Giving back

02 December, 2021

Stoma Stories: Karen tells us about her life pre and post surgery and how she is giving back by fundraising and raising awareness of stomas on social media

Hello my name is Karen. I’m also known as kaz mcgoo #charitybusker.

My story started eighteen years ago, when I had a emergency hysterectomy. Tests showed abnormalities and as my mum died of cancer at the age of 42 the doctors didn’t want to take any chances.

Some years after this, my bowel shut down and I was rushed in for bowel reconstruction surgery or what’s known as the Star procedure. Within a year of this I started to suffer from blockages and eventually my bowel shut down again. I nearly died from the toxic poisoning that resulted. I’m only here today, because of the emergency, life-saving surgery I had. I went to the operating theatre knowing that I would wake up with a colostomy. I was expecting this to be temporary, but complications meant my stoma was and is permanent.

In all, I’ve had nine operations, including more recently a hernia repair. It is not unusual for people with stomas to get what are called parastomal hernias. Sometimes these have to be repaired surgically. I have started to come to terms with what I’ve been through. I also still have some problems and remain in the care of my local colorectal clinic. Sometimes my intestines don’t work properly. When this happens they give me a special tablet to help stimulate my muscles and get things ‘moving’! Indeed, it sometimes seems like I live on Movical. I have to take it every three days or so.

But life has to go on; mine certainly does!  I work as an  Activities officer in a care home. I am 49 years old and have 2 children and I’m a grandmother. I’m also a musician and I play guitar. I use my talents to busk in the street for charity. In the last five years this I have raised over £5000 for local charities. I also do what I can to raise awareness of stomas and what life is like when you have one. I have a big following on tiktok, Twitter and Facebook. To my mind, advice and support is everything after you’ve had stoma surgery. That’s why I do my best to help people all around the world by giving talks to patients going into stoma operations and recovery.

Since my story began, nearly two decades ago, I have helped raise over £27000 for charitable causes. Recently, I have been helping to raise funds for Colostomy UK. This has included doing a number of runs and a 5K sponsored sea swim that I am currently undertaking. It’s all because I wanted to say thank you for all the support colostomy UK have given me in the last nine years.

There are loads of ways you can fundraise for Colostomy UK too. Check out  https://www.colostomyuk.org/get-involved/fundraising/ for more details

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