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On February 20, 2017, Emily Parris was lying in a hospital bed with severe pain from ulcerative colitis. She didn't know it at the time, but she was about to have an emergency operation because her colon was perforating. Had she not gotten medical attention when she did, Emily could have died at 22-years-old.

In this video, Emily reflects on how she felt before getting Rosie (her stoma) and shares a touching message for anyone facing ostomy surgery.

“I honestly cannot even believe that it's been one year since my emergency total colectomy. This surgery has changed my life in ways I couldn't have even imagined! Not only did an ostomy save my life, but it gave me a community to be part of. Being able to bring awareness to something that is obviously so very near and dear to my heart gives me more satisfaction and purpose than I could ask for. To those of you in the place I was last year — it gets better. Time goes on, and day by day you get better. You learn to cope and deal with the changes in your life, and one day you'll realize… today was actually a great day. So keep pushing, keep fighting & keep rollin’ with no colon.” – Emily Parris

Connect with Emily on Instagram @rollincolon and Twitter @emmmyparris.