When 32-year-old Australian mother Krystal Miller was just 15, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after years of painful, debilitating symptoms.
“I barely finished [sophomore year] as I was so sick,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I was sleeping 22 hours a day and was very skinny. I would often have accidents where I wouldn’t make it to the toilet.”
But her diagnosis most certainly wasn’t the end of her struggles with her health. For years, she felt like she was “dying slowly” like she was “rotting from the inside out.” “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 told BuzzFeed.
So she had a portion of her bowel removed at age 22, thus beginning her life with an ileostomy bag. Although the bag has given her “the opportunity to live [her] life,” living with an ileostomy bag can be a blow to your self-esteem, and that’s exactly why Krystal shared a beautiful picture of her in the bathtub to explain the difficulties of feeling sexy. . . and it’s been making its rounds of the Internet for an important reason.
Though the picture was taken during a time when Krystal was feeling “EPICLY sexy,” the caption explained that it was a long road to feel comfortable with her body after her surgery. She even had a boyfriend who broke up with her specifically because of her bag. However, one night when she was out dancing, a guy asked if she wanted to come home with him. She told him no, eventually explaining that she had an ileostomy bag — but the guy had already noticed while they were dancing and didn’t mind at all.
“My first and only one night stand,” she wrote in the post. “It made me feel so good that some stranger could want me and want to be with me even though he didn’t love me, he didn’t have to go home or take me home with him that night. That guy could have had anyone in that club that night, but he chose me! The confidence and the change in me was instant! I felt sexy again, I felt empowered! I felt like a woman who was still desirable!”
Krystal, who is currently at university studying to get her stomal therapy degree, says that “all of these crazy experiences” led her to her husband. “My hubby I told I had a bag on our second date,” she wrote. “He never cared and still [doesn’t]! [He’s] never made me feel anything but sexy! I’m sure that my confidence is what he loves about me. If I’m not making an issue out of it, why should he?”
Hear, hear, Krystal! This isn’t the only ileostomy bag selfie that Krystal has shared. In fact, she has an entire page called “Bag Lady Mama” devoted sharing her story.
“Our scars and our ostomies are our battle wounds we should be wearing with pride,” Krystal told BuzzFeed. “I believe these ‘invisible’ illnesses shouldn’t be hidden and we need to talk about it more. There is no shame in having a bowel disease and/or an ostomy.”