Woman who was bedbound for five years says stoma bag gave her new lease of life
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A young woman who was left bed bound with excruciating pain for five years has been given a new lease of life after being fitted with a stoma bag.
Charlotte Twinley, 24, first started suffering from intense stomach pains at 14 years old, making it difficult for her to digest any food.
After years of struggling to eat, go to the bathroom, and even get out of bed, Charlotte was eventually recommended a stoma bag, which would give her her life back, and even give her a once in a lifetime opportunity to model at London Fashion Week.
Charlotte was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) – a condition that affects the body's connective tissue and joints, making her colon, and other body parts extra stretchy – back in 2013.
“I was constipated all the time which was so embarrassing for a teenager," she recalled.
“I struggled with my weight and body image due to my eating issues. I was basically bedbound for five years because I was so weak.”
When medics offered to give her a stoma bag – which would divert part of the bowel through an opening in her stomach – Charlotte, who was desperate to eat real food again, didn't hesitate.
"I was really excited to get it," said Charlotte. "I didn’t really feel self-conscious about it because I was just so desperate to eat normally and be able to sit down with others and have what they are having rather than a smoothie."
In 2018, Charlotte finally got the surgery, and has been able to eat and enjoy a normal life ever since.
The West Sussex native said: “I was so desperate to have a Chinese takeaway again and I thought it was such a cool medical innovation.
“It’s helped repair my relationship with my body. I’m not afraid to show it off."
Charlotte started posting about her condition on social media after realising there wasn’t anyone else out speaking out about having a stoma bag because of EDS.
"I really proudly show it off and speak about it to help others," she said.
Last year, the content creator got an amazing opportunity to show off her body and raise awareness for people with stoma bags by modelling for London Represents at London Fashion Week in September 2021, and again this year.
"They try and champion people of all shapes and sizes and diversity which is really refreshing," she explained.
"It was a much bigger event this year so it was nerve-wracking. But there was so much adrenaline and I felt so sassy walking down there.
"If I can encourage others to have acceptance of themselves then that’s amazing."