It’s hard enough to be self-confident as a teenager, but 19-year-old Hattie Gladwell is inspiring others with her positive attitude, despite living with a colostomy bag. On her blog Morethanyourbag.com, Gladwell, who is from West Sussex, England, posts selfies, wears a bikini and discusses her condition to fight the stigma of using a colostomy bag.
Gladwell started using the device, which catches the user’s stool, when she was hospitalized with ulcerative colitis in January 2015. Her colon was removed meaning she only has a small intestine, which is connected to the outside of her stomach — the end is called a stoma, which is then attached to the colostomy bag.
Gladwell is open about the ins and outs of her condition, discussing everything from oral sex to tackling body image issues — Gladwell disclosed on her blog that she suffered from bulimia for two years before developing ulcerative colitis.
She wrote about the condition changing her priorities. “I’ve accepted my body. I don’t really get the chance to think about what my belly looks like now, because half of it’s covered by a bag," she wrote. “The other half of it though looks pretty damn good though. And it’s not flat, it’s not toned, it’s just a normal belly.”
Gladwell credits her mother’s support and boyfriend’s care for her recovery and new outlook, although she could be facing more surgery soon. “And for the time being, that decision is to live my life being pain free, happy and with the world at my feet,” she wrote.
Image via Morethanyourbag.com