The "ignorant" comments of a stranger at a retail store emotionally wracked the mother of a 2-year-old boy who has stoma bags.
Dallas Fowler's son, Jameus, has Hirschsprung's disease, a condition where his large intestine cannot pass waste due to a colon rupture that took place when he was 2 weeks old, The Huffington Post reports. A stoma is a surgically created front abdomen opening that channels waste into a bag that sticks to the body.
According to a Facebook message posted by Fowler while she was in a checkout line at a South Carolina Wal-Mart in April, the young mother gave her son a hug that rode up his shirt and exposed the stomas and bags, reports Metro.
"There was an older woman in line behind me who caught a glimpse and shrieked a little before she said to me ‘why in the world would you let someone do that to him?'" she wrote. "I turned around speechless and just looked at her before she continued and asked why he had them. I gave her the short version and basically said, 'his colon didn’t finish forming so he needed them'"
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She added, "She then goes 'well I am sorry but I just think that is so 'repulsing', can you please keep his shirt down?' At this point I just wanted to shake this woman and scream 'what is wrong with you?!' But instead, I told her to have a good night and went to another line."
Jameus, who has had more than 20 surgeries, needs the stomas and bags to live.
Fowler went on to explain her son's medical issues:
See what that woman doesn’t understand is, when my son is healthy, he is no different than any other 2 year old. He runs, plays, swims and goes to daycare. When he’s healthy, you wouldn’t be able to look at him and know he’s had over 20 surgeries and procedures. You wouldn’t know that he’s got more ahead in his future.
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You wouldn’t know he gets painful home dilation and irrigation treatments twice a day every day. You wouldn’t know that every day a catheter is put into his stoma to “feed” it stool twice a day in the hopes of growing his colon.
He’s my heart. He is so funny, and full of personality. He is sweet and loving and kind but also a little ball of fire. Please be kind and choose your words wisely, especially should you choose to comment about something that is none of your business. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, and my son is winning his.
With the Facebook post going viral, Fowler has been touched by the positive response. She feels the event enables her to teach people about Hirschsprung's disease.
"Because of her ignorance, I was able to turn something really negative into something really positive," she told The Huffington Post. "I’ve reached people all over the world and now thousands of people have heard of Hirschsprung’s disease. I would definitely tell her thank you."
Fowler set up a GoFundMe page for Jameus in April to help cover his medical expenses.