Recently the lovely Christine Kim, creator and founder of the fabulous website Ostomy Connection, asked me to contribute to a post explaining my personal reasons for showing my ostomy bag on social media, and why I show it and don’t just talk about it. Here’s why!
This year celebrates two pretty important and awesome anniversaries. Crohn’s & Colitis UK (CCUK) turning 40, and yours truly turning 40 (eeeeeeek)!!!
So when I saw CCUK promoting a Falling for Forty tandem sky dive event taking place in October (the same month as my birthday), I thought what better way to celebrate these momentous occasions! It seemed the perfect opportunity to raise some money for a cause close to my heart plus do something really memorable for my big 40!!
For my six year stomaversary I am celebrating six of the many highlights I’ve been fortunate enough to experience since having my stoma. These are six things I worried I may not be able to do again due to my health when diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and six things I wasn’t sure would be possible even after permanent ostomy surgery. This post is to show you that they are, and that anything is possible with a stoma!
Passing wind, breaking wind, fluffing, farting, tooting, letting one rip!! Ostomates or otherwise, we all do it!!
I was standing at a bus stop not long ago and a guy near me did a very loud one. He politely excused himself but everyone else around us pretended not to hear and looked away (embarrassed for him). I think the guy was a bit miffed by this as he made some comment about how it’s only natural (honestly you couldn’t not have heard it). I smiled and looked at him … “better out than in” I said!
Back in July I went on my first proper camping trip with my ostomy! When I say “proper”, we weren’t in the middle of the wilderness without any facilities (we stayed at a very respectable campground in Cornwall that had more than adequate bathroom facilities), however it also wasn’t quite as upmarket or comfortable as my several glamping experiences with an ostomy! Glamping … think proper flushing ensuite toilet attached to our nice A-frame hut where we could actually stand up straight!!
To mark World Ostomy Day 2018, I’ve decided to write about things my ostomy didn’t change about me or my life. It would probably be easier to write about things my ostomy DID change about me. It would certainly be a shorter list! Why? Apart from a few obvious things, not much has changed. I’m still me! A slightly rejigged version of me where my body functions a tad differently to some, but otherwise, still me. I would even say a new and improved version of me!
One of the things I love about London is being able to zip over to another country for a weekend! I’d love to know how many countries (let alone cities) you can get to within 2 hours by plane, train or even car from London?! Suffice to say a lot more, a tad closer (and cheaper!) than Australia!
For the August bank holiday weekend, we did just that! Our first visit to the Emerald Isle with a long weekend in Dublin. Read More »
New York, New York! What a city! To say I was just a wee bit excited to be headed to NYC was an understatement! I hadn’t been to the USA in over 10 years, and whilst I have been blessed to travel many places since my ostomy surgery, this was my first trip with a stoma to the USA! Would it be any different to travelling elsewhere with an ostomy?
Having a bit of fun playing around with Phototastic turning my stoma into a #SuperStoma! But seriously, even without the cape and mask, my stoma truly is super!
It’s given me back my health, enabled me to travel the world, and live life to the full without constantly worrying about where the nearest toilet is. It doesn’t hold me back in the slightest. I wear what I like, eat what I like, and do what I like! I’ve met so many awesome people and am proud to be part of the ostomy community, helping raise awareness, break down taboos and navigate the journey together.
I know it’s not the easiest of journeys for everyone, but I am so grateful for my stoma and all that it has done for me. To all you other ostomates out there, stand proud, rock those bags, and remember you are not alone in this. Acceptance can take time, and even if you don’t feel your stoma is super all of the time (mine has its moments!!), try to look for the good in every day and keep smiling 🙂
When a member of your family has a chronic illness, be they in remission or otherwise, that fact tends to colour all other life events. So it is, with great joy and gratitude, I celebrate my daughter Laura (aka Stomalicious) and son-in-law Mikey’s, 20th anniversary of being together as a couple.
Last week I celebrated my 4-year anniversary (or stomaversary) with “my little guy”! Today I’m celebrating another anniversary. An even more significant one in many ways than my stomaversay, because it’s my 20th (yes, you read that right!) anniversary with my big guy – my husband, Mikey!
Firstly, I must apologise for being MIA lately. I’ve been very quiet on the blogging front again but that’s because I’ve been out and about, doing what I love and what I do best … travelling and getting my belly and my bag out around the world!
Secondly, I should pre-warn you that this blog isn’t really going to be very ostomy focussed! I always try to keep my Stomalicious posts on point, but I’ve been travelling with my ostomy for 4 years now and to be honest I feel like a bit of an ostomy travel pro these days! My travel stories are more about the actual travels than my ostomy, which is how it should be!
Seriously? I don’t think I would have gotten through my surgery without mine! Stomal therapy nurses play a pivotal role in our lives pre and post-surgery. Most of us lucky enough to have a stoma nurse (and it amazes me that anyone is allowed to go through ostomy surgery without one) know they are amazing human beings. Ostomates have a special kind of relationship with their stoma nurse, and I might be a bit biased, but of course I think my stoma nurse Kerrin is the best!!
I am very fortunate that in my almost 4 years of having my ostomy, I am yet to have a blockage. That said, I’ve diligently read up on signs to watch out for and what to do just in case I do ever get one! Read More »
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I’m far from being a girly girl! My beauty routine is virtually non-existent and the extent of my makeup repertoire is a bit of mascara and some tinted moisturiser. Occasionally I might straighten my hair. In other words, I’m quite lazy and nonchalant when it comes to dressing and dolling myself up. I prefer the natural look!
Apart from taking photos flashing my bag in public, I certainly don’t consider myself a poser or exhibitionist, and I don’t like being the centre of attention!! When I saw the post on Facebook looking for volunteers aged from 30-40 for an Ostomy underwear shoot, even I was surprised I put my hand up!!! I was new to London, keen on trying new things and making new friends, so I thought, why not!!
Last Saturday night I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of attending my very first Ostomy / IBD event since arriving in the UK! The Purple Wings Charity hosted a Christmas dinner in Bourton on the Water, a fairy-tale little town in the Cotswolds.
For those of you who don’t know about Purple Wings Charity , their vision is “helping sufferers of IBD with ostomies regain confidence and self-esteem”. Read More »
If your surgery is planned and you have time to pack your own hospital bag, there are a few things I would include in my must pack list, as well as a few must haves for when you get home following the early days out of hospital.
You will have a lot of time on your hands, and whilst you will probably be sleeping a fair bit, I made sure I had plenty of other things to keep me busy (there is only so much day time TV you can watch before going mad!!).
Stomaversary, Bagaversary, No Colonaversary, whatever you like to call it, today marks 3 years with my stoma!
Technically my first ostomy was formed 3 years AND 5 months ago. It started as a loop ileostomy, so I consider the first 5 months: “the dating phase”! The real deal happened on 24 September 2013. That’s when I got my new stoma (and got rid of some other bits!) and we became committed (for life). This got me to thinking about the parallels between our relationships with our stomas and human relationships. There are many similarities, but also some polar opposites.
Like all relationships, our relationships with our stomas are individual and each very different. Some will be better (or at least ‘different’) than others. This is my experience. This is about MY relationship with MY stoma and the path we have taken as I reflect on my 3rd Stomaversary.
I remember seeing my surgeon and stoma nurse prior to surgery with a notebook full of questions I wanted answered! If you have any questions, concerns or worries – make sure you ASK! It’s one of the best ways to prepare yourself (especially mentally) for surgery. I had several pre-op visits with my surgeon and stoma nurse and I took the opportunity to ask about everything that was on my mind! Read More »
I’m not sure what made me decide to venture into ostomy underwear land! I was happy in my regular Bonds boy leg undies, and I’ve never really been into sexy lingerie. My Bonds were getting a little worse for wear, so I figured why not branch out and try something new!?
I ordered a couple of pairs of 4me Underwear online, which was a super easy process via their website. The lovely Michelle (designer and brains behind 4me and an ostomate herself) threw in a few extra pairs for me to try on the house 🙂
I’ve been wearing 4MeUnderwear on a daily basis for several months now, and I honestly wouldn’t go back! I only wish I’d made the leap and tried them sooner! Here’s my review! Read More »
The final post for Ostomy Orientation Week (or month as it turned out!) goes a bit deeper and personal, pondering some of the more difficult questions and feelings around life with an ostomy. Telling people you have an ostomy, the best and hardest things about life with an ostomy, and the big one, do you have a better quality of life since having surgery?
Thank you for following along and joining in. I hope you’ve learnt as much and found these posts as valuable as I have!
There is just so much to talk about when it comes to stomas! This part of Ostomy O-Week talks about stomas – naming them, size, prolapses and if you can feel your stoma. Please shout out if you have any other questions.
This is Part 3 of Ostomy Orientation Week – What goes in must come out! It’s all about eating and pooping with an ostomy. Output consistency, foods to help thicken output, blockages, gas and staying hydrated.
This is Part 2 of Ostomy Orientation Week – it’s all about BAGS! Changing and emptying your appliance: where and how often you change your bag, what type of bag and other stoma supplies you use, peristomal skin, how frequently you empty your bag, your emptying technique and ostomy leaks.
“An Orientation week for Ostomates”. What to Expect When You’re Expecting a stoma!
I recently held Ostomy O-Week on the Stoma-licious Facebook page and Instagram account.What started as a week ended up being closer to a MONTH! There are just so many topics to discuss when it comes to OSTOMIES! I still haven’t covered anywhere near all of them!
I’ve decided to publish a 4-part series of all theOstomy O-Week posts here! Read More »
Okay, so this device does look a bit strange! I’ve had comments of intrigue and confusion after posting photos trying it out. I’ve used it 5 or 6 times now, so it’s time I elaborated and put an end to the mystery of the Stomydo!
First of all, a bit of background…. Stomydo is a company based in the Netherlands, and the designers behind the Stomydo stomashower and wafer heater. They approached me after seeing a video I shared of changing my ileostomy bag asking if I’d be interested in trying it and sharing my experience. I had lots of questions at first too, unsure exactly what it was for and why I’d need such a thing! I was still undecided, but figured it was worth a try!
I posted a photo of my naked stoma (sans bag) on Facebook the other day. Someone I know quite well asked me, pointing at the weird little pink think poking out of my belly, “what exactly is that?”.
That’s my stoma, I answered. My small intestine. That’s how I poop.
She apologised for being ignorant, but really it’s not ignorant at all. I wouldn’t have had any idea before Crohn’s disease and knowing that one day I might have to have one what it was either. Read More »
As Ostomates, we all have our own individual technique when it comes to emptying and changing our ostomy bags. We have our personal favourite brands and types of appliance, different showering methods, even preference for how often and when we change our bag.
Stomas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (and also have minds of their own!). Some may need more attention than others or take a bit longer to work out and get used to, but they all need a bit of TLC!
We can be pretty particular and meticulous about how we change our appliance, and that’s a good thing! There is no one correct way – it’s not an exact science!
Here are a few of my tips and what works for me and my permanent ileostomy!Read More »
Pooping has become a pretty normal topic of conversation in my household. Why shouldn’t it be? It’s something we all do. Pooping is something we often take for granted, and we shouldn’t. It’s completely natural and normal, yet people are still embarrassed to talk about it.
It’s part of our daily routine. People ask how was your day / dinner / workout / break / commute /etc? Nobody ever asks how was your poop? Would there be anything wrong in adding “did you have a good bowel movement?” to our daily niceties and vernacular? It doesn’t need to be awkward. These days I often ask Mikey when he gets back from his pretty regular morning or evening bathroom visit whether he had a good poop. These things are important!
I was going through my journal the other day. I came across these scrambled thoughts scribbled down on the morning of 24th September 2013 – the day I was going in for my permanent ostomy surgery. This was where my head was at literally hours before leaving for the hospital that morning.
So in a few hours I’m heading back to the hospital. My home away from home. This time tomorrow, I’ll be large intestine, rectum, anus and inflammation free, and well on my way to being a much healthier and happier Laura again. So will begin a new chapter. Read More »
And by volume, I’m not talking about Ostomy output! I’m asking for your help to increase the volume and to make our Ostomy awareness raising voice as loud as we possibly can! Let’s turn those dials all the way up to max!! Crank it!
As World Ostomy Day (WOD) quickly draws to a close here in Australia, I thought it important to write a post in honour of this important day. I was quite surprised to learn that WOD only occurs once every 3 years. I am a little unsure as to why it’s not an annual event, but I like to think that every day is Ostomy Day for me! Read More »
Today, I am posting a special blog to acknowledge the 2-year anniversary of my ileostomy surgery. Some might find it an odd thing to do, observing the “birthday” of a stoma. Amongst ostomates, a stomaversary is actually quite common practice!
How to go about this? I want to honour and pay homage to my stoma (aka “my little guy”) with the respect it deserves. It’s not about mourning the death of, but rather celebrating the legacy of my colon (and what’s left of it)! Celebrating and rejoicing the creation day of something rather amazing!
So, I asked some of my nearest and dearest to send my stoma an anniversary card message on this, its special day.
To follow are messages from family, friends and others who have been in the life of my little guy, including a message from me of course! Read More »
Whilst having a stoma might have its challenges and take a bit of getting used to, for me it truly is a blessing and has given me my life back. So here are my TOP 10 REASONS LIFE IS GREAT WITH A STOMA!
I’ve had a few people contacting me asking how my appointment with the gynaecologist went last week – thank you for your concern 🙂 There isn’t much to report on just yet, but I thought I would post a bit of an update. If anything, putting thoughts to paper might help with the whirlwind of information currently flying around in my head! There’s quite a lot to contemplate and consider.
It seems that I am rather unique! Surprise, surprise! My gyno has spoken to numerous colorectal and plastic surgeons about my case, but nobody has really come across anything quite like it (or at least not with the same symptoms as I am experiencing). Or if they have, it hasn’t been discussed. Read More »
Today’s post is a video blog. I decided it might be interesting to show you how I change my ostomy bag. What better way than through a video? Whilst I could explain the process in words, unless you actually see it, it is probably difficult to get your head around! Read More »