March 15th, 2019, a day that was unlike any other and can never be beat. Why? It was the day I received a second chance at life. Before we go into more detail, let me introduce myself and give you a little background on my life leading up to March 15th.
My name is Kelsey Koch, the owner and creator of this blog. I am 27 years old and reside in Grand Blanc, Michigan. There are many titles that I go by; yogi, golf coach, studio owner, fearless badass (Reebok). I own my own yoga studio in my hometown, I coach golf for Grand Blanc High School and work for Ascension Genesys Health Club. Since birth, I have been an amputee on the left side, and since March 15th, I have been living life with a colostomy. Growing up, one would've thought by appearance that my struggle in life was being 'disabled" (the first and only time you'll listen to me speak about myself in that way). That was an untrue thought. Like a lot of things in life, more times than not many peoples struggles go unrecognized and we carry burden's and suffer unseen pain. That was exactly my case. Having a prosthetic leg on my left side is the only way I know my life to be. Having chronic bowel issues was the bane of my journey, while it was both crippling and degenerative. You can only stay strong for so long before it starts to wear you down and affect the way you live your daily life, form relationships, and see your self worth. Seeing as I've put it out there that I now choose to shit in a bag (yes, I just went there) I have no issue going back and talking about life before my colostomy, life with absolutely no control of any bowel movement.
When born, I was 7 weeks early and weighed in at 3.1 lbs before dropping to 2.8 lbs. I was able to come home after 7 weeks in the hospital when I hit 4.5 lbs. I should begin by thanking the person I owe the fact that I survived and am able to share this journey, Dr. Roberto Villegas, who currently resides in Lorato, Texas. He was my neonatologist, my life saver. Because of the diagnosis of Vacterl Syndrome, I was born without my left tiba bone and kidney, along with colon issues that would never allow me to live a functioning life. My amputation took place at nine months old and I had several colon procedures done following birth. Surprisingly, I had a colostomy at the age of three which was reversed a few months later. I sincerely appreciate my current (amazing) colon doctor, Dr. Chris Ash, for helping me in the ways he did. He was on call at Ascension Genesys Hospital my senior year of high school when I went to the ER for possible ovarian cysts. The cyst was removed, along with my left fallopian tube and two feet of my colon that was dead. Since then he did his absolute best to buy me time and help me throughout a 10 year span, and when he knew I was mentally and physically ready to accept my recent MRI outcome, he gave me the courage and confidence to move forward with a permanent colostomy. The absolute best decision I have ever made. My procedure took place at Northwestern Hospital and was done by Dr. Amy Halverson. If anything were to ever happen again where a major surgery needs to happen, if I could get myself from Michigan to Chicago, I would without a second thought. The experience and outcome that hospital provided me with was life changing. I have gained a second chance at life. While I surrendered to my constant battle, I ultimately took charge of my life and feel that I now am in complete control of my body. The daily fear is gone, the mental insecurity of chronic illness has vanished and I am sincerely at peace with myself.
My vision for this blog is to connect, share, and educate worldwide. I will be creating content about life as an amputee, life with a colostomy, women's health and more. The content will touch base on many factors including products, doctor and patient testimonials, insight and reviews from surgeons across the world, style and support to get you by through a trying time. At this time I have already partnered with Ascension Genesys, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Northwestern Hospital, Handful Bra, and more. I feel as if personally I have had enough struggles and downfalls with amputee living that I can provide vital feedback, tips and support. Between having gone through over 10 different legs, 7 knees and countless feet, I can personally explain in detail what best suits your current lifestyle. I feel that as an amputee we tend to get stuck in a rut and feel "safe" in our leg. Like many things in life, we get comfortable in our comfort zone. It is so important to research, be your own advocate, and allow yourself to invest in a leg that is right for you. Of course there is that pain in the ass thing called insurance, but that will be its own blog post for another day. While I have only had my colostomy for four months, my main objective colostomy wise is to promote having a colostomy as a positive way of life rather than a negative one. We only get one shot at this life, so why waste time hiding, covering up, or fearful to put ourselves, our journeys out there for the world to see and learn from. This space, this blog is for everyone - abled, disabled, regardless of how you poop, regardless of who you are and where you've been. Lets share our journeys, help others with theirs, and let this be a safe space for all. Thank you for reading. Let me know if you or anyone you know would like to be a part of this in any way. Stay tuned for more posts soon!