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Aisha graduated in Islamic Theology and Arabic Language in 2009 and started teaching soon after. She put the strange bowel symptoms she was having around this time down to the stress of the job. Despite her symptoms getting worse, Aisha found it difficult to talk to people in her Pakistani community about what was happening as disease and illness are considered to be very private matters. Eventually matters overtook her and she was admitted to hospital where she spent 10 days having treatment and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. “I just remember being told…’You’ve got ulcerative colitis, and there’s no cure’” she says. Aisha had one long continuous flare of the disease for around 4 years and asked to have surgery in 2013, “I wanted the decision to have surgery to be my choice” she says, “it was important for me to have that sense of control.”

 

Aisha’s message to others

“Having a stoma doesn't change who we are. If someone has an issue with it, it's THEIR problem, not ours. Having gone through many obstacles in life including gruelling, painful surgery and recovery, there isn't much we can't handle! We are incredible warriors.” And Aisha knows a thing or two about obstacles as she suffers from keratoconus, a visual impairment which affects her cornea causing light to be split off in different directions as it enters her eyes. “Stoma management is a little bit of guesswork!” she says, laughing, “But I think I’ve got the hang if it!”

 

Aisha says she joined the me+™ Community “to help eradicate the taboo associated with ostomies and bowel issues, especially in the Asian and Muslim communities. These things are often not talked about which can lead to awful consequences. I hid my symptoms for months until I was admitted to hospital and almost didn't make it. Alongside that, I love helping people. I know how important it is to receive the right support.”

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