Long time guys!

26 Apr

Hi guys, girls, & ostomates 🙂

So it has been a LONG time since I have posted on here. I have been mainly focusing on posting on the site ‘Stomawise’ where I keep my ‘Diary of an Ostomate’ and have been busy! I have decided I want to come back to this and keep it updated though as I continue to move through my recovery and really get my life back. I hope you are all well as you are reading this, and if not, remember keep smiling, things DO get better, you can do it! I send lots of virtual hugs your way!

So…Here we are, StaceyStoma and I, over 8 months on from that day my life was saved. Wow, what a journey it has been, as I am sure a lot of you can imagine. It has been a journey that I will never forget, and one that has shaped me into the woman I have become since my surgery. Sure, there have been plenty of lows, but also lots of highs on this rollercoaster of emotions and recovery. Best of all; I am HERE! and that is the best gift ever; life. I have my life, I cannot really complain.

StaceyStoma is tiny, and measures at 23mm now, compared to the 30mm after my surgery, she looks like a raspberry or a red rose on my stomach. Strangely, she looks very cute, and I have learnt to love her as part of me. I am well on the way to accepting her, I would say I have physically accepted her, but of course, there are days where I just think how things may have been if I never got Crohn’s Colitis in the first place. Life is too short though to live on ‘what ifs’, especially those that you had no choice or control over, so one thing I have learnt especially since being diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease at age 7, is that you have to make the most of the cards you are dealt with, metaphorically speaking, in life. I wouldn’t wish any disease, let alone bowel disease, on anybody, it is truly horrible and traumatising, but sadly, illness is something that we all relate with and have to cope with at points in our life, whether that is us personally or somebody that we love.

I am currently doing some voluntary work, as well as doing some paid cover work and lunch-time work at a local Pre-School. I thoroughly enjoy my job and every time I see what I can contribute towards the children’s lives, I remind myself how great it is to be able to do that now and what my stoma has actually given me. Something as simple as encouraging a child to persevere with something they find a bit tricky at first and helping them believe they can do it is by itself a major reason why I enjoy my job, to see the look on their face when they accomplish that thing is so worthwhile. In September, I am going to University to study Education Studies and then either onto a PGCE to get my degree to become a Primary Teacher, or head down the route of Educational Psychology or Research.

Today, I completed my first proper run since surgery. I will be doing the Race For Life to raise money for Cancer Research at the end of July. Cancer Research is a charity that is very close to my heart. Sadly, I lost my Grandad and Uncle Fred to Cancer, and a lot of people I know are affected by Cancer, whether personally or as a relative of someone. It is 5 kilometres and I aim to run the whole way and raise as much money as possible. It sure takes it out of you when you first exercise properly after surgery, but I am taking it step by step and have an exercise plan to ease myself back into it. I also wear my stoma support garments whilst running to hold everything in place and give me that extra bit of confidence and support. Doing the Race For Life gives me something truly worthwhile to work towards over the next few months and will give me a great sense of achievement when I achieve it, especially knowing the money I raise will go to such a prevalent issue in today’s society that affects everyone on a global spectrum. It will also mean a lot to me as a personal achievement and will be just one of many examples of what my surgery has allowed me to do, besides the things that many of us take for granted such as enjoying and being able to eat a meal.

My stoma has truly given me a life, and a life of good quality where I am healthy and can smile on a daily basis at the fact that I don’t have to both go to sleep in pain and wake up to pain, constantly, every hour of every day. I don’t have to shy away from going outside to the end of the garden, let alone into town or out with friends, without worrying about rushing to the toilet or having an accident. I have tons more energy and motivation. I can really look forward to my food and enjoy going out for meals. I can start running and walking as hobbies again which I love as I no longer have swollen joints. I can enjoy a life medication free as things are. I can look at my scar down my stomach and think “yes, this is a sign of what I have conquered, not something to be ashamed of.” The positives are endless. Of course, there have been the negatives, but they mean nothing compared to the positives. I can only think of a few negatives for me personally in fact, and I wouldn’t even count them as such a big deal, such as not being able to walk around with my stomach on show, but to be honest, I wouldn’t do that as it was anyway, I never have been one to wear cropped vests etc and I have always worn tankinis or swimming costumes when swimming. Yes, having a stoma can knock your confidence at times, such as worrying about it making noises when you least expect it, but I’m learning to just make light humour of it. If people can’t accept it, that is their loss and they aren’t worth it. It is harder for the person to adjust to who has it rather than someone who doesn’t. If that was me finding out somebody else had a stoma or a disability for example, it wouldn’t make me appreciate the person less for that person they are. Having a stoma does not define you, it is simply part of what makes you who you are, that saved your life. When I have my down days, I remember that, and nothing seems as bad as it could be, as it was before. I am here. I have my life.

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