I am 24 now, and I had my colon removed when I was 21. I had UC for 2 years, and it turned into toxic megacolon, and I had to have emergency surgery and an ostomy. Luckily, the doctor was able to make a j-pouch a year later. I have been doing great since then. I was miserable with the UC. This is a major surgery, and I don't think you should go with just one doctor's opinion. Like you say, because you have Crohn's in the small bowel, a colectomy may not be best for you. If you live in Texas, I recommend Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. People come from other states to have that particular surgeon. I live in a rural community as well, so I did not have access to a support group either.
I can tell you from personal experience that an ostomy is not the end of the world. You would be surprised at how much better I felt after getting the diseased colon out of my body. I was already in nursing school when all of this happened. This experience has made me want to become an Ostomy Nurse. I just finished my ADN, and am going to transfer to earn my BSN. I want people, especially young people, to know that having an ostomy is not as scary as you think it is. There are a lot of misconceptions.
Definately check out the CCFA website. There is a lot of good information there. Also, check out http://www.greatcomebacks.com/us/index.html
if you're in the mood for a little inspiration. I am actually the scholarship
winner for this year. I was able to meet many people involved in the CCFA, and everyone was very supportive and kind.
Definately do your research, and don't rush into this. If there's anything I can do to help you, or if you need more contact info, feel free to private message me.