By Nicolas Fernandes
A Crohn’s sufferer who learned to love stoma bag thanks to late mum, now makes creative covers to empower others.
Serin Lisching, 28, of Mentor, Ohio, USA, produced her first pouch cover after getting her first stoma in 2012 and now since developing quirky designs sells them online.
Crohn’s is an incurable inflammatory bowel disease with an unknown cause, for Serin and other sufferers, patients receive a colostomy in which urine and stool travels through an opening in the abdomen and into the stoma bag.
She was taught to love her body from an early age by mom Erin, who also wore a stoma bag, until her death in 2010 at the age of 45 after battling colorectal cancer.
When Serin needed her first stoma two-years after she channeled her mother’s mantra of self-love and decided not to be embarrassed.
She started making her own designs and says that creating them to help others made her feel even more positive about the stoma.
With themes including superheroes, video game characters and Disney, she is proud to show off her stoma in public.
Serin, a part-time restaurant supervisor, said: “She was my best friend. She was the one who taught me that this is my body, to be strong, and to love myself.
“She got me into art at a young age and that’s a big reason why I’m getting so creative with these stoma bags covers.
“I’m not mad that I have a stoma. I accept it and I appreciate that it’s helping me survive.
“I try to go outside as much as possible and show them off.
“I started making them and everyone was telling me that they liked them. Then my friends told me that I should make an Etsy.
“I want other people to accept their stoma and not think of it as something that is ugly.”
Her mom is also the reason why she aspires to be a nurse, after she realized the career would be good for her following time-off to look after her sick parent.
Serin said: “I stayed home to take care of her when she started becoming really ill.
“I enjoyed caring for my mom so much that it inspired me to go to school for nursing.”
Serin loves when a customer messages her on Etsy, saying that the cover she made for them impact how they feel about their stoma.
She said: “I have people messaging me all the time, telling me that the cover I made is causing them to become more accepting of their stoma.”
While Serin’s original intention was to earn income from the sales of the stoma bag covers, she has since learned that there is a deeper meaning behind her hobby.
She was getting so much satisfaction out of impacting the lives of her customers that she decided to start making bags for free.
Serin said: “People would message me saying that they liked my covers and I would reply asking for their address so that I could send them one for free. It’s important to me that people accept their stoma.
“I get pleasure knowing that I helped someone who goes through the same struggles as me.”
While Serin likes to stay positive, suffering from Crohn’s for the past ten years has delayed her education and dream of becoming a nurse.
It also causes a number of complications each day such as nausea, fatigue, vomiting, weight loss and stomach pain after eating.
She is already looking forward to the summer so she can show off her stoma bag covers in public even more.
Serin said: “In the summer, I like to wear a crop top and really show them off.”
Serin is currently trying to raise money, so that she can be treated at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
To donate to her GoFundMe campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/FreckledCrohnie.