Aimee Rouski recently became an internet sensation by posting selfies. But her photos are different from the thousands of others posted by teenagers. On her Facebook page, Aimee shows and tells us what it is like to live with Crohn’s disease through photographs of her ileostomy bag and the scars left by surgery on her thighs. Her words explain what the disease causes in her body.
The 19-year-old from Liverpool, England started the post by stating simply that she has Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that is severe, chronic, currently incurable, and affects the entire digestive system. Aimee almost died from the condition.
Most people think Crohn’s disease is a bad stomach ache, which is why Aimee believes the disease is invisible to others. Armed with a brave attitude, she aims to educate people about Crohn’s and give hope to others.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a while because I always see body posi posts for weight, but not many for disabilities / invisible illnesses,” Aimee wrote in the post. “First off I have Crohn’s disease, it’s a serious incurable illness that nearly killed me, not just a stomach ache like most people seem to think. A person with Crohn’s will go through many different treatments including surgery, and it’s the surgery I want to touch on now.”
Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2008, Aimee was subjected to numerous treatments like many other patients who struggle and suffer from the condition. She underwent several surgeries, including one to remove her large intestine, colon, rectum and anus.
For Aimee, the most aggressive procedure she endured was the removal of her inner thigh muscles – which were used to reconstruct her buttocks. The reconstruction was necessary because of several wounds left by the removal of her large intestine, a procedure known as ileostomy that leaves patients forever dependent on an outside stoma bag to drain and collect waste.
“My Crohns has left me with a permanent ileostomy, no large intestine, colon, rectum, anus, or inner thigh muscles as they were used for plastic surgery on my wounds. I’ve always been okay with the stuff that has happened to me, but some people have real difficulties accepting these things so I just want to say this. No one will know unless you tell them. People who know will still love you and still find you beautiful. Your illness is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about ❤️.“
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