07/10/2015 06:58 BST | Updated 07/10/2015 06:59 BST

Woman's Stomach Scar 'Explodes' Due To Infection After Operation (Graphic Images)

Warning: Graphic images

Chloe Meade, 21, from Caldicot, South Wales, was lucky to be alive after undergoing an emergency operation when she developed an abscess on her bowel in January.

But just weeks later, the wound became infected – which caused the 20cm wound on her stomach to "explode" – leaving a gaping hole.

The support worker had to pack her wound for weeks, but incredibly, it has now fully healed.

"It was like something out of a horror film – my scar opened up completely", Meade said.

"I could see straight through my scar into my stomach, and it needed months of packing with bandages before it started to heal.

chloe meade

Chloe Meade

Meade has suffered with Crohn’s disease since she was 11, but it was in January 2015 that she was rushed to see doctors with crippling stomach pains.

Medics told her she had an infected abscess and would need emergency surgery in order to save her life.

"I thought after the operation the worst was over," she added.

"When I woke up and saw the 20cm scar running down my stomach I felt relieved that my ordeal was over.

"But I caught an infection and treatment caused my body to swell, I looked and felt awful. For months I was unable to do anything but finally I’m starting to feel myself again."

chloe meade

Chloe Meade's open scar

Meade battled an infection in her abdomen just after the operation and needed a drain fitted into her stomach – it meant she was tube fed for three-weeks.

She added: "I was so frustrated that my body wasn’t healing but I tried my best to remain positive.

"I started on a course of steroids to help reduce the swelling and infection but that made me gain weight really quickly.

"My whole body was full of water and that’s why doctors think my scar split open. I was in hospital for three-months before I could come home, it was such a relief when the wound started to heal and I overcome the infection.

"I have such a supportive family and my mum, Karen, 47, has been my rock throughout it all."

Meade was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 11 years old after suffering months of stomach pain.

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She said: "My mum knew there was something wrong but it was such a shock when I was diagnosed, we don’t have anyone in the family with the same illness as me so we have no idea where is has come from.

"But after everything in the past nine-months all I can do it laugh about it all. There is still a small opening in my stomach and lately that has been letting out air.

"It makes such a funny noise that it sounds as though I’m letting off wind. I used to be really embarrassed of my Crohn’s but now I want to do as much as possible to raise awareness.

"I decided to share my scar as part of the Get Your Belly Out campaign and I’ve had such a fantastic response on social media."

chloe meade

Chloe Meade's scar

Meade is now due to have an MRI scan after doctors fear she has a fistula, caused by disease - an abnormal tube-like connection that forms between an organ or blood vessels.

Something that if left to heal on its own without a stoma – a bag to replace her bowel – would risk it perforating.

Meade added: "Fingers crossed I won’t need one, but if I do it won’t be the end of the world. I’m still on steroids to help with the swelling but other than that I’m actually starting to feel well again.

"I still dress the bottom half of my scar every day, sometimes leaks and can be painful but I do my best to just get on with it.

"I can finally go out with friends and enjoy myself, I hope my story helps other people with the condition."

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