By Gareth Shoulder

A PERSONAL TRAINER who was given a 20 percent chance of survival says a stoma bag gave him ‘his life back.’

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Videographer / Director: Marcus Cooper

Producer: Gareth Shoulder

Editor: Shiona Penrake, Ruby Coote

 

Mesha Moinirad, 29, from Weymouth, UK, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an irritable bowel disease, which is an ongoing and life-long condition.

After spending four years on medication, Mesha made a life changing decision to have his large intestine removed.

Now healthier than ever, the fitness and nutrition expert uses social media to document his stoma story.

Mesha told Barcroft TV: “Having a stoma massively changed my life for the better, by having my bag fitted it enabled me to have fun in my life again.

“While I was on medication, I couldn’t do anything. I could barely walk to the toilet.

“When I first got my bag fitted, it was a shock, I was scared. But it’s a massive life change for the positive, it gave me my life back.”

Mesha was a totally fit and healthy twenty-something regularly working out – nothing about his medical history would suggest he would soon be knocking on death’s door.

He had aspirations of working with elite athletes in America and went to University to study nutrition.

However, in 2013 the ambitious student had a severe bout of illness. That almost took his life.

Over a 10-day period he lost 21lbs, initially doctors couldn’t work out what was wrong with Mesha.

It wasn’t until his father took him to hospital where healthcare professionals discovered his appendix had burst – it was here Mesha was given a 20 percent chance of survival.

“Over the next two weeks, I went down to theatre every day. They would take my organs all out, wash them and put them back in.

“After that period, I got better, I left hospital after a month and went home to recover and put the weight back on.

“I had a massive abdominal scar which for someone who is 21, quite body conscious and would train six times a week – that was quite a hard thing to overcome.”

Prior to Mesha’s diagnosis he began getting symptoms of severe abdominal cramping, fatigue and needing the toilet more regularly.

It took almost eight months of blood tests, biopsies and colonoscopies until he finally got his
diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Mesha’s new diagnosis meant he had to constantly monitor his diet and was prescribed an
aggressive dose of medication to combat the condition.

After four years of treatment, he looked on social media for more information. Armed with this newly acquired knowledge he made the decision to have an ileostomy.

Having his colon (large intestine) removed meant he has to have a stoma bag attached permanently.

“It was a little bit of a relief because I’d been on medication for so long.

“It does come with a lot of frustration because all of a sudden you’ve got to cut out a lot of foods.

“It’s a massive learning curve. It’s a part of the condition and you have to move with it.

“It’s the little things, you obviously have to deal with a massive abdominal scar, which is quite hard."

With social media becoming an ever-increasing part of people’s lives the personal trainer admits overcoming his body issues post-surgery was a challenge.

The twenty-something began posting online as, ‘Mr Colitis Crohn’s’ hosting Q&A sessions and posting information for people new to their stoma bags.

“A huge part of my acceptance was done through vlogging and looking at other people online and how they perceive their self.

“It makes me feel I’ve got a community and I’ve got people to speak to and I’m not isolated.

“This is where Mr Colitis Crohn’s has evolved from, from that point I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to live with this’, I started going live and a following started to build up from there.

“It’s rewarding to be able to give people information that could help them.”

The entrepreneurial 29-year-old is a personal trainer in a rehabilitative gym that is helping people from all walks of life achieve their fitness goals in an inclusive space.

He hopes to change the perception of people who wear a bag, normalising it on his social media and teaching people that not every disability has visibility.

Mesha said: “I hope there will be a better understanding around invisible illness, but this is growing.

“I want people to feel confident to wear a bag.

“For anyone else who has to get a bag in the future, you will have anxieties and that’s totally normal, but it will be absolutely fine.”