Just Joanne’s Journey: Kildare mum stricken with ‘chronic diarrhoea’ after routine surgery

“I don't have a choice, but it's a consequence of me living with it now. I'm going to live with that pain again for what I'm going through now.”

Joanne Phibbs (31), from Kildare, underwent surgery almost four months ago after years of severe gallbladder disease which, if left untreated, could lead to pancreatitis and sepsis and other complications.

The devoted mum was advised to undergo bariatric surgery before undergoing surgery; shedding an incredible eight stone made her eligible for surgery. Now Joanne says it was one of the biggest mistakes she ever made in her life.

Forced to carry spare clothes and mark where the nearest bathroom is every time she leaves the house, the preschool worker is now more determined than ever to raise awareness about the “embarrassing and life-changing” situation know.

“I've been told that if you don't do this work, your gallbladder could rupture and it could cause a serious infection as stones would be released in your body, and yes, it could lead to death.

“I don't have a choice, but it's a consequence of me living with it now. I'm going to live with that pain again for what I'm going through now.”

The body activist, who previously weighed 326 pounds (157 kilograms), experienced her first bout in 2018.

“I ended up in hospital with a severe infection. The pain I can only describe as the worst; it radiated to my shoulders, my back and my stomach; it was paralyzing and I didn't know what it was.”

The fashion and fitness influencer, who was hospitalized with recurring infections, was told the only way to lead a normal life was to undergo surgery.

“Assaults happen every two months and I'm always dreading the next one. In October 2021, the surgeon said, ‘Your BMI is too high, I'm going to have to refer you to a weight loss clinic where you'll be amputated. gallbladder. “

Curvy model who was a size 24-26 decided to have surgery and was ecstatic at the thought of being pain free.

“I was told that the risks of gallbladder surgery are the same as those of bariatric surgery.

“I wanted to change my life and make my son healthy no matter what – so I had surgery, I lost eight stones and they said: ‘Now, we can remove your gallbladder.'”

“After years of excruciating pain, I was ready to move out of it, and it was just the course of a day.

“When I spoke to the surgeon after the operation, she told me my gallbladder was so congested that when she took it out, the stones started falling off and she had to squeeze them out.”

Joanne's joy quickly turns to devastation as she begins to experience the debilitating side effects of the surgery.

“There are risks in everything, but I don't think I'm going to be one of those two people who end up with chronic diarrhea.

“They say you can have diarrhea for two weeks as your body readjusts, but after almost four months, I'm living like this every day.

“It's affecting my day-to-day life – I have constant diarrhea, no matter what I eat, drink or take – it's absolutely draining.”

Oliver's (5) mother, a fitness enthusiast, says she's physically and mentally exhausted: “It can happen anytime. When I'm out, I need to know where the bathroom is and I need to bring a spare change of clothes.

“I was having trouble at work, but luckily I lived close by so I could go home and buy spare clothes.

“It was devastating, I was canceling events and important occasions a lot. People would say, ‘Take Imodium and you'll be fine', but it's not that simple.

“The most frustrating thing is that I'm enjoying a whole new life after losing eight stone and people always say, ‘If you lose weight, you'll have the most incredible life' and now it's such a huge setback, It's frustrating.

“I don't have the energy to run around and play with my son like I did a few months ago.

“I feel like it's slowing down my weight loss because I'm terrified of eating and my body is in fight-or-flight mode where it grabs everything.”

Joanne revealed her condition on her social media account @JustJoannesJourney to raise awareness for her condition: “When I saw my surgeon she said she didn't know anyone who would suffer like this severe pain.

“I had to have an endoscopy and a colonoscopy and they were running a drug trial on me.

“I've had people tell me they're still suffering like this 12 years after surgery,” Joanne said.

“A lot of people have said they're too embarrassed to talk about it, but I want to tell people not to suffer in silence and get the help you need.

“I also don't want anyone to give up surgery because you don't deserve to live in pain.

“Remember, there's help out there, and it doesn't happen to everyone,” she added.

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