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Importance of Survival Skills

33 thoughts on “My Surgery Recovery Journey & How I Stay Positive | Hannah Witton | AD

  • I've lived with UC and constant flare-ups for 11 years and still have my bowel, but I'm running out of drug options and surgery is on the horizon for me. In that time, it hasn't stopped me working, earning an Honours then a Masters degree in English and generally living life as fully as I can. In fact, my health problems have probably helped me face anything else in life without fear, because any other horrible experience I've had was nothing compared to a bad UC flare-up.

  • YES on the not-brave thing!! I have always had such an issue with that (and 'inspirational'), but never been able to fully put words on it. Lack of choice is a good way of putting it!
    I also think those things partly bother me because I think it's part of (unconscious) ingrained ableism on some level? To not be able to put yourself in a sick/disabled person's position, and instead of trying to relate, saying they're brave/inspirational allows the person to distance themselves.

  • As a 64 year old American male, it would be hard to think of a perspective more different than yours… and yet, I have felt so much kinship between my experiences and yours. Keep up the good work!

  • I’m 8 years into my chronic illness journey and this video put my experience into words for the first time. Basically explained my own thoughts back to me. I can’t put into words how grateful I am. A huge puzzle piece just clicked into place and I’m smiling and crying at the same time. Much love to you Hannah.

  • So, you're not gonna like this, but Hannah there's a typo in your chapter in the book "it's not okay to feel blue".

  • Hey Hannah, I was just wondering if you could recommend me any charities, articles, Government policies etc. on physical disabilities. I am a uni student trying to write about inequalities for people with a physical disability, and how they are often seen just for their disability, and how they are often treated as vulnerable and fragile. Your videos have taught me a lot about people's misconceptions about people with a disability and I wondered if you could help me out?

  • Thank you for mentioning the 'you're so brave' comments as this really bothers me, as the only choice I have is to continue surviving day by day, or to commit suicide. I do wish I could stay as positive you are, but after 8 years of living with a severe chronic illness (11 years overall) I struggle a lot with staying hopeful for my future, and positive about my present.

  • This video is brilliant Hannah! My story also involves two traumatic events that happened quite close together. I was in a car accident this time last year, flipped over 3 times and we were lucky to walk away. Then late Jan this year I was violently attacked on my way walking home whilst on the phone to my boyfriend. Long story short, it ended it him strangling me until I lost consciousness. I didn’t know the person. He is being sentenced this November in crown court, and I’m going to watch. I don’t know how I will be, but I think it’s something I need to do. I’m proud of myself though, I still graduated from Uni in July with a first class honours, and I was also awarded for best in my cohort for a film I made about trauma. Your videos really resonate with me because trauma; and quite frankly being a woman sometimes, is so complex and difficult. I am glad that it is spoken about and shared universally. So thank you. Thank you for helping me this year. Katie x

  • I relate to this completely! I had spinal fusion surgery 7 years ago to fix severe scoliosis and I’d get so frustrated when people told me I was ‘brave’. It wasn’t brave, I had to have the surgery otherwise my spine would have crushed my lungs and killed me – it was a necessity, anyone would have the surgery in the same situation!

  • I’m definitely struggling with the aspect of chronic illness where there isn’t an end point to recovery. I have pretty severe asthma and my breathing has just got worse and worse despite medications. I can’t even run for a minute ugh

  • Everyone's sick of hearing about your stoma. I can only imagine what your boyfriend puts up with. Your all me me me me.

  • Good evening Hanna hope you are doing ok. Great to see your positivity and showing people what you are going through. Would love to see you come Here Down Under and Talk of your journey.

  • You're so inspiring Hannah ! I understand your definition of bravery, and it's true that you didn't have a choice in what happened to you, but you did choose to push yourself – physically and mentally – to get better ! So I guess we could talk about resilience / bouncing back ?

    I've never faced any big surgeries like that or any physical disease, but I do have a story about mental health and grief. Almost 12 years ago (when I was 11), I lost my dad. It was the worst experience in my life and it has affected me for many many years. Things added on top of that, but I used to be really depressed all the time : what was the meaning of living a life where I couldn't talk, or share anything with my dad ?

    Eventually I managed to get better because I slowly started to realize that, in the first place, I was supposed to live my life for myself and not for others. As I write it now, it sounds easier said than done, but it actually took me years to realize it. Then I started felling better, more in control of my life : I wanted to pursue my dreams and projects, enjoy my life with my friends, my family and my boyfriend, and not always come back to this, not define myself as "the girl who lost her dad".

    I decided that it would for sure leave a small scar, but that it was up to me to make sure it wouldn't be wide open again. To do that I try to focus on the present moment, to take care of myself and to notice everything that makes me happy 🙂

  • When people say you are brave, they mean that you have motivation and determination.
    As someone who has been more or less depressed for well over 30 year, i know i don't have that motivation, determination or will to live.

  • This is incredibly relatable – I have epilepsy and in 2016 gave myself third degree burns during a seizure, leading to a skin graft over 5% of my body. It was physically so tough but I felt incredible and so powerful and in awe of my body and what I was capable of persevering through. Then this summer, the same thing happened again – much less serious burns over a smaller area but it affected my mental health so much more – just like you said. It just felt so unfair and like my health was so far from my control and – being older this time and living with friends at the time – it felt so much more offensive to have my independence taken away from me like that. Thanks for your content, it's been so helpful to hear from another young person managing a chronic condition. While I agree it doesn't feel brave – it's just what you have to do – hearing your story has helped me feel more sure that I can get through it too.

  • I just found your page from Jessica K-F and I bought a 5 year journal just now. I've been meaning to do a journal, so hopefully I can stick to an easy short one. Thank you!

  • 3 1/2 years ago, I went in for a routine colonoscopy. "Something" happened and I got perforation. I went back to the hospital and was rushed into abdominal surgery. I ended up being in two hospitals for almost 3 weeks after getting an abcess. I was SOOOOOO SICK!!
    I started feeling pain, about 1 mo after surgery and I was pretty sure it was adhesions. I knew I had a scarring problem and I had been a massage therapist years ago so I looked into a non-surgical alternative.
    I have been using it since then, its covered by my insurance. Its called viseral manipulation. It really has made a tremendous difference. I see a Physical Therapist who is very trained in it. Might begood fir you if you have any more problems.

  • Dear Hannah, I believe you might agree with the Ol' Sarge … first rule after surgery, as soon as you are able, git yor arse outta bed!!!

  • “Five k series” got recognized as “hey siri” when you said it on my phone — i exited out and then the video showed it happened on your phone too. Very meta moment.

  • Coming across these videos today has been an eye opener. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was only 12. Growing up in small midwest America it took months of rotating doctors and trial and error to actually get my diagnosis down. I ended up have a temporary stoma for about 3 months once they removed my large intestine along with 6 inches of my small. Ended up getting a J pouch and have just been dealing with the lifestyle changes by myself as nobody here really know what I'm going through or doesn't wanna talk about it. I'm 25 now and finally realizing theres others who have similar lifestyle changes and problems they have to deal with…in a way it's comforting I guess..

  • Hi Hannah, your videos are helping me so much. I'm from Brazil and I'm glad I found them, ileostomy is totally new to me and although it is temporary I'm quiet scared and your videos are helping me getting by. Can't thank you enough 🙂

  • Hi Hannah your videos have been helpful I’ve got to have colon removed soon, because of fap and it scares the living daylights out of me.

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