I never thought I would ever blog about Jade Goody, but here we are. When I read today about her death, I was struck by her age, 27. That is the same age as me, it shocked me. She has crammed a whole lot into that life. I remember watching her on Big Brother, it was the summer I (and she) turned 21, I honestly can't think of any other Big Brother contestant who has made such a big impact following their time "in the house". Over the last 7 years she became, love her or hate her, a celebrity, constantly in our consciousness and our tabloids. I hope her two young children are allowed to remember her media triumphs and feel proud of what she achieved.
Something she was quoted as saying grabbed me;
"The hard truth is I'd be dead if they hadn't cleared the blockage in my bowel," she revealed after the op. "The tumour made me constipated and caused my body to start bloating. My biggest fear was that I would have to have a colostomy bag. I've dealt with losing my hair - but a poo bag, that really would have been the final indignity for a woman. But, like everything else, I've coped because I have to. Where there's life there's hope. That is what I'm clinging on to."
I'm sure that Jade was speaking in a "silver lining" kind of context, but I want anyone reading her comments to know that a colostomy bag is not an indignity. In any situation.
I have met women will colostomy bags who have them following bowel cancer, mine was due to bowel obstruction from Crohn's Disease. In all cases these were life saving procedures and the dignity with which many of these women have overcome their illness is a lesson to me.
I have already encountered this attitude - in hospital, while recovering from my colostomy operation. A lady was brought into the ward (which contained me and another lady also with colostomy), she'd had surgery to some part of her intestines. She was complaining loudly to her visitors about how uncomfortable she was and how awful the surgery had been, then she said "at least I didn't have to get a bag, that really would have been impossible to live with". I mused about telling her that it wasn't that bad, actually, but I put her comments down to morphine and forgave her!
No matter how prominent, or loud, the person with that opinion is, I can honestly say that This "poo bag" has given me a life I'd stopped believing possible.