“This saved my life.” Terre Haute woman living with Crohn’s Disease shares her story

(WTHI Photo) Local woman hopes to help others living with Crohn's Disease.
(WTHI Photo) Local woman hopes to help others living with Crohn's Disease.

TERRE HAUTE, IND. (WTHI) – Approximately 1.6 million Americans are affected by Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

That’s according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Starting December 1 through December 7, the Foundation is dedicating to raising awareness for both.

Now one local woman is speaking out. Not only is she bringing attention to the diseases, but she’s spreading hope.

You wouldn’t notice it by looking at her – but Brandie Thomas is living with Crohn’s Disease. Brandie was diagnosed 8 years ago. She was only 20 years old. The disease attacks the digestive system and patients have to suffer through the side-affects.

“My husband and I were on a date at B-dubs and I was in the bathroom the entire time. He ate dinner by himself, my dinner was cold, and I didn’t even want it because I felt so nauseous,” said Thomas, “And then he took me to look at engagement rings. And I was like, I didn’t even want to be there.”

That’s when Brandie knew it was time to make a life changing decision.

“This is a moment I should be enjoying, and celebrating – and because of my Crohn’s Disease I wasn’t able to enjoy it,” said Thomas.

Brandie under-went surgery, to wake up with an ostomy bag. “This saved my life. I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you today if I didn’t take this step.”

Brandie’s experience, encouraged her to start a business called Stoma Styles.

Thomas added, “I work out, I taught dance, I do yoga, I swim, I go running, I do marathons and 5K’s, it’s not going to stop your life from happening.”

Stoma Styles is a personal styling service for women with ostomy bags. Her mission is to share stories, styling tips and confidence. “You’re grieving the loss of your colon, and you’re grieving the loss of your favorite shirt – just finding your new style with your ostomy bag.”

Proving that an ostomy bag, can be considered, just another accessory.

“I know what you’re going through, and it’s okay we’ll get through this together,” said Thomas.

To learn more about Stoma Styles or to get in contact with Brandie about her services click here to visit her Facebook page.

Brandie is currently working on putting a website together.