which was so inflamed it was like ‘it was on fire’.
The mum-of-two from Walsall, West Midlands, started experiencing extreme stomach pain in 2014 and even eating a packet of crisps was leaving her in agony.
She was misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but Trudi feared it was more serious when she started passing blood after eating ‘one bite of KFC’.
Trudi dropped from 9st 9lb to 5st 9lb and underwent colostomy surgery to remove part of her colon and replace it with a stoma bag in 2015.
She was told it would be difficult to conceive because of the damage to her insides.
But three months after her colostomy, Trudi was shocked to discover she had fallen pregnant with another child.
Despite the odds being against her, Trudi continued with her pregnancy and found out it was a little boy, who is now aged four.
In the years since being fitted with a stoma bag, Trudi has learned to embrace it and says she can’t imagine herself without it.
‘While I was suffering from colitis, I lost around five stone,’ explained Trudi.
‘I kept losing weight and couldn’t keep anything down.
‘One day I went to the loo around 53 times in one day.
‘The doctors tried to take a stool sample but the bed pan looked like someone had poured a pint of blood in it.
‘I felt awful and was barely able to get out of bed.
‘My brought my little boy up to visit but he wouldn’t go anywhere near me. He said: “You’re not my mummy” That was devastating.’
Trudi was sent for more tests over two weeks including a colposcopy – which involved sending a camera through her colon.
She said doctors found the lining of bowel ‘covered in ulcers’ and she was finally diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
Doctors tried every medication but nothing was working.
In February 2015, Trudi’s last resort was the colostomy surgery, which involved removing the affected bowel and diverting the end through opening in the tummy called a stoma.
She was then be fitted with a stoma bag to collect the waste.
Getting pregnant a few months later provided some challenges.
‘Bobby-Jo was a total surprise – I was told it would be impossible to have a baby with condition,’ she said.
‘Things started well but once the bump appeared, it put a lot of pressure of my stoma.
‘I was told that I wouldn’t carry to full term but Bobby-Jo was a little fighter.
‘The real problem was going into labour. I hadn’t been to the loo for ages, I’d forgotten how to push!
‘Giving birth was the hardest thing in the world – luckily, he arrived safe and sound.’
A year later, Trudi and the family went to Tenerife where she proudly wore a bikini, showing off her stoma bag.
She added: ‘I had eyes on me left, right and centre but I didn’t care – I’ve learnt to embrace it.
‘I’m hoping to help other people out there who suffer and feel self conscious.
‘It’s not something to shy away from but embrace.’