I am a 41 year old mother of three and have a supportive gorgeous hubby. I was diagnosed with Chron’s disease in my 20’s and suffered quite badly and was in remission for 20 years.

I stopped taking my medication and developed strictures (narrowing’s in my large bowel, making it hard for food to pass through). A keyhole surgery was performed to remove the part of the large bowel that was affected, but two days later I started deteriorating and had an anatomic leak. I was at risk of peritonitis and sepsis and was rushed in for emergency surgery. I woke up with no large bowel and an ileostomy and a tube down my nose and throat. Initially I was in shock as I wasn’t mentally prepared for living with an ostomy bag and the stigma attached. I had so many unanswered questions. Everyone was so lovely at the hospital but when you get home you feel a sense of loneliness. Am I the only one? Where do I go from here?

Prior to the ileostomy I had been doing cardio for years, by husband built a gym at the end of our garden and whilst on maternity leave, I was scrolling through Instagram looking at fitness female influencers and getting inspiration from their workouts. I started doing deadlifts and my body changed totally, even though my diet was poor due to my strictures. As I was doing a lot of weight lifting, I went online to search for support belts and came across Blake Beckford which led me to Respond’s website. Subsequently I emailed Respond and enquired about their support belts. I had an immediate reply from Natalie who bent over backwards to help me, nothing was too much trouble.

I had no clue what I was doing or what I was entitled to. She held my hand through emails, at one point I apologised for stalking her! She was always prompt and professional with her responses and advice. She arranged for one of the Respond reps to come and fit me for the belt, and at one point I had nearly run out of ostomy bags from the hospital, so Natalie had my nurse visit me, who provided me with different companies to supply my ostomy products, but I was so impressed with Natalie and the service I had received there was no contest, Respond were the company for me.

DPD delivery my supplies, they come in discreet packaging and provide a one-hour delivery slot on the day of delivery.

The customer service provided has been outstanding. Natalie has gone the extra mile and I would like to thank her, she made the process simple when I was already struggling mentally to come to terms with my new life with an ileostomy.

Thank you, Natalie, you are a superstar.

I couldn’t wait to recover at the 8-week post-surgery point and wear my support belts measured by the staff and get back into weightlifting like Blake Beckford, who is an absolute inspiration. Now that I have a stoma I can eat good carbs, fats and protein to build some serious muscle!



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