Hi everyone, my name is Noelle, and I am mom, wife, daughter, friend, and permanent ostomate! I’ve had Crohn’s disease for most of my life and received my ileostomy as a result of severe disease almost ten years ago.

I was newly engaged, living my post college social life, and very ill. I didn’t envision spending what should’ve been the most fun years of my life in the bathroom or stressing about where a bathroom was.

An ileostomy was always what I envisioned as the worst-case scenario for my Crohn’s, and when faced with the decision, I realized what an easy choice it was. I chose life! A life free from the crippling stomach pain, constant diarrhea, and other horrible symptoms I was experiencing.

My ostomy not only saved my life, but it gave me my life back! After a period of adjustment to my new equipment, I was able to live the life I dreamed. It is full of fun times out with friends, celebrations (my wedding), and looking forward to the future. Though I still suffer from my disease, I have been healthy enough since surgery to have two baby boys (thank you IVF and modern medicine) and continue to live my life to the fullest.

Recently, someone approached me at the mall while I was wearing some of my Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation logo gear. She was also a mom living with an ileostomy! We became friends quickly, and she shared with me an Instagram post about 11 Health. I’m so thankful she did as I now find myself joining the team as a new Patient Coach!

As a PC, I look forward to giving people all the support they need as they face this life changing surgery and to be an inspiration for people looking at this as their new normal.

Of course, I’ll also share all the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past ten years with the hope of getting some new ones as well! To anyone facing or recovering from surgery, remember that it may feel overwhelming at first; however, there is hope for a future where you will not have to constantly think about your bag and feel any limitations!