My Story


My name’s Tom Underwood. I initially set up this blog in 2018 to talk about my experience adjusting to life with an ostomy, but quickly realised there is now a shed load of existing online material on this topic – and that I wasn’t adding as much value as I hoped, often basically repeating what other advocates have already said. About six months after my surgery, I decided to start going to CrossFit classes as a way to get fit again and I’ve realised this poses all sorts of opportunities and challenges for those with a stoma. So, I’ve decided to to rename this blog Fitness With a Stoma to talk about the unique and under-reported challenges of trying to get fit again after total colectomy surgery. For me, I am passionate about high-intensity forms of exercise, but this does really test my core strength, mobility and recovery rate…Not to mention the actual technical challenges performing a multitude of weight lifting and gymnastic movements! But whether you’re into running, cycling, weight-lifting or gymnastics,   my varied fitness experiences covers all of these sports and I hope my ramblings act as an interesting comparison to your particular fitness goals.
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors” – Good things can happen out of all sorts of unexpected circumstances, including this.

My history with Ulcerative Colitis

My journey with IBD dates back to 2010 when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis out of the blue and became very ill very quickly, resulting in an emergency Total Colectomy.

Since then, I have had a jpouch that behaved itself for six good years before it decided to fail on me. The nature of the problem was an inability to fully empty the pouch which had a profound impact on the quality of my life. And despite trying to rescue it with a major jpouch reconstruction surgery in 2017, it still didn’t work properly.

So in October 2018 I had permanent ostomy surgery which (believe it or not!) was welcome given the circumstances as I know I can once again become fully fit, active and healthy and live life to the full.

On a personal note, I’m 35, live in Leeds in the UK and married to my wife. But there’s plenty of time to find out more about me. Thanks for visiting and I hope to be of some kind of help to you in your fitness journey.

Tom Underwood

6 thoughts on “My Story

  1. Hi Tom We are based in LS14. Just give us a call to let us know when you might call in. The address is Kavendor Ltd, Woodlands Complex, Stanks LAne South, LS14 5LN We’d love to meet you. Also we are looking for guest bloggers for our website (one guest blogger per month), this year is now full but from Jan next year is free.

  2. HI Tom
    I am the owner of Comfizz ostomy support wear company and would love to share your blog on our social media if I have your permission to do that. I think it’s always good to direct people to blogs that they might relate to & enjoy reading. Thanks Lorraine PS We are also based in Leeds so feel free to come and see us.

    1. Hi Lorraine, I have actually used the comfizz waistbands before and find them essential wear, they really make a big difference! Of course, please feel free to share my website, I’m on FB and Instagram too where you can find me at ‘Tom’s Gut Reaction’. If you’re based in Leeds I’d be happy to drop by and say hello – where in Leeds are you based?

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