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My back story.

Bullet  My name is Alan. I am currently 41 years young. I've always been a healthy, athletic, competitive cyclist and a creative individual. That is until 1998 rolled around.

Bullet  I started to become ill with what my doctors thought was a passing stomach bug. After some time passed I was only getting worse. I had more extensive testing done.

Bullet  My diagnosis was Ulcerative Colitis. Fast forward, I had been ill with UC for around nine years, on all types of meds.

Bullet  By this time my body was not responding to the meds, and my biopsies looked discouraging. Surgery was now my only real option, it was just a matter of what type?

Bullet  As most of you know, options are quite limited in these circumstances. I chose to go for the J-Pouch
procedure. I had the procedure done in one shot, meaning no ostomy. As you can imagine I was very happy to wake to that result. All seemed to be going well.

Bullet  Unfortunatly, I was home only for a short time and I was  back in the hospital with complications and having major pain etc. Fast forward, due to the fact they had to go in to root around, I was left with a temporary ostomy. That I still currently have.
This is me. As you can see, I am a very active person. We ride bikes all year long. There was a time when I wasn't sure if I'd ever be able to ride at all. I've come a long way.

Bullet  Mortified would be one good word to describe how I felt about that. I can think of a few choice others, but I'll spare you. Having gone through many many complications. I had a lot of down time. Me being me, not being happy with looking at this plain, ugly, boring ostomy belt that I had on 24/7. I thought I gotta do something about this. Of coarse it helped take my mind off of things for a brief moment as well.

Bullet  As a kid my grandmother taught me the basics of sewing, I think she was just trying to keep me busy. But I liked playing on the machine. I was able to find some cool elastic material online to make the belts out of and I was off and running, so to say.

Bullet  I ordered my first batch of elestic in the Skull and Crossbones pattern of coarse. That's my twisted sense of humor for you. I thought it was not only funny, but reflected how I had felt for so many months.

That's when the light bulb turned on.  My ah ha moment happened when I finished sewing my first belt and held in in my hands. It just made me smile. Something I hadn't done for nearly two years. It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't gone through a tuff illness. Smiles are hard to come by, and I had just had one. The first thing that popped into my head was I HAVE to share this with others. If something so simple can bring someone else a big fat smile, then boy, I'm doing something worth while..

Bullet  A show of hands, who wants a cool fun new belt?
 Thanks for taking the time to read my story.
Show me some hands.