Gutsy Girl Diaries Finding Hope Through Collaboration

Collaboration can mean so many different things. For me and Gutsy Girl Diaries, collaboration means hope.

Among the many challenges with my health, the worst part was when I felt alone. This feeling of loneliness was not from the lack of support from family and friends but from finding people going through the same experiences as me, who I could relate to on a sympathetic level.

I came to find online forums where individuals would post about their diagnosis, symptoms, medications, struggles, and triumphs. This helped me immensely in feeling less alone and in giving me agency to openly connect with my medical and others going through the same experiences as me.

Gutsy Girl Diaries

Fast forward to 2018, I created Gutsy Girl Diaries to share my story and journey living with IBD. I shared what it was like to live with IBD, recipes, the importance of gut health, support, and advocacy. The response I received was so humbling that when I received my colorectal cancer diagnosis and the news that I would be having ostomy surgery, I continued to share. I shared the good, the bad, and the ugly. I received an outpouring of support from my followers and made many new connections and friendships with those currently living with an ostomy. Collaborating, communicating, and sharing stories with my fellow ostomates gave me hope that living with an ostomy would be something I could manage.

After my surgery, I collaborated with organizations and joined ostomy support groups on social media, which helped me become more comfortable with my new body and ostomy. Receiving direct messages on my social media accounts from others who have been reluctant to share their stories but found my posts helpful to them has been so rewarding.

Although stoma life has its challenges, I am now living the happiest, healthiest life with my permanent ileostomy. It has helped me to connect and collaborate with so many wonderful people and to ultimately be a voice for the IBD, colorectal cancer, and ostomy communities. My message to these communities is that you don’t have to do this alone; we are all here to support each other and are always stronger together.

Gutsy Girl Diaries

Nadia Maffucci Di Rienzo is a source of inspiration, advocating for those with invisible illnesses and bringing hope to many. Despite battling Ulcerative Colitis since 1997 and, more recently, colorectal cancer, Nadia’s resilience shines. After her total proctocolectomy in January 2023, she has bravely embraced life with a permanent ileostomy. Nadia shares her journey on her blog, Gutsy Girl Diaries, and Instagram, chronicling her experiences with IBD and cancer and her new life with an ostomy. As the inaugural Ostomy Canada Ambassador, Nadia aims to destigmatize invisible illnesses and disabilities. Her story is not just about survival but thriving, proving life with chronic conditions can be purposeful and positive. Through her empowering spirit and uplifting message, Nadia inspires others to embrace life fully, despite challenges.

Visit Nadia’s website Gutsy Girl Diaries, or follow her on social media!

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