The 28-year-old postponed surgery to repair the hernia while she desperately tried for a baby with her fiancé
A MUM had to have her entire bowel, rectum and anus removed after a giant 5lbs hernia "destroyed" her internal organs.
Former army cadet Tanya Evans lived in agony for years after the growth appeared out of the blue one day in 2014.
She had previously suffered a bowel obstruction that caused her to vomit poo, leaving her bowel so damaged she needed a partial resection and a stoma bag.
Later, the hernia developed and grew over time to became so heavy it would slap her thighs and cause bruises.
But the 28-year-old postponed surgery to repair it while she desperately tried for a baby with her fiancé Mark Jenkins, 31 - after doctors warned the op could leave her infertile.
Just as she was giving up hope, Tanya, who can no longer work, became pregnant with Josie, who was born in December 2016.
Now, following a major operation in April 2018 to remove her bowel – which was pushing through her abdominal wall causing the hernia – as well as her rectum and anus, which had been irreparably damaged following a prolapse, she is still battling with daily pain.
Tanya, from Swansea in South Wales, said: “I still struggle every day, with the simplest of tasks.
“Mark has to help me shower and I can barely lift anything. That means I can’t pick Josie up for a cuddle, which is heartbreaking.
“She’s too young to understand, so she thinks it’s because she’s been naughty. The physical side of things has been hard, but the mental has been absolute torture.”
Tanya’s nightmare began back in 2014, when she was raced to hospital with a severe bowel obstruction.
ravely ill, her skin turned yellow and she even vomited up poo.
“I was vomiting up something black, which tasted disgusting,” she recalled.
“Medics tested it and told me it was faeces. I was absolutely terrified.”
Forced to have an ileostomy, where the small bowel, or intestine, is diverted through an opening in the abdomen, Tanya was left with a stoma bag to collect the poo that would ordinarily be passing through the large intestine and out of the body.
Despite a few weeks of stomach pain she felt relatively well, and was hopeful she would make a full recovery.
But soon a hernia appeared, which occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding wall.
“I had it checked over, and confirmed as a hernia. At first, I was reassured it could be easily sorted out – but then, I also began to bleed from my bottom,” she said.
Further investigations revealed that Tanya was suffering from diversion colitis, and inflammation of the colon, which can occur as a complication of surgery.
Given pain medication as well as steroid enemas to calm the inflammation, she faced another knockback when she realised that surgery to remove the growth could cause fertility issues.
Doctors warned that if the womb was affected too a hysterectomy may be necessary.
With a waiting list for the procedure anyway, doctors agreed she should take the chance to try for a baby while she could.
“Mark and I tried and tried and I cried at every negative test,” she said.
“I started to fear it would never happen for us, but then, we conceived.
“Josie was born on December 22, 2016 three weeks early, weighing 7lb 6oz.
“She had to be delivered via Caesarean, due to the hernia, but she was happy and healthy.”
After recovering from childbirth, Tanya met with a team of medics and her surgery was pencilled in for August 2017.
“But then August came and went, then September, then October. I was told there were no beds available, which I understand happens, but what was I supposed to do? I felt like I was dying,” she recalled.
“Then, at the end of the year, I discovered the surgeon who was meant to be doing my operation was retiring, so no longer available.
“I was terrified I’d be back at square one, on another wait list to see another doctor.
“I contacted the patient liaison department and they kept asking what they could do to help. But all anyone could do was wait for a cancellation to come up. So, I fought and fought.”
As she waited, Tanya’s hernia continued to grow, eventually reaching 5lbs.
“It affected everything I did, and put so much pressure on my body,” she said.
“Sitting down hurt, standing up hurt – everything. It even bruised my legs where it’d bang against my thigh.
“At its worst, it would twist and strangulate, where the blood supply to the intestines and abdominal tissues gets cut off.”
Eventually, in April 2018, Tanya went under the knife.
Though she did not have a hysterectomy, surgeons did remove her bowel, rectum and anus, which had been damaged by a prolapse.
“Apparently, where the strangulated hernia had cut off the blood supply, my bowel was just completely dead, and the tissue was virtually disintegrated,” she added.