Keyla’s Story

I’ve always had really bad stomach aches since I was little. 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). I didn’t know what this was; I thought it was like the flu and that it was normal. I didn’t realize this condition was going to be my life-long friend.

7 years ago, I found out I had uterine cancer after doctors found adenosarcoma, which is now in remission. Years later, I failed every medication available to me. I was told the only other option was a J-pouch surgery, which gave me a temporary ostomy. Once it healed, the disease returned and attacked the pouch that was created. This was considered a failed procedure, and I was told that my ostomy had to be permanent.


2 years ago, my IBD diagnosis changed to Crohn’s. It’s not the best answer I wanted to hear, but I knew I could live a life with an ostomy—it would just take some adjusting. Since my ostomy used to be temporary, I knew the ins and outs of what to expect.

When I had my temporary ostomy, I started modeling to make myself feel better. I wanted to do a body positivity photo shoot, so my friend connected me with a photographer. One thing led to another, and I found myself talking to a photographer with Vogue UK (I thought I was being catfished). Before I knew it, my photos were published in the magazine.

I don’t see myself as a model with an ostomy and Crohn’s. I love that I can wear something and no one knows I’m disabled, or I can wear a swimsuit, and everyone knows I have it. I’ve done so much with my ostomy, and I feel it’s given me more courage.


There are negative stigmas around ostomies, but the biggest myth is that an ostomy is a death sentence. My mom can attest to this; she previously thought my life was shortened because I received an ostomy. Women also think they can’t wear form-fitting clothes, they’re going to smell bad, they can’t have sex, and so many other things—but we can literally do all of the above.

Keyla’s advice:
Live your life and enjoy it to the best of your ability. Ask your doctor as many questions as possible before surgery if you can. It’s not a pretty journey; we all have our moments… but we help each other as a community. Being in the presence of women who get it is a whole different vibe… it’s comforting.