#Gobeyond Ostomy Fitness Model
My name is Saleem Juma, I'm a 23 year old college student in Issaquah, Washington. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at 16 after I came home from Military School, however I had symptoms from the age of 14. We tried every medication there was, including steroids, immunosuppresive drugs and biologicals (all have some pretty nasty side effects). Regardless I was going to the bathroom about 25 times a day, and in pain literally all the time. On top of this I was diagnosed with Volvulus (it's where your intestines twist around and do flip flops for some odd reason, creating massive pain).
At 19 I was told I needed to have a total Prolectomy (which is the removal of the large intestine, rectum and anus, yes I no longer have a butt). I ended up with an Ileostomy bag attached to my stomach, it was extremely hard for me to understand that the bag would be permanent and I would have to wear it for the rest of my life; I had been modeling since I was 18 and I didn't know how I would do that with a bag. I didn't know how I would play sports again, or if girls would still look at me the same. That same year I was diagnosed with extreme social anxiety and depression.
I eventually built the confidence I needed to keep moving forward in life, I went back to college and started my own Nightclub/Rave company. I started modeling again as well (small jobs here and there, nothing major). Unfortunately I kept getting scar tissue, adhesions, intestinal blockages, cysts and many other issues. I ended up having multiple surgeries and ended up in the ER over 30 times in the last couple years; many times ambulances were involved and sometimes I spent days or even weeks recovering in the hospital. I was now drowning in medical bills but I refused to give up and kept my head above water, still pushing forward.
It was this last surgery that changed my life yet again, I was at a modeling gig for Siemen's Medical and as I was driving my mate home I started feeling odd; I was supposed to join my parents at a graduation dinner but was starting to feel pain. I went home and hoped the pain would go away but it got worse; it was the WORST PAIN I had ever felt (and I have an extremely high pain tolerance). I went to the ER and it took them 4 doses of the strongest pain medication they had to get the pain halfway manageable; then... a surgeon stepped into my room. I wondered why they sent a surgeon instead of a regular ER doc, I figured it would just be a blockage; they'd stick some tubes down my throat/nose and wash it out and then I could be on my way.
Unfortunately my small intestine was now twisting itself and cutting off blood flow to certain sections, they ended up having to chop out 9 cm of it (and if I hadn't gotten surgery my intestine may have perforated and I could have died, or they would have had to take a lot more out). I spent about a week recovering in the hospital, unfortunately as soon as I was released the wound got infected and I had to go back to the hospital. It was a painstaking process of recovery; but I pushed through. The near death experience started to get me thinking, I was still going to go to college to become a lawyer; but how could I help people like me? What exactly was I GOOD AT that I could change people’s lives for the better?
I found that idea in modeling, I noticed that many of my brethren Ostomates did not share the confidence I had built in myself, they felt unattractive and that they should hide themselves. I noticed this also with people who were depressed or had anxiety. So I decided to follow in the footsteps of notable Ostomate Fitness Model Blake Bedford, Jessica Grossman and her blog Uncover Ostomy were also a huge inspiration to me. I was going to become an Ostomy Fitness Model, not only that I was going to start a blog where I could write articles about all the tips and tricks I had learned about dealing with Ostomies, Depression and Anxiety.
I’ve started my website/blog already and my Social Media Coordinator got me featured on a decently big Instagram page. However I want to take this farther, I want to be an inspiration to every person with a disability out there who feels ashamed or ugly, I want to be an inspiration to everyone who feels sad or rejected. I have a vision and I’m never going to stop until I get there!
You can check out my blog at: Ostomybagswag.com (please give it a subscription and sign up, I’m trying to build traffic on it, as well as like our Facebook page)! I will also be doing Vlogs on Youtube to motivate people. I have big dreams and even if you can’t donate money, in all honesty you can help me just by reading my blog/articles and spreading the word about the site!
The Money Raised will be Specifically Used For:
Medical Bills: (I’m drowning from all the surgeries, nobody would insure me before my mom started working for a hospital so we still have to pay out of pocket for that; my credit has unfortunately already been destroyed). I think I owe somewhere over 100 grand (I’m not even sure at this point it could be much higher).
Paying Bills when I’m hospitalized: (it really does happen a lot unfortunately, I keep getting really good jobs and doing well at them but then getting fired because I keep missing work due to hospitalization, example: when I worked as a Data Analyst at Seattle Specialty and was doing three times the required number of documents per day, but got fired anyway because I was hospitalized 5 times while working there 4 months).
Modeling Travel Costs: Sometimes you have to travel for shoots, I’m still getting my name out there and don’t make a huge amount of money per shoot/commercial.
Portfolio/Photographs: I pretty much have this covered but as I get bigger there will need to be more professionally done shoots, sometimes to update a portfolio I’ll need to pay to have it done.
Running the Blog: Paying for the upkeep of the website and such.
Advertising and Spreading the Word: I want to do paid advertising on Facebook and a few other ideas my Marketing buddies had (in this case again the best way to help is to subscribe and share the site! :D)
School: Law School isn’t going to be cheap and I’ve no idea how I’m going to pay for it. It’s hard to hold down a steady job with how much I’m hospitalized.
The Book I’m Writing: I’m currently writing a book on building confidence as a person with a disability like mine and this would go to publishing fees and things of that nature.
Please help me, I’m not one to ask for help much; I don’t like taking free stuff from people or taking advantage of their generosity. I like to stand on my own two feet, unfortunately in this case I simply am having trouble doing so. Not only that, I really think by becoming a fitness model I can make a difference in the lives of people everywhere with disabilities/anxiety and depression.
If I can even change one person’s life, it will have made a difference. Thank you! (Please support us at Ostomybagswag.com!!!)
You who support me are who I truly draw my strength from!
Help support my journey! All money for this campaign is used to not only help my family with the medical bills but to help my own PERSONAL marketing campaign raising awareness about Crohns Disease and Colitis as well as Anxiety and Depression in my quest to become both a Motivational Speaker and a Reality TV Show Star (which I'm currently already being vetted for by a couple different networks, fingers crossed that I get picked!)