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New Year, New Jpouch

A guest post from my Twitter friend, Laura who joins me in 2015 with a new year of "health" with a new j-pouch! She's super sweet and fun! I encourage you all to follow her. Thanks, for your help, Laura!!!

New Year, New Jpouch. 
By Laura (@ucGirl_2008)

I don’t usually make New Year resolutions. Even when made with the best of intentions, the resolutions of many seem to have been abandoned or forgotten about by mid January. This year however… is different. For 2015, I resolve to make the most of being healthy! 
This time last year I was six weeks post-op from having my large colon removed as a result of Ulcerative Colitis (UC).  The surgery took place on the 16th November 2013 and came after nearly two years in poor health due to a severe flare-up of my UC that started in early 2012. Despite trying many different medications and an assortment of more natural remedies, such as probiotics, aloe vera juice and a gluten free diet, my UC continued to be a problem. Rapid weight loss in mid 2013 was followed by a three-week hospitalization and it was during this time that I first met with a surgeon.  Not wanting to give up on medical treatments, I was very dismissive of surgery at first – It wasn’t for me, I wasn’t that ill, I would find a way to get back into remission or so I thought. A further three months later and with little improvement to my health, I (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to surgery.    
I went into 2014 without a colon and with the knowledge that the year ahead would involve two further surgeries and two further recoveries. Although I was feeling much better than I had for the previous two years, 2014 was all about completing my journey to a ‘jpouch’. In June I underwent my pouch construction surgery and in November I had my third and final surgery to reverse my ileostomy and connect up my jpouch. For me, this year has been more about getting healthy than being healthy. 
I have now been living with a jpouch for seven weeks and so far recovery has gone really well. The first few weeks were a little uncomfortable and I am still adjusting to my "new normal" but as I look ahead to the new year, I hope that 2015 will be the first since 2011 where I can live life to the full and make the most of being healthy.
With my surgeries behind me, I will be returning to my full-time job without the need to mark an upcoming operation onto the calendar that requires an extended amount of time off work; time off from a job I love. I hope to go on an overseas holiday where I can be free to relax without the fear of a UC flare and with no need to carry a haul of medications in my luggage! 
During 2015, I will also continue to work to raise awareness of IBD (and jpouches). I will be increasing my involvement with the Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity group of which I am a member. My IBD story was recently featured in their Winter 2014 newsletter and I look forward to continuing to work with the group to raise awareness and support fellow patients. In January I will also be undertaking training to become a qualified telephone helpline advisor for another UK based charity. This will allow me to use my experiences of UC, surgery and life with a jpouch in a positive way that will hopefully help others in need of advice.  
There is no denying that the last three years have been a struggle, both physically and mentally but the start of a new year offers a good opportunity for me to look forward to a healthier future. I will never forgot those dark days with Ulcerative Colitis where I felt chained to the toilet, or the freedom from this that my year living with an ileostomy allowed, but I now hope my jpouch will continue to work as it should and last me long into the future.
Finally I would like to thank the online IBD community for all the support I have been given over the past year. Being able to connect with other people who understand IBD and may have been faced with similar challenges can be a great help.    
To all the IBDers, ostomates or jpouchers out there, here’s to a happy (and healthy) New Year! 
I can be found on twitter: @ucGirl_2008 
or contacted via email at: