Supporting the Colitis, Crohn's, ostomy and J-Pouch community one butt joke at a time



More Adventures in Dating – Guest Post

The Love Birds
The Love Birds

I met my boyfriend shortly before his first surgery. His illness was pretty epic. He had been sick for maybe ten years with UC when we met. He moved to the UK to change careers and started training as a teacher at the school where I worked. It was not an easy school to work at, even for someone experienced. I’d hate to think how hard it must’ve been on immunosuppressants and steroids and in constant pain. But he managed to do it all and still remain cheerful. The staff and the students all loved him. No one knew how sick he was. Not even his best friend I think. I suppose he had learned to keep it from a lot of people by then, but he was really unwell.

A few months later he was hospitalized with shingles, as the drugs had weakened his immune system. We were friends by then and he tells me now that he’d already fallen for me, but decided he was in no state to contemplate women or relationships due to his health. I knew he had colitis, but I knew bugger all about the disease apart from that it affected the bowel. A few months later he had his bowel removed as a matter of urgency and had complications from his surgery. We kept in touch through our mutual friends and he returned to work after the summer.

We became great friends when he returned to work. Weirdly, his illness was partially responsible for us getting together. UC had nearly killed him, but it made him so grateful and positive about being alive after his first operation, he was so awesome to be around. His love of life was contagious and I loved hanging out with him. I’d never known someone with such a unique perspective. He used to tell me how great it felt to feel the wind and rain on his face after months stuck in hospital. Anyone who could be positive about the English weather had to be something special.

I knew he had an ostomy, but it didn’t bother me. He was so much healthier because of it and I was just so grateful he was around, bag or no. I let him tell me about his illness and surgeries when he was ready. We took a while to get together. The only reason I hesitated was because we had become so close as friends and we had a close knit group of common friends, that we both sensed it had to be all or nothing if we got together.

Since then we’ve not let it hold us back: I nicknamed his ostomy Oswald and we saw the funny side when he made noises, we saw the bright side to Oswald when we went to psy trance festivals in the middle of nowhere and managed to convince the medical team to let us use the medical tent loos (even though we spoke zero Hungarian), we realised his limitations when moved in together a matter of weeks after his second operation (and subsequent infections). Tip: Do not allow your significant other to try to move house post op, coming off tramadol and morphine.

The most difficult part of being with him was seeing him get down about having Oswald. I was so into this guy, I couldn’t have cared less if he had an ostomy or not. It didn’t scare me off but it really upset me that it made him uncomfortable, self-conscious or less confident at times. He avoided being completely naked around me at first which I understood, but his bag never put me off. It had saved his life. I fucking loved that thing.

A letter written to her partners ostomy
A letter written to her partners ostomy, click to see larger

There was one time, not long after we got together, when we were staying at our mates’ house. We’d had a lazy morning and were in the early stages of our relationship where you shag each other’s brains out. Then… the worst thing that could’ve happened happened. A leak. A significant leak. In bed. Pretty much right after a really lovely moment. Looking back now, we both think it’s pretty fucking funny. Not only did it occur at THE MOST (well, almost the most) inopportune time, but also: we weren’t at home and our best mates knew what had just gone on. But, despite it being embarrassing at the time, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. It kind of got the worst out of the way pretty swiftly and we were able to get on with our lives. So what if it happened again? I don’t think it did happen again after that actually, but it took the fear out of that situation.

Two and a half years on, Oswald is gone and my boyfriend has a fully functioning j pouch. I have always said to him that if something goes wrong down the line, I’d welcome Oswald back with open arms. That bag made our relationship rock solid from the start. We had to be open and honest with each other from the get go. I became my boyfriend’s emergency contact/next of kin for his surgeries fairly early in our relationship. It brought us together in lots of ways.

We will get married in a week’s time.

And here’s a note from her boyfriend:

This is a letter my girlfriend (now fiance) wrote to my ostomy (and associates) after I had a serious shit party in my car, (leak, I think it was in the car on my way to work) and was just a bit pissed off.

We named my ostomy ‘Oswald’ and in truth we thought of ‘him’ as a third person (I’m sure you would get that).

Our relationship with Oswald was a love/hate kind of thing. We loved him for helping me be alive (just a small thing really!) but we hated him for being an arsehole. To be honest, we loved him more than we hated him.

We got together after I had my ostomy. We had been good friends before, we got together. I was all sorts of nervous but we worked out. I know Patches has written you an email describing how it all went so I won’t double up here. I just want to say that I really think it’s definitely possible to to start a relationship, even with an ostomy (shock horror!). All you need is someone who understands and is loving. Bec has been the most amazing person. I will be forever indebted to her for the way she looked after me and treated me (even when I did shit the bed). Her sense of humour was infectious and only served to made me laugh. Constantly!

Yep there will be arseholes. There will always be arseholes out there, with or without an ostomy. I read somewhere before that an ostomy is like an arsehole filter. Keeps them arseholes away. So, I figure, if somebody is all weird and shit then they are just not for you (sometimes, they mightn’t be arseholes, just not educated or open minded enough).

More Adventures in Dating – Guest Post

I recently asked those who are dating someone with IBD/Ostomy/Jpouch (who started dating after their partner was diagnosed or had surgery) to write a guest post for me about why they didn’t run screaming when they found out about their IBD/Ostomy/Jpouch. I wanted the stories from the other side. Here is one that I got, if you’d like to share yours email me at

holding_handsA couple of weeks ago, as I was preparing to head out of town for a work related trip, I noticed a post on the Girls With Guts Facebook page and wanted to respond. I did not respond at that time
for two reasons. The first reason being that I did not have time at that point to write my response as I needed to be driving out of town to get to my destination. The second reason was that I was not sure if it would have been proper for me to respond since I was newly introduced to the IBD and ostomy world.

First, let me explain who I am and how I am connected to Girls With Guts. I am the Vice President of a car club in my area and a couple of months ago a new member joined my club and we started talking and she has since become my girlfriend and stolen my heart. She means the world to me and I adore everything about her. But let me get back to the story at hand. As we were getting to know each other (and before we had actually met) I had become Facebook friends with her and saw her connection to Girls With Guts and ostomies. Not knowing anything about IBD or ostomies, I did some Google searching on my own to read up and learn more about it all and while I still do not know or understand it completely, it did give me a glimpse into what it was all about. It also did not in any way deter me from wanting to get to know this girl further and then pursuing a relationship with her.

That now brings me back to the original point I was making about this post that I saw on the Girls With Guts page. You see, it was a girl with an ostomy saying that she was having a selfimage issue and not feeling beautiful. I wanted to answer her back and let her know that real beauty cannot be hidden or taken away by anything on the outside. From the posts and pictures I have seen, you have many beautiful women and none of them should let an ostomy or anything else take away from that beauty. A real man (and yes I realize that this world does not have too many real men, but rather an over abundance of males) will see that beauty and not care about those things. I got into a relationship with my girlfriend already knowing a bit about her ostomy and some of what it entails, but it didn’t matter. The moment I first saw her she was beautiful to me. I feel in love with her and had a very physical attraction to her as well as a spiritual connection with her. To me, she is one of the most beautiful women in the world and I tell her so every chance I get.

So this quick little post was written in response to that post I saw on Girls With Guts. I wish I would have replied but missed that opportunity and told my girlfriend about it and that is when she told me that Jackie was looking for letters like this for her blog. I just want you women to know that you are beautiful and any man that judges or states otherwise is not worth your time or consideration. Do not even give him a second look and just keep your head held high and find a real man. They are out there and they will adore you and everything that makes up you.

Guest blog: Justin Berkman

I would like to say hello to the loyal readers of Jackie’s blog. Jackie asked me to do a little guest blogging in order to relate to her male readers because, as she puts it, she “doesn’t have a wang”. She was looking for a little insight from me about male J-Pouch issues. As a proud J-Poucher for over a year, and a proud male for much longer than that, I think I’m up to the task.

My struggles have probably been similar to those of the female J-Pouchers, but I believe that many male J-pouchers (myself included) have a more difficult time dealing with the emotional pain that results from years of going through IBD, surgeries, and adjusting to life with a J-Pouch, in a healthy way. Not only do we try to suppress our feelings, but our male friends often do not provide the best emotional support.

Dudes in general do not seem to be as good as women at being compassionate. Shortly after I got out of the hospital after my first surgery, a few guys who knew the details of my procedure started referring to me as “shit bag”. When I was rather sick with colitis, every time I would run to the toilet, my roommate would yell, “Shit! Shit! Shit!”. This chant got a little old considering I was running to the bathroom every 10 minutes and was in intense pain. I’m not overly sensitive, and as a professional comedian I can take teasing almost as well as I can dish it, but I probably could have used a little more empathy from these guys. Thankfully, I have some good friends who have been extremely supportive and understanding throughout all my health battles.

Even though society has taken steps to combat gender stereotypes, men still tend to be conditioned to believe that any display of vulnerability, anxiety, or sadness signifies that they are less manly. Guys go to great lengths to avoid being called a “pussy”. Because of this, I think many male J-Pouchers/IBD sufferers do not seek the emotional support they need due to a fear of showing emotional weakness.

To the men, fellas, my bros, don’t disregard the emotional impact all this health stuff can have on you. As I have recovered physically, I’ve been trying to focus solely on advancing my career, especially because my health issues have had such a negative impact on my professional life. However, I have learned that if I do not take the time to vent my frustrations with my recovery or to acknowledge the emotional pain that years of suffering caused, then I will end up being as unhealthy emotionally as I used to be physically. So, I make sure to take care of myself emotionally because I’ve been through too much to neglect any aspect of my health.

Good luck to all of the dude J-Pouchers out there as you progress in your recoveries. I’d like to extend a virtual bro-hug to all of you.

Justin Berkman is a professional comedian living in Los Angeles. Luckily for him, he got an ass disease, and an endless slew of jokes!

You can see Justin talkin’ about colitis and ostomies in this video!

If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis!

Ok, maybe not quite. But who doesn’t love a good Billy Madison quote?

Self admittedly, we are a people obsessed with poop. That’s right, I just called us a people. Add it to the census questionnaires. But I digress. So yes, poop obsessed people. And who can blame us? It controlled our life, and to a large extent, it still does. When we tell “others” about our issues, it’s poop they fixate on. But IBD and the treatments can have a ripple effect into all other kinds of bodily systems as well.

I recently received my first reader email from a fellow IBD bro. Let’s call him OP, for Optimus Prime (total badass bro). So OP recently had a total protocolectomy, and is now having urination issues from the swelling in his pelvic region. OP claims a lack of strength on his stream, which is causing it to go everywhere but the toilet. OP is wondering if it gets better.

Well OP, Guy J. Pouch is not a doctor. But from one bro to another, hang in there, it should get better. As the swelling goes down, things will start to work more “normally”. (Notice the quotes, we are not normal; we are medical marvels. And like the honey badger, we are bad-ass.) I remember after surgery, I had a hard time emptying my bladder in one fail swoop. But you eventually get there.

However for Guy J. Pouch, post-surgical urination issues are plentiful. You see, the anesthesia they gave me in surgery, combined with the high-strength pain killers, keeps me from peeing after surgery — for days. When I’m cath’ed it’s no problem. But you know doctors, they want to take you off of everything ASAP. So despite my incessant pleas for mercy to keep my cath in a little longer, they pull it, and I cannot urinate on my own. And like clockwork, my bladder fills, overflows, and I’m screaming out at the top of my lungs in what can only be described as speaking in tongue as if I were the devil himself.

But here I am, 8 months out of surgery, and I’m doing better than ever. So OP, hang in there, or talk to your surgeon (that’s what you pay them for)!

Do you have any quirks post-surgery? Leave them in the comments below.

Cliches are stupid. That's right, I said stupid.

I had this whole long post written about this Wego prompt, “you think you know, but you have no idea”. No, really, I did. But who wants to read about me going on and on after you’ve already read Jackie’s. (SPOILER ALERT: She talks about stomas and puppies in the same post. Freak.)

So open thread. Post your “you think you know, but you have no idea” stories below. Best one gets a digital high five. I’ll start with mine.


* * *

Anyone who has fought the good fight for any decent length of time knows you just come to accept that everyone around you thinks they’re a doctor, and that they’re going to tell you some magical thing to “cure” you. My father once read in the local newspaper that caraway seeds, like the kind you find in sausage, were some miracle help for irritable bowel syndrome. Funny huh? Despite the fact he couldn’t understand that I didn’t have IBS, I had IBD. He would try and try and try to sneak them on my food.

Maybe this is a good point out that seeds do not like me. In fact, they hate me. They make me sick. Violently. (Thanks Dad!)

Guys Have Pouches Too

While I may be willing to spill my guts out onto this blog to help j-pouchers of the world, the one thing I really can’t do is speak from a male perspective. So Internet, I present to you Guy J. Pouch. Don’t worry about who he is, (I do promise you that he is in fact, a he and not just me) but please feel free to ask him your man questions. About man stuff. Like being a man. And stuff.

Blood, Poop, and Tears is a great blog, but you know what it’s missing? A MALE point of view. So Guy J. Pouch is here to fix that.

Are you ready talk IBD and pouch with a fellow bro? Good, so am I; and over the next few weeks, we’re going to shoot the shit (see what I did there?). Heck, maybe we’ll make this a regular thing.

However, it’s a known fact that guys are lazy, and I’m no exception; so I need ideas on what you guys (and gals) want to see from the male point of view. Drop me a line at, or you’ll be subjected to posts about boring things, like sports and hot women. Speaking of hot women, maybe I’ll start a IBD hottie of the week. Any volunteers? 😉

But all kidding aside, this is your opportunity to have your UC/IBD/surgery/ostomy/J Pouch/rubber ducky questions answered with a fresh take.

So hit me up, and let’s talk poop (or why the Steelers suck).


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