Bravery comes in many shapes and sizes, whether you are battling a dragon or an illness that is for the most part is invisible.
There are many inspiring stories in the world but I have been lucky to interview a young woman who is not only an inspiration to those around her but to the whole country.
You may have read her story on the Daily Mail but here is my interview with the amazing Heather Grant.
1. Before your diagnosis you were in pain for three years, was it hard trying to get doctors & others around you to listen?
Yes it was hard. More doctors than anything. My parents knew something was different. My doctors put me down as IBS and period pains. I had a colonoscopy which was too painful. It took an MRI to find it.
2. That must have been very stressful, once you knew what was wrong how did the attitudes of people around you change?
I didn’t really tell people at first. Even now people still don’t know what Crohn’s disease is or a stoma. Every time I’d tell someone and they’d ask me what’s that, it kind of irritated me. It isn’t a well-known disease. Close family and friends were amazing about it. Work was glad I finally had an answer for why I had been off ill so much. Close friend’s google everything and ask me so many questions. I like when people get involved.
3. That’s great that your friends get involved. Being diagnosed with Crohns has clearly changed your life what have been the negatives?
The pain for one! The pain I use to experience before having my stoma was unexplainable! Having a stoma and having to adjust at first was hard for me. How people judged and don't understand. It being to do with your bowel and being in the bathroom a lot, people not wanting to talk about that annoys me. Surgery, even though it really helped me and saved my life, it's still a massive thing to go through
4. What have been the positives?
The support I have of other people with Crohns and also colitis. My family and friends how amazing they've been! No longer being in pain now I have a stoma. The way it's made me look at life now.. I'm extremely grateful and I don't take life for granted anymore
5. You are a very beautiful girl and I find your confidence to wear your colostomy bag out in the open amazing, how long has it taken you to build that confidence?
Aw thank you! I don't feel beautiful. I don't have as much confidence. Some days I have such low self esteem but I have to look at life like I'm still alive. I was minutes from dying and my stomach was filling with blood, I had a stoma done as an emergency. It basically saved my life and I have to look at it like that. I'm thankful towards it, so I show it off. Just because my body has changed, I don't want to change how I was before it. If I let it rule my life, I wouldn't get out of bed. I have to think positive
6. Your illness doesn’t define you as a person and nor should it, so who is Heather Grant?
I'm not really sure how to answer.. A strong woman who didn't let Crohns take her down. Didn't let it control my life. I control it!
7. What are your plans for the future?
To live life as I did before.. I have two holidays coming up. A charity ball for Crohns & Colitis. Fund raising events with family, work and friends. Birthday parties and of course Christmas. I spent last Christmas & New Year in hospital so this year I'm going to make it extra special
8. That’s great I hope you have a fantastic Christmas this year! Final question, what advice would you give to someone who is going through the same situation as you?
It gets better. You can do this! Having a stoma and changing your bag becomes easier. People don't want to end up with a bag, as it's a drastic change and I'd tell them to try. It's a different life but helps. I try to be comfortable in my own skin to show others they should be comfortable in theirs!