Michelle story

Michelle: I didn't let my stoma keep me from the sport I love.

Michelle had always loved sport. Raised in the Staffordshire moorlands, she regularly ran, swam and cycled her way through her teens.

Whilst studying dietetics at Nottingham university she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

This made training more challenging but it didn't dampen her enthusiasm for her sports. Instead she developed an interest in Triathlon, an event that brought together her 3 loves.

diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, Michelle didn't stop doing sports

Surgery wouldn't stop me.

Her health deteriorated, until eventually in Christmas in 2010, Michelle underwent life-saving surgery and had her ileostomy formed. Almost the first thing on her mind was "How do I get my fitness back?"I knew I had a long journey ahead. I was doing some physio exercises on the floor and I couldn't get up. I was so frustrated by my weak and helpless body. I eventually had to roll across the floor, and prop myself against the wall.

I worked on building up my strength, focussing on my core and the exercises I loved. I remember the first time I swam after my surgery. I was so full of emotion I couldn't stop smiling."

Michelle wins a silver medal in triathlon 5 months after ostomy surgery

My European adventure

Michelle ran her first triathlon just 5 months after her surgery, and hasn't stopped since. In 2015 Michelle entered the European sprint triathlon. This event involves a 750M swim, 20 KM Bike ride and a 5K run "The Race started at Lake Geneva. It was a late start, but we had to be up early. I enjoyed a big bowl of porridge, a banana and a mug of coffee. It was really hot, nearly 30 degrees. I had to be really careful with my hydration. I drank plenty of water with hydration tablets to make sure I held onto all my electrolytes."

The race itself was exhilarating and terrifying! At the start it was like the Hunger games, lined up together about to dive into the water. The start horn went and we plunged into the water. At first nervous energy almost consumed me, however I found my rhythm and kept a steady pace. I switched to the bike and felt like I flew round the 20KM, before beginning the 5K run. I felt strong, and overtook the British champion on the first hill. When I hit the home straight I realised there was just one lady ahead of me, and with my family looking on I sprinted through the finish line. I had won Silver.

Michelle didn't let ostomy surgery get in the way of sports plans

I didn't become a medal winning triathlete because I had stoma surgery, I just didn't let it get in the way of achieving all I could. In reality my surgery instilled in me a sense of hope and determination."

Michelle went on to repeat the same success this year, with another Silver medal in Lisbon at the end of May, 2016.

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