INTRODUCTION: This week, I’d like to introduce you to a lovely lady named Kim West. I’ve been following Kim and her story on Instagram for a while now and was really excited to see her story submission for my IBD Ninja Prize Pack contest. Her story is one of determination and courage and I am proud of how she’s handled her situation. The judges have placed her story as the 3rd Place Winner in the Contest. Kim, I will be mailing your Prize Pack out on Monday! Be sure to follow her on Twitter also! And now, without further ado, I present to you Kim’s Story…
Beautiful Disaster – Kim West’s Story
Seizures, loss of vision, loss of muscle use, being carried to the restroom because my legs won’t work, losing my hair, weight gain, weight loss, pancreatitis, crumbling teeth, night sweats, mood swings, the list is endless… but they say, “give it another week!” Another week comes and they say, “let’s try doubling the dose!” Blood transfusions, iron infusions, steroids, biologicals, supplements, eastern, western, everybody has an opinion… Meanwhile my eyes are so caved in & black I look like a zombie. My bones feel like they are rubbing against each other & it hurts to even move. My mouth covered in thrush. I keep fainting from exhaustion and dehydration.
Finally the answer to my prayers, I meet my surgeon. The man who saved my life! Within two weeks my rotted colon is removed. My rectum, rectal stump and cuff all gone. I now am the proud owner of an ostomy bag. Life has changed in a big way. I have a 3 part surgery routine to receive my J-Pouch. I think this is gonna be it. I survived. I did it… but my journey was far from over!
During my 3 step procedures I also had complications which led to a partial hysterectomy. So that makes 4 surgeries in less than a years time. If that wasn’t enough shortly after my J-Pouch was created I suffered from internal hemorrhoids. This went on for over 6 months receiving internal injections every 2 weeks. I am allergic to almost everything. I am not able to take pain medication or a lot of normal medications so my treatments are much different than the normal person. All my surgeries are done with only Tylenol.
Shortly after this, I had my first ileo anal prolapse. My small intestine literally fell & would come out of my rear end every time I used the bathroom. Add another surgery in to fix this called the Delorme Procedure. They did accordion like stitches up through the anus to try and keep it in place. Yet just 8 weeks later I prolapsed again. The second attempt to fix came with cutting my tummy back open and hand sewing my pouch to my tailbone! This held a little longer but 12 weeks later I had prolapsed again. So when prolapse surgery #3 came around I also had a huge hernia where my old stoma site used to be. So my surgeon decided to use the same procedure as #2 but this time with bio mesh. So he fixed my hernia and prolapse with the mesh! We really thought this would do the trick! But it didn’t… Devastated I prolapsed a 4th time. Then just two weeks after my bladder did as well.
My surgeon took my case and presented it in front of the nations top colorectal surgeons. He got their options and feedback. Given my age and ability to bounce back from surgeries we decided to give this thing one more attempt before making my ostomy bag a permanent decision. So two weeks ago I had one more major surgery.
Special pins were flown in from Singapore. We had to get special permission to even use them at my hospital because they have never been used in America before! I had 3 surgeons in the OR. An orthopedic, a Urologist and my Colorectal of course. My sacrum was drilled into and anchors were set and then these pins were set into place. My J-Pouch was then strapped into these pins. Mesh was used to tuck in my bladder and lift my whole female anatomy basically so that it sits higher. My recovery has been amazing so far. I feel fantastic. Very minimal pain. I look back over the past 5 years and honestly I would not change a single thing. Every pain, every emotion, friends lost, friends gained. This experience has made me the person I am suppose to be. I am forever humbled and honored to have such a role in life. This disaster of events is the most beautiful love story ever written because it is mine. God wrote it just for me. He gave me my own part in his ultimate plan and there is nothing more special than that. I am a Beautiful Disaster.
-Kimberli West xo