Enter the name for this tabbed section: Welcome
Hello and welcome to my site. Using the tabs above you will be able to read a little about me and my interests as well as my experiences of having had ulcerative colitis for 10 years before finally having surgery which has left me with a permanent ileostomy.

I have a keen interest in photography and if you click on the 'Photography' link at the top of the page, you will be able to see a small selection of my images.

You can get in touch by using the 'Contact Me' link below.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: About Me

I am a Border Force Officer based in the south of the U.K. It has been a very busy and interesting past eleven years for me with a sad and distressing divorce, followed by the joy of meeting someone new. Jane and I are extremely happy together and were married in December 2006 followed by a very relaxing and romantic honeymoon in the Highlands of Scotland in the run up to Christmas.

The photo on the below shows ‘Tigh Romach’, the beautiful remote cottage nr Beauly on the outskirts of Inverness where we spent a lovely week on honeymoon. It was well worth the 600 mile drive to get there!

Click on the link to visit the official web site of the
Belladrum Estate where the cottage is situated..

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We were married at Lainston House, a beautiful William & Mary house nr Winchester, Hants. We had a wonderful day and would like to thank all of our family and friends for making it very much a day to remember.

There are really two reasons why this site exists and neither has anything to do with vanity or self promotion. Firstly, it was an opportunity to develop a growing interest/hobby in computing. Secondly, and more importantly, it now seems to be an avenue of contact for those of us unfortunate enough (or fortunate, depending on how you view things !) to talk about, share experiences and seek help in dealing with the aftermath of surgery resulting in ileostomy.

Although the photo (right) was taken back in ‘98, it is special as it shows me with my last drug dog ‘Jet’. He was donated to the Department and was trained locally by myself and a colleague. This photo was presented to the donating family as a keepsake. ‘Jet’ lived a long and happy retirement in Spain with a colleague. Unfortunately old age finally caught up with him (he was over 14 yrs old) and sadly he was put to sleep in June 2010. I  caught up with him on a couple of occasions before his move abroad and he really enjoyed his well earned retirement.

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Another ‘passion’ of mine is Southampton Football Club. I have been a supporter of ‘The Saints’ for over thirty years now and have experienced many highs and lows throughout that time. One of the best days was The F.A Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 17th May 2003. The atmosphere inside the stadium was incredible and we completely outdid our opposing fans from Arsenal. The better team won on the day but I, and countless others, will always remember the day that the Saints supporters showed the watching millions just how much the Club means to us all. Of course, two successive promotions has taken us back to The Premier League and it is going to be a roller coaster ride….and as a season ticket holder, I'll be making the most of it!

Enter the name for this tabbed section: Ileostomy

In 1981, at the age of 16, I was diagnosed as suffering from Ulcerative Colitis. This is a disease that affects the lower end of the digestive tract, specifically the bowel. Colitis causes ulceration of the colon, the symptoms of which include the inability to pass a formed motion, passing of blood and mucus and desperate, sudden needs to go to the toilet. This, you can imagine is extremely unpleasant; well, as they say ’shit happens’…or not, in the case of colitis. I was placed on various medications and underwent procedures such as a ‘Barium enema x-ray’ and many sigmoidoscopy examinations. I will spare you the details , but trust me….they were not nice experiences! Over the years the condition deteriorated and in February 1992 I went to the Southampton General Hospital for 5 days of intensive intravenous steroid treatment. This relieved the symptoms for just a few days. It was at this point that I decided that if I was to have any quality of life, and to reduce the possibility of contracting cancer of the bowel, I needed to have an ileostomy. I returned to see the consultant who agreed to put me forward for the operation. Initially I expected to have to wait between 12 to 18 months for the surgery but a letter dropped through the door within a couple of weeks. I had just two weeks before I was due to go into hospital.

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This is how a typical ileostomy stoma (Greek word for ‘mouth’) looks. It is positioned on the right side of the lower abdomen. Because there are no nerve endings in the stoma, it is important to be careful when cleaning the site during the change of ileostomy appliances.
In April ‘92 I had a pan-proctocolectomy, which is the total removal of the colon and rectum. After a five hour operation I was returned to a high-dependency ward and slept, and slept, and slept. The next day, after the anaesthetic had worn off, I had serious doubts about whether or not I had made the right decision. I was in a lot of pain with tubes everywhere. I had a catheter, a wound drain, a saline drip, ‘patient (self) induced pain relief and a naso-gastric tube into my stomach. I did not look or feel good at all! After plenty of treatment and 10 days, I went home. Over the following months I began to get used to the way I would spend the rest of my life, although even now it is something that is very much on my mind. On the plus side, my quality of life has improved tremendously. I have had foreign holidays, including long haul, and there is not much that I cannot do if I so choose. If you are someone who has undergone, or is about to have an ileostomy and has any questions about the surgery or living with an ileostomy, I have a little over twenty years experience and am more than happy to offer any help or advice that I can. I don’t have all the answers and am not medically qualified but I am happy to lend an ear to those that wish to talk about what they may be going through. You can email me here.

Living with an ileostomy is not the easiest thing, but compared to trying to have any sort of normal existence with ulcerative colitis, it is ultimately preferable. If I am perfectly honest, I sometimes find it difficult to accept that this is how I will be for the rest of my life, especially as no matter how much I try to put it to the back of my mind, I know that there is no going back. On the plus side though, I have achieved many things that would have been impossible pre-ileostomy. I have an extremely understanding and supportive family, a good job and can still participate in sports, particularly football.
The only limitations to what I can do are really down to a mental state rather than a physical one. I still feel that bearing in mind how an ileostomy works, I can never be too far away from a toilet in case the pouch needs emptying. I know that there are some ileostomates who perhaps only drain the bag between three to four times per day. I prefer to take every opportunity to empty. A full pouch can feel pretty uncomfortable and I rather take the time, no matter how often, to drain the contents away. I suppose my biggest fear is always the dreaded ‘leak’. Ileostomy equipment can leak for a variety of reasons ranging from incorrect fitting, being worn for too long without change and just generally faulty manufacture. Fortunately they do not happen very often, but they usually occur at the most inopportune time with extremely messy results. I am not out to paint a bleak image of life post ileostomy but I think it only fair to show the whole picture. It is definitely not all ‘moonlight and roses’, let’s be honest, how many ileostomates would rather have a perfectly functioning body in good health ? About 100% I should think !!!

If you happen to stumble across this page and have any comments or questions on this subject, I am always happy to help if I can. I have learned one or two little tips along the way regarding dealing with an ileostomy, I am also happy to learn something new that you may be able to offer in the way of advice. I would very much hope to encourage as many people as possible to write as when I was ill, I often felt like I was the only person in the world who was suffering from colitis. Of course there are many thousands but it takes organisations and small groups alike to share experiences, tips and tricks and thoughts on illnesses to make people realise that they are not alone. If you have had an ileostomy or are suffering from colitis or Crohns, I would very much like to hear from you. Thank you ! 
There are many sites on the web dedicated to ileostomy, both personal and medical. There is much to be gleaned from the internet and below are a few sites that you might like to visit:

Shaz’s Ileostomy Page

NHS Ileostomy Information Pages

Ostomy Lifestyle

In recent months I have received messages from people seeking advice any many issues relating to ileostomy, both pre-surgery and post-operatively. These include self esteem, confidence, intimacy and practical tips. There are so many ways in which people can be affected by this procedure, and not all negative I hasten to add ! If you feel like writing about any of the above, or even if you have comments about things I have not mentioned, please feel free to drop me a line.
In summary, if you are experiencing issues as a result of UC or having an ileostomy, my best advice is to talk to or write to someone. There are times when just getting things out in the open and off your chest can be of tremendous help.