A girl has posted a series of selfies on social media revealing the struggle she faces living with her “invisible illness” – Crohn’s Disease. Aimee Rouski, 19, from Liverpool, uploaded the images – including one of her ileostomy bag and another showing a number of scars on her legs left from surgery – as a way of battling the stigma surrounding the disease.
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic condition that causes ulceration and inflammation of the digestive system. Symptoms include diarrhea (often with blood), severe pain, extreme fatigue, and sudden weight loss. At present the disease has no cure or vaccination, and sufferers often face surgery.
Aimee was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was just 11-years-old, after suffering constant stomach cramps, loss of appetite, severe weight loss and anal fissures. At 15, she was admitted to hospital for seven months, and received three lots of major surgery. She had her large intestine and colon removed, and muscles taken from her inner thighs to cover her external wounds. It was at this point that her ileostomy bag was fitted.
Her Facebook post read:
“I’ve wanted to do this for a while because I always see body posi posts for weight, but not many for disabilities / invisible illnesses.
First off I have Crohn’s disease, it’s a serious incurable illness that nearly killed me, not just a stomach ache like most people seem to think.
A person with crohns will go through many different treatments including surgery, and it’s the surgery I want to touch on now.
My Crohns has left me with a permanent ileostomy, no large intestine, colon, rectum, anus, or inner thigh muscles as they were used for plastic surgery on my wounds.
I’ve always been okay with the stuff that has happened to me, but some people have real difficulties accepting these things so I just want to say this.
No one will know unless you tell them.
People who know will still love you and still find you beautiful.
Your illness is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about”
Aimee’s post has received over 14,000 likes and almost 5,000 shares so far. We hope that her story gives Crohn’s Disease the exposure it deserves.