Pouch Stories

My Story…by Dorothy Simpson

Dorothy had her pouch surgery (in 1986 and 1987) at St Marks City Road, with both stages performed by Prof Nicholls. She had had ulcerative colitis for more than 20 years.

I found the “Finding the Cause” article on the front page of Roar! (issue 14) most interesting because at the start of both my pregnancies I suffered from severe diarrhoea. After the first three months of my first pregnancy in 1963, this settled down with no further trouble.

However, with my second pregnancy, I had severe, constant diarrhoea which could not be studied or treated because of possible harm to the baby. The diarrhoea continued after the birth of my son in 1966, until I had lost a lot of weight and my GP became concerned.

Over the next 20 years, I suffered from pain and bleeding - all that goes with ulcerative colitis, plus erythema nodosum. I was a District Nursing Sister at that time (SRN), and had to retire from my work that I loved.

I had an ileo-rectal anastamosis in Sunderland, but continued to need frequent toileting. My two consultants got together to discuss this, and the upshot was that I was referred to St Marks.

I had surgery (a W pouch) performed there shortly afterwards, and eventually began to feel better. The worst part of the surgery - apart from the pain - was having an ileostomy. It made me feel degraded and depressed, and it leaked constantly. It was a thing I always said I’d never have!

About three years after my pouch surgery, I completed a 43 mile walk, non stop across the North Yorkshire Moors, the “Lyke Wake Walk”, and raised £100 for the Friends of St Marks. I completed it in 16 hours, and I’d do it again if I had the opportunity, even though I will be 61 at my next birthday.

I can’t compare my life now to what I was like before surgery. I could not walk as my joints were so swollen and painful. At one point, I was in a wheelchair. Now I am as active as when I was nursing. I’m having a few pouch problems at present, but these will be sorted.

I can honestly say that having a pouch was the best thing that happened to me during the worst years of my life.


The 2018 Information Day will take place on Saturday 12 May 2018 at St. Mark's Hospital, Harrow.

Download 2018 Information Day Poster

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the invention of the Pelvic Pouch at St. Mark's Hospital, and we are delighted to have Professor John Nicholls one of the pioneers and foremost experts on the subject as keynote speaker giving his personal reflections on 40 years of the pouch operation.

You can download the  Agenda by clicking on the link below.

Download the programme for 2018 information day.

You can download a Registration form by clicking the link below.

Download a Registration form for 2018 information day.

Last years event was a great success attended by 54 people (excluding Committee members and Presenters).

Recordings of presentations from last years Information Day can be viewed on the web site. 

Please note, the latest edition of ROAR! contains an incorrect date for the information day.

The correct date is Saturday 12 May 2018.

For further information please contact

Susan Burrows
Membership secretary


Please download a PDF membership application form to join the Red Lion Group.


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