Short Bowel Survivor & Friends

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Short Bowel Survivor Stories

In February 1982 the first bowel lenthening operation was performed by Mr Adrian Bianchi on a little girl called Louise - Now that little girl has grown up to be a 30 year old woman! Read her story and here below on this page and the stories of other members of Short Bowel Survivor and Friends - Just click on stories and scroll down the names.
If you would like your story to appear here, use the contact us form on this page to send us your details.

Karen's Story - mum of Louise Winstanley

I fell pregnant at the age of sixteen, which was a big shock to both me and my family.
I went into labour at thirty six weeks and after a seemingly long thirty six hours in labour Louise was born on the 16th of December 1981. I was told within a couple of hour that Louise had something wrong with her bowel and she was transferred to Pendlebury Children’s’ Hospital where she was given a Colostomy. I was told she had been born with only 27 inches of small intestine and Mr Bianchi a Neonatal surgeon explained to me about the bowel lengthening surgery he was going to perform on Louise. The operation was done in February 1982. (This pioneering procedure was to become known as the Bianchi Method).
As a small baby Louise vomited a lot and had very loose stools which required a great number of nappy changes. She remained in hospital for some time and it wasn’t until August of that year that she was well enough to come home. It was hard work! I couldn’t really go out for the day as I had to change her nappy anything up to ten or more times a day and often this meant that she had to be bathed and needed a full change of clothes. As she got older and potty-trained life became a lot easier.
At first Louise was on a gluten-free diet but then eventually I introduced her to normal food.
She loved her food; in fact, there was no filling her up! She was always hungry. By the time she was 3 years of age she had caught up with her weight and height and was the same size as other children of her age. She went to a normal Nursery and School. I just explained to the teachers that when she asked to go to the toilet she had to be allowed to go straight away. She did suffer with bloating and stomach cramps but once she had been to the toilet these passed.
Considering the amount of bowel she has got, she has led a remarkably healthy and normal life. Going through puberty was normal and when her periods started she was fine. She never really complained about anything growing up, which makes me very proud of her. The proudest moment was watching my beautiful grandson come into the world on the 8th of January in 2004, then seeing her get married 18 months later. Now at the age of 28 she is married with a 6year old son and holds down a full-time job.

Louise’s Story

My name is Louise Winstanley, nee Sharrock. I was born on the 16th December 1981.
 I was born with only 27 inches of my small intestine and was the first person to have a bowel lengthening procedure, performed by Mr Adrian Bianchi, at Pendlebury Children’s H Hospital in February 1982.

I never really understood just how poorly I was as a child because I have always lived what seemed to me a normal and healthy life.

Looking back, now that I am 28 years old and thinking about how things were, I was undoubtedly different from other children, in the sense that I was always the child who was never full and hovered around the buffet at parties instead of playing with the other children.

There was never a day that went bye that I wasn’t complaining of stomach ache and constantly needing to go to the toilet, sometimes up to ten times a day but this was normal for me and didn’t stop me from being the loud, lively, show off child that I was.

As a teenager I was more aware of the stomach pains, mainly the bloating, apart from it being so uncomfortable, my stomach would swell to the point that I physically looked pregnant and that was hard to deal with. Nevertheless I had a normal adolescence with the same raging hormones, into parties and boys like the next girl!

At seventeen, I met my now wonderful husband David. Living with my condition became more apparent when we were starting a family. I suffered a number of early miscarriages, which is believed to have no relevance to my condition. However it made us more aware that I was unable to follow routine medical procedures. None of this stopped us from trying for a baby.

In 2003 I became pregnant. It was fantastic news for all the family. It was decided that I should be admitted to St Mary’s Hospital, where I had checks every two weeks. My pregnancy was normal. I was taken in on the 4th January to be induced so that they could monitor the birth. On Thursday the 8th January I gave birth two days before my due date to a very healthy baby boy – Reece Louis Winstanley, weighing 6 pounds one ounce.