Wilma’s Story

... by Jessica's foster mum

This is just a short summary of how I learnt to cope with a stoma.

I was a foster parent & still am today. Back in 1988 I received a phone call asking me to take a placement of a newborn baby girl. The baby came to stay with our family, and little did we know was to follow.

Jessica was born drug & alcohol addicted, she was a very sick little girl. I realized very quickly that something was not quite right with her bowel movements. After numerous appointments over the next 7 years with medical professionals, I finally received a diagnosis.

Jessica was diagnosed with N.I.D.S. (Neuronal Intestinal Dysplasia), a disease of the bowel in May 1996. When things settled down a little, I made it my job to collect as much information as possible. I talked to our GP, The Professor that had made the diagnosis& also the Stomal Therapy Nurse. I then talked with Jessica, my husband and the social workers. The decision was made to set a date for Jessica to have an operation to form a stoma, this was to be in October 1996, Jessica would turn 8 in the following December.

We met with the Stomal Therapy nurse, and we all felt confident that all would be OK, A BIG MISTAKE. All the information I had been given did nothing for me when I saw the stoma for the first time on the day of surgery. I don’t know what I would have done without the wonderful stoma therapy nurses. They didn’t only have to care for Jessica they had to pick me up off the floor and look after me as well. I took a long time to help Jessica care for her stoma (which she called Hilary).

As a parent I think it is always much more difficult to cope when it is a child that is sick. I found it difficult to discuss the problem with many people, as bowel problems are not something that makes for good conversation. I soon learnt who would listen to me when I was having a hard time coping with all the issues that arose. Over the years we have learnt not to keep count of the number of admissions to hospital for whatever reason.

My biggest support came from the Stomal Therapy Nurses in the early years, and as time went by from a very special young lady whom I am proud to call our daughter, Jessica.

The above was presented at the "Who Cares For The Carers" Panel Discussion as part of the Y.O.U. Inc Meeting held in conjunction with the ACSA Annual Conference (October 2010)

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