I’m not normally one to get into the fuss of rehashing the past year or making resolutions for the new year, but when I was contemplating topics for my first blog post of 2016, it only made sense to jump on board and get into the new year spirit (sorry I am a little slow on the uptake)!
I also thought it would be fun to do a bit of a year in review, especially seeing as 2015 was a much healthier and happier year for me than many years past, and the year Stoma-licious was born 🙂 So here is a bit of a recap of some of the more noteworthy and defining moments from my 2015!
January: I got married to the love of my life on the beach in Thailand ❤ This capped off the end of a 10-month adventure living life to the fullest as we travelled the world, departing just 6 months after having major ostomy surgery!
February: We returned from the life and joys of travel to our hometown of Sydney … and back to reality. The first month or so back in Australia was a whirlwind catching up with friends, spending quality time with family, and taking time to enjoy all those things we had missed about Australia (we really are blessed to live in such a beautiful country)!
I saw my stoma nurse and gastroenterologist for the first time in a year and was given the all clear – I didn’t need a follow up for another 12 months!! Very happily my ostomy and IBD behaved itself for the entirety of the year so I had no need to bring any medical appointments forward. After basically living in doctor’s offices and the hospital for several years, I am finally over my initial withdrawal symptoms of not seeing my gastro every other week, and I’m quite happy with annual visits from now on thank you!!
March: I was bridesmaid for my beautiful little sister Emma as she married the amazing, caring, down to earth Glen. They so deserve each other and I am so happy to see her so happy (and my beautiful niece Jessica).
April: I continued seeing gynaecologists and a women’s health physiotherapist who helped me get on top of the main post-op issue I have experienced since surgery: a retroverted uterus and scar tissue causing some rather unpleasant menstrual and sex related problems. I am happy to say these issues have now basically been fixed, and without the need for any more surgery. I have been very open about this and written about it here: https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/lets-talk-about-sex/ and https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-saga-of-the-retroverted-uterus-continues/ and https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/thank-goodness-i-didnt-rush-into-surgery/
May: An incredibly important and personally significant month for me as STOMA-LICIOUS WAS BORN. I started this blog and Facebook page to help raise awareness for IBD and to create an open, honest forum to talk about poo and the ups and downs of Crohn’s disease and ostomies. I started off by telling my story https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/lets-start-from-the-beginning/ and have since blogged about everything from travelling with an Ostomy, to IBD & Ostomies at work, Self-esteem, 10 reasons life is great with a stoma, bad habits, facing our fears and have now started a guest blog post section too!
The birth of Stoma-licious happened to coincide with World IBD Day on 19th May, and I participated in the #UnitedWeStand video campaign. https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/unitedwestand2015-worldibdday/
June: My husband and I kicked off our housesitting adventures through www.aussiehousesitters.com.au Through 2015 we house-sat 5 dogs, a cat, a swimming pool, some fish and a pub! We love getting to know different areas of Sydney and making new animal friends. If you are looking for a house/pet sitter, please contact us!
July: I uploaded my first Video Blog – Changing my ileostomy bag. https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/a-vlog-changing-my-ileostomy-bag/
August: Mikey broke his wrist (in 2 places) and I got to experience the other side of the hospital curtain and be the carer for once! He was a pretty good patient! https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/role-reversal-in-the-other-shoes-the-carers-perspective/
September: A huge month! Not only did I celebrate the 2 year stomaversary for my little guy (https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/09/24/happy-stomaversary-to-my-little-guy/), I also had my first article published! My Have Bag, Will Travel personal story was published in the CCA Inside Insight Magazine.
I also participated in the Invisible Illness Awareness Week and CCUK #GoodAndBadDays campaigns. https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/is-my-invisible-illness-really-that-invisible/
October: Another big month with World Ostomy Day on 3rd October where I aimed to turn up the volume on ostomy awareness and reduce stigmas around ostomies (I still don’t understand why WOD is only held every 3 years and not an annual event). https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/world-ostomy-day-2015-help-me-increase-the-volume/
I also pledged my 36th birthday to Crohn’s & Colitis Australia. And the fashionista that I am contributed to Vegan Ostomy’s Lady’s Guide to Dressing with an Ostomy. Check it out here: https://www.veganostomy.ca/2015/10/dressing-with-an-ostomy-clothing-for-women.html
November: In November and over the course of the year I’ve had guest blog post contributions shared internationally via http://ostomyconnection.com/, http://www.eakin.eu/ and http://www.pelicanhealthcare.co.uk/ – all great sites doing wonderful things for the IBD and ostomy communities.
December: I participated in #7DaysofIBD for Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week (https://stomalicious.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/7daysofibd/) and had a second article published in the Ostomy Australia journal.
Phew! What a year!
It really has been a great year health wise too, and I am so blessed and grateful for that. There has also been a lot of love with weddings and spending time with friends and family, which again I am so blessed and grateful for.
It’s been a fantastic year with Stoma-licious and although at times I have questioned what I am doing and where I am going with it, I really enjoy my bloggings and musings. I have posted 31 blogs, 15 photos getting my bag out around the globe in Where in the World is my Stoma, and umpteen other Facebook posts. Stoma-licious has just hit 180 likes on Facebook, and just over 3000 views on the blog. I know the numbers are only small, but it’s not all about numbers, and even if I have made a difference to just a handful of people, that means the world to me.
Like other years, I am not going to make any resolutions for 2016. Instead I was going to choose a word to live by and allow it to permeate into all aspects of my life across the entire year. The problem is there are just too many words to pick just one! Patience, surrender, tolerance, non-judgemental, present, relax, courage, gratitude, awareness. I endeavour to bring more of all these into my life this year, and make it a good one!
I will end by saying THANK YOU all for your support and encouragement over the year! I look forward to an exciting year filled with many more Stoma-licious adventures, and I wish each and every one of you a HAPPY and most importantly HEALTHY 2016!!