Rob's Story


My Name is Rob Smith

I arrived in this world, 14th June 1966, a home birth, soon rushed to Sheffield children’s hospital, as I had no bum hole!. Surgery aged 2 days, found I had a high case of rectal atresia, other bowel problems, and a stoma bag fitted at 2 days old. Many other operations followed as I grew, bag removed aged 4 and connected up down below to poop from new bum.

School years were a nightmare of incontinence and accidents, mixed with constipation and agony. Things got better between 15 and 29, got married had a gorgeous little girl, running own farming business, life was good.

Aged 29 incontinence came back, blood in stools felt really ill. Bowel that was used to form new rectum was infected, so needed removing. After seeing local doctor, was sent to the Royal London for a consultation with a Professor Norman Williams. He said he could move a muscle from my leg, wrap it round a new anus, control it open and closed with a little magnet, then have a colonic conduit in my upper bowel to introduce about 500ml of water to swill bowel out. No more leaks, once a day empty, sounded amazing. It wasn’t !!. Had surgery in July, was in for ten weeks. Had further ops while in to try and make it work, no joy at all. Was bored towards end of my stay, so one Saturday, cannulas in each hand, slippers, grey flannel pj’s, and hoodie, I got a taxi to the Tower of London and took the open top bus tour around London. I got some funny looks but had a good day.

Got back to panicking nurses wondering where I’d been. That night about 3 am was peckish so with my new found adventuring habit, I popped over Whitechapel High Street to the 24hr shop in slippers and short pj,s with dressing gown on. Got funny looks from the local gang bangers and drunks, but I needed a Twix and a can of Coke.

Struggled on for years trying to make this op work, in the end I gave up and had a permanent Ileostomy. Six years ago, had big infection problems so had to have all large bowel and rectum removed. I was soon after diagnosed with Fibromyalgia which is a real pain, pun intended!!

My stoma keeps falling back in, had 3 revisions, now awaiting a surgery to form a new stoma site and have excessive tissue in abdomen removed. Now though another bump in the road, had awful back pain and felt very rough, rushed into hospital with blood pressure very low. Got a bad kidney infection, swollen kidney and a 7mm stone stuck in a 2mm tube. Had first of two surgeries, awaiting second now. Wonder what will happen next, might even go a full year without needing surgery of some sort.

Tallied up last year and I’ve had 50 surgeries or procedures under a general anaesthetic, now 51, so averaging 1 a year. All I can say is that through all this I have had a great life so far, my stoma makes my life liveable, even though it can be a real menace and has a mind of its own, it still gives me the chance to live a “normal” life, whatever that may be!!!.