As a young man, Darren underwent ostomy surgery due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Today, he uses his open and outgoing nature to help increase awareness of IBD and break down the stigma of having a stoma.
Darren has always strived to live a healthy lifestyle, and to stay fit by participating in his favorite sport: cricket.
In 1992, when Darren was in his mid-20s, he returned from playing cricket overseas with IBD symptoms. He had blood in his stools and stomach cramps, and he felt unwell. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and spent the next 10 years trying various treatments including high dose prednisone, until his symptoms became worse.
After a consultation with a surgeon, Darren quickly had ileostomy surgery, without much time to prepare. The operation definitely made his life better. “It gave me freedom to do whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted, without worrying about being close to toilets,” he says.
Darren has found that men generally don’t ask too many questions when it comes to health issues. To help start the conversation about IBD, he came up with the idea of wearing purple cricket shoes, the colour associated with IBD awareness. People have asked about the shoes, which has led to discussions about his experience with IBD, his ostomy surgery, and how his stoma has improved his quality of life.
Darren’s tips for living with an ostomy
Darren knows firsthand that having a stoma is a big change in a person’s life. He has some advice on how to live your best life after ostomy surgery:
Darren strives to set a good example for his two kids by living an active lifestyle and continuing to play cricket. He says, “No matter what challenges you have in life, it’s important to continue to do what you love,” he says. “My stoma is just a part of me!”
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