Sylvia Williamson

My name is Sylvia and I live in Dumfries Scotland with husband and young daughter. I’m 36 years old. I had colectomy and J-pouch construction in September 2002 due to FAP.

My mum died of bowel cancer and although I was being screened regularly, I naively thought that the screening meant I would be ok (I am fairly intelligent – honest)! Well I felt as though the bottom had fallen out of my world when hundreds of polyps were discovered - now the world falls out of my bottom – lol.

My wee girl was only 4 and I was terrified at the thought of an ileostomy. I was shocked, anxious, angry and terrified I wouldn’t be able to cope. I had to wait 4 months before I had the surgery and that was the worst part for me, the waiting and worrying.

The surgery itself was very straightforward, and although I was in pain it really was not half as bad as I had expected. Initially in hospital I was devastated when I first saw my new stoma and cried and cried, however I realised that the longer it took me to get to grips with it the longer it would be before I could get home to my precious daughter and husband. So I pretended everything was fine and what do you know – soon I didn’t have to “put a brave face on it” – everything was ok.

During my time with my stoma I was visited by someone on behalf of IA and she inspired me so much I decided there and then that I would like to help other in the same boat. So in October last year I attended and passed the IA visitors training course, so now I am qualified to help others. I had my reversal surgery in November 2002 and haven’t had any major problems since.

I returned to work in February 2003 full time and holidayed in Lanzarote and Dublin that summer. I have met so many wonderful people throughout my journey that I would have never known otherwise. To anyone out there in a similar position – it may not seem like it just now but please have faith – things will get better and hopefully you will have gained something positive from the journey.