This mom who wears an ileostomy bag is trying to empower others to feel beautiful in the skin they're in.
Krystal Miller, a 32-year-old from Perth, Australia, was diagnosed with Crohn's disease -- a condition that causes chronic inflammation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract -- when she was 15 years old. She wears an ileostomy bag, a pouch which collects waste from an opening in the abdomen, because of the condition, she told The Huffington Post.
But the mother of two is not shy about her pouch and wants to help others who have bowel illnesses feel comfortable with who they are, too. So she started a Facebook page Bag Lady Mama in late January where she shares pictures of herself proudly featuring her bag, along with her story. She's already attracted more than 3,200 fans in a few weeks.
"We shouldn't be hiding," she told Cosmopolitan of those living with bowel diseases. "We should be empowering our fellow man. We should be wearing our battle wounds with pride."
Along with her confident selfies, Miller's page also features some basic information related to bowel diseases, posts about topics like sex and pregnancy while wearing the bag, as well as glimpses of her life.
"I post what I feel I'd like to read. I hope that others can see the humor in it and enjoy reading," she told HuffPost. "Sex and feeling sexy is a huge part of someones recovery."
The 32-year-old told BuzzFeed that life was much harder before getting her ileostomy bag.
“Previous to having my surgery, I was about to lose my job, my relationships weren’t very good and I couldn’t live like a normal 22-year-old,” she said. “It was hard. I felt like I was dying slowly, like I was rotting from the inside out.”
That all changed after she started living with the bag. In fact, it's completely altered her her outlook for the better.
“Having an ileostomy has given me the opportunity to live my life,” she told BuzzFeed. “I’ve gotten to travel the world, work full time, have a family and be just me. Having a bag does not and should not stop you from loving yourself and being exactly who you want to be.”
The mom says she's ecstatic about the attention her page has received and is excited to see the positive responses of others who also use an ostomy bag.
"I feel like little old me just might be able to create some change in Australia and open doors and voices for Ostomates, Crohnies and Colitis suffers!" she told HuffPost. "I feel like I can help others! It's nice to be called 'hot mama!' Who doesnt want to hear that?!"
Ultimately, she hopes that her page will spark conversation surrounding bowel diseases.
"I see a lot of publication on the issue and it widely spoken about. this needs to be regularly talked about. ... This is affecting everyone, even babies. We should never be made to feel shame," she said.
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