Monday, 19 August 2013

Nightmare during a lovely few days

Hey Guys,

As I said in my last post, last week was very busy.
Tuesday and Wednesday was spent working with a family I have helped out for over two years. I spent both days with my four year old best mate! Poor little guy broke his arm a few weeks ago, but didn't seem too fussed by the huge cast! The first day I saw him the cast was bright red and according to him smelt of strawberries, he tried to get me to have a whiff and in the process smacked me in the nose with his arm. There is something about working with children that makes you forget about your worries.

Due to many reasons, including my surgery, we hadn't organised a family holiday this year so we decided to organise a few days of fun and activities. So Thursday we headed down to the coast to have a go at GO APE. For those that don't know, Go Ape involves putting on a harness, strapping your self to trees and completing an assault course in the tree tops. All sounds great right?! Except I am really not a fan of heights and have no strength or fitness at the moment. I was even the one to suggest it... looking back, I'm not sure why!
Margaret had been feeling funny that morning, I kept checking to make sure things were okay and for the first few hours she seemed to be behaving. After having a training session we were all ready to head up in to the trees. It was at this point that Margaret decided to leak, everywhere. I had a bit of an inward panic as I stood there, with a group of strangers and a huge harness on. I quietly told Mum and then had a word with the instructor, explaining I had a dressing that needed changing quickly. I then whipped the harness off and ran back to the car where I had spare Margaret stuff. It was here that I could have my first proper look at what had happened. The adhesive had all but completely come away causing all the output to spill out on to my skin and yes, down my leg on to my underwear and leggings. Brilliant! I stared in horror wondering how on earth I was going to clear all this up. Thank god I am not squeamish because it really wasn't a pretty sight.
So there I stood, at the boot of my car, top rolled up and tucked in to my bra, leggings and pants rolled down taking dodgy bag off. Hello world!
A cyclist rode past but I don't think she caught a glimpse, poor lady would have hit a tree at the site of me if she had. I eventually managed to clear myself up and in record time, unfortunately I didn't have any spare clothes but luckily the output hadn't had a chance to soak in to my leggings. Phew!
I headed back to the first tree, to meet my waiting Dad where I was re harnessed before climbing up the tree, spider man style. The course was divided in to four sections and I managed to complete two of them alongside my Dad before deciding that enough was enough. I was exhausted, the course is physically quite tough even for someone who hadn't spent a year very unwell and had had major surgery 2 months before. I was a bit gutted I had't completed the challenge, mainly because I didn't get a certificate. Dad came down with me and we headed to have an ice cream and a drink whilst waiting for my Mum and brothers to finish the course. They of course loved it. The lovely people at Go Ape gave me a voucher to be able to come back and complete the course when I was physically better and able to finish the whole thing, which is so so nice of them and totally unexpected!
We then headed to a gorgeous pub to have lunch, where Margaret again leaked - cue the second change of the day. I spent a while trying to find the disabled toilet as the women's cubicles were tiny.
After lunch we had a wonder around a lovely village in the New Forest after which I decided to head home absolutely cream crackered. We had driven down in two cars so my family stayed to do some more site seeing. On arriving home I finally got to take off the clothes and have the best shower. Margaret needed changing AGAIN before I had a nap after an exhausting day!

Friday came round and we headed off to the beautiful city of Oxford.
I really did have the best day! We went up the mound, shopped and walked around the city, which is so so lovely. We had lunch at one of my favourite restaurants and had a drink at a lovely pub by the river.

Arriving home Margaret leaked and needed changing. It was now starting to get me down, I couldn't work out why the bags I had been using for months were now deciding to play up, I hadn't eaten anything dodgy or changed my Margaret routine at all. I rang for my stoma nurse who turns out is on holiday! I managed to instead get an appointment with another nurse for the following Monday (today).  I woke up the next morning to, yes, you guessed it another leak. This time I heard the adhesive pop before it leaked over my tummy. Poor Matt was also witness to that one, ordering me, in my sleepy haze, to go to the bathroom before opening the windows and blasting my room with his deodrant. The poor guy! The things he has to put up with.

Saturday I began house sitting for the same family I mentioned earlier. It's nice to have some space and a house to myself and Matt. As much as I love my family I am starting to really crave my own place. I am in charge of two dogs and three cats whilst the family are away. I love dogs but am allergic to cats so seem to spend much of my stay sneezing.
Despite the leaks and Margaret being a nightmare, I decided to still head out for a night out with my friends. I had a really great night with everyone, barely thinking about Margaret and thank fully she was in a good mood and didn't leak or act up!

Today I had my appointment with the new stoma nurse, who is lovely. I arrived and explained everything that had gone on in the past few days. She decided the best cause of action was to complete a patch test on my tummy to see which bags I am allergic to and which I am okay with. Hopefully there will be at least one which I don't react to and then I can change over and leave these leaky bags behind. As I have said before I am notoriously allergic to many things so I have had many skin patch tests in the  past, although they involved little drops of contaminated liquid and tiny needles. I now have little cut slithers of the adhesive from each bag stuck to me. If I have an allergic reaction I am instructed to take the adhesive off, leaving me with the ones I am not allergic to for when I see the nurse on Friday.

Margaret has shrunk quite a bit in the past week or two, and my tummy has gotten a bit flatter, I am thinking maybe this is why the bags have started to leak. The wonders of living with a bowel disease eh!

Hopefully it will all get under control soon, I will of course let you know how I get on.

Lots of love

Monday, 12 August 2013

Pick your own & Exercise

Hi Guys,

So I have had a really brilliant weekend.
Friday night Matt and I headed out for dinner on our date night which was so lovely. We had such a laugh! We got a lift there from my Mum, which made us both feel 16 again. Given we both drive it is rare that we ever get a lift anywhere! Matt ordered me a white win spritzer and I am ashamed to say, half a glass down and I was starting to feel rather tipsy. I don't know what came over me, but the small amount of alcohol really hit me. Matt found this hilarious as I tried to absorb the wine with bread and olives. We had arrived at 6:30, which is ridiculously early for dinner, but I was starving. By 7 we had decided that after dinner we would head to town to have a couple of drinks. 
Although we had planned to walk in to town, which would have taken about 45 minutes, we eventually got a lift from my Dad as he was picking up my brother from work. We arrived in town and headed to an old favourite pub/bar to meet Jo and Nashy. We caught up with the lovely Sarah and her boyfriend Shawn for a while before my typically late friends showed up. Towards the end of the night, it ended up being just Matt and I again. Lucky for us we got a lift home from Matts stepbrother, Andy! No taxi or walking for us! 

Me in Andy's Burger King uniform hat

I woke up Saturday morning with Matt suggesting we headed to a local farm to pick our own berries. It was a beautiful day so off we went. I had the best time! I am such a fruit fan and it was great to do something different. Matt and I walked up and down lines and lines of berries, whilst I spent my time filling our baskets, Matt spent most of the time filling his tummy. How he didn't throw up I don't know.
After about an hour of picking in the sunshine we headed inside to browse through the isles at the gorgeous farm shop... very dangerous! There wasn't a food stand we went past where we didn't want to buy something. In fact we did three laps of the place and left with a basket of yummy foods for lunch. 

My plan is to make a mixed berry crumble for the family with all the berries!

Sunday was spent with some family friends and Dads old work colleagues in a pub garden. I became great friends with a 7 year old who loves Harry Potter nearly as much as I do. I swear I could have sat and chatted for hours with her! 
Below are a few more photos from my weekend!

Matt trying not to get wet at his Mums!

Jakey as puppy dog, the day we got him.

This afternoon I completed my first cardio work out in a year! I have to say I am pretty proud of myself. I have done a few gentler work outs such as pilates but had yet to get the heart pumping! I don't know what possessed me but I decided to head out on a run. As I have said before, it is my aim to be able to run The London Marathon in 2015. I am currently so un fit I definitely need to start training now! It felt good to actually get my body moving but it really did exhaust me. I know I need to take it easy and that technically Im not supposed to start proper exercise until I am 3 months post op, but I hate not being able to do what I want. Exercise is something that I will one day slowly be able to get back to! There is no reason why having Margaret will stop me doing any exercise. I have always tried to be extremely positive about having a stoma and have always known and believed it would never stop me doing anything. It is very exciting that I am starting to get back to my usual, healthy self! 
Many people choose to wear abdominal bands around their tummies (I have shown you one of them in previous post) or special stoma underwear when doing exercise. If I were to do a contact support then extra protection is definitely necessary however I choose to just wear and dress as I would before the stoma and so far have had no issues! 

After my run!

Tonight I am off to see some friends before having a very busy week, working and spending some time with the family! I will of course be updating you all. 

Lots of love

Friday, 9 August 2013

Haircuts, Horses and Happy Birthdays

Hi Guys,

So to continue with the story of my busy week...

Friday night I baby sat again which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was for a family which I have worked for for two and half years. Their youngest is now 4 and safe to say the best little dude ever. I took Matt with me, which brightened up the little guys day, the moment Matt is there I am no longer the favourite person around.

Saturday I headed to my lovely friend Emily's 21st. I have known Em now for three years! Which is crazy! We became friends on the first day of my Art Foundation course and have been best buds since. After our year on the foundation course we ended up starting Uni at Epsom UCA together before Em switched courses and Unis. Despite now being at different Unis we have stayed in tough and I love the girl! I drove down to her "day-time birthday drinks/food thing", still exhausted from Bournemouth's events. It was so so good to see her and all of her friends from home. I had such a good afternoon, highlight being the amazing marshmallow cake!!

I have also gotten myself a job! Very exciting news. 
I am going to be working as a nanny. I have always loved working with children and it has always been my back up plan to become a primary school teacher so working as a nanny is perfect. It is only part time but I will be working 3 - 7, 5 days a week. I really could do with the money as well as having something to do and getting out the house. I am only required to be at Uni a few mornings a week so it'll work perfectly alongside that! I am quite scared about suddenly having a pretty packed schedule. Something which I haven't been used to in well over a year. 

This week I have also gotten myself a haircut.
It feels great to have all the ratty hair cut off and to have a much sleeker cut. Due to losing a surprising amount of hair whilst being poorly I now have a lot of hair growth coming through. I am left with a layer of hair growing through underneath my usual hair. Once it all grows through I will be able to grow my hair nice and long again. 

I have also been spending a lot of time baking. AGAIN. 
Here is my most recent batch of marshmallow and chocolate chip brownies, I tried to take a photo before any had been eaten but Matt got there first...

On Tuesday I spent the day with Matt, he had to work the morning and the afternoon but in the middle we had a lovely lunch together. It was his first half a day off in a really long time so it was so nice to spend time together. I am so proud of how his new company is doing and how hard he is working. Tonight we are off out to dinner for the first time since our trip to the Vineyard which I blogged about weeks before my op. During the week half of the neighbours tree came down and Matt sorted it all out for them. They were so pleased they gave him a voucher for a restaurant down the road! Brilliant news for me!
That afternoon I went with Matt to do a local job. This involved horses. Unfortunately I am allergic to horses so I wasn't much help but I loved just being near them. I have some much worse allergies, one even life threatening, but if I could get rid of any it would be my horse one. I would have loved to learn how to ride. I haven't been near horses in years so chanced getting close. Safe to say I am still allergic. After half an hour I was relieved I had my inhaler around I can tell you!

Margaret continues to act up every now and again. The adhesive on the bag seems to dry out and then crack, obviously not allowing it to stick to me, causing leaks and seeping. The first time this happened this week, I noticed five minutes before leaving the house to have drinks with Matt. Thank god I noticed! 10 minutes later and it could have been a very public, embarrassing moment. The second time was two days later, when I woke up to find the bag only half stuck down, with the rest of the adhesive 'flange' all dried up. Somehow nothing had leaked out! Don't ask me how.
Hopefully this won't continue although I am not keeping my hopes up, I guess I just have to be extra vigilant at all times. My my new supplies arrived this week too. Something about receiving a parcel even if there is nothing interesting inside is strangely exciting.

Thank you all for reading, if any of you have any questions or topics you would like me to write about or touch on please just get in touch. 

Lots of love

Monday, 5 August 2013


Hi Guys,

Apologies that it has taken me so long to post! One whole week! I know I promised a post on Friday, but I have had such a busy week, it is only now that I feel I have enough time to properly write a decent post for you all!

So, where do I start! As you all know Wednesday I headed off with my three best friends, to visit the beautiful Becky in Bournemouth. My day started with tying to stuff everything I needed for the next 24 hours. Packing my bag for one night should not have taken as much time or taken up as much space as it did. Now, I am not known for packing light at the best of times, let alone now that I have Margaret to think about! I have a beautiful bright orange holdall, which Matt bought me three years ago. Normally this would have held enough belongings to last me a long weekend, this time however, I barely fitted everything I needed.
As well as clothes for a night out and everything for the beach the next day, I also had to include Margaret's belongings for every possible eventuallity. I took three spare pre cut bags, wipes, adhesive removers, odour sprays and god knows what else. You name it, I had it. In fact, Margaret deserved a bag all to herself.

Once I was all set and ready, I picked up Zo, Jo and Charlotte (Nashy) and we made our way down to the coast for Margaret's first over night stay. My car was packed full, the other girls has the same, if not more stuff than me! & they don't have Margaret as an excuse. Bex was waiting for us and gave us a tour of her Uni flat, which is like a rabbit warren and includes a fantastic balcony/terrace.
It felt SO amazing to be doing something 'normal' with my girls. We headed to a lovely pub for some lunch before spending an eternity getting ready for the night out. Five girls, one room and two mirrors are one hell of a combination. Three hours later we headed out the door and to a local cocktail bar.

The night continued at a club called Cameo and ended at the beach at 4am. The time in between was spent dancing (ALOT), drinking (responsibly) and generally having an amazing time surrounded by my best friends. Bex was put in charge as chief re-hydrator! By the end of the night I had downed a good few pints of water.
I had the most amazing time, despite having to battle off a particularly awful, drunk man a couple of times and killing my feet in heels and walking home bare foot.

Finishing off the night at the beach made it even better. Bex and Zo skinny dipped (they had clearly had a lot more to drink, than the rest of us), whilst me Nashy and Jo watched in horror and admiration. One of the funniest moments of the night had to be when Jo switched on the beach shower, whilst Nashy was stood underneath it - thinking it was the tap for your feet...
I only had to empty Margaret twice whilst out, although I could have gotten away with only having to do it once. The first bar had a disabled toilet which was brilliant, as it offers some more privacy. The club only had a locked disabled toilet, and although I did have my key it was on show to everyone at the bar so I felt a little self conscious having to use it. I chose to use the ladies instead, and it was actually fine! I didn't have anything to worry about.

Once we were all finally tucked up in bed, or in mine and Bex's case - the floor, we slept for about three hours before waking up to head to the beach (again)!
It did take us a couple of hours to make it, but we did finally get ourselves down to the sandy shores.

Nashy, Me, Jo, Zo & Bex

Here I am in my lovely swim suit. I have to say, despite Margaret I have never felt more confident on a beach in my life. Margaret was completely hidden - you would never know that I had an ostomy bag. I was concerned that once the swimsuit got wet, it would really cling to my tummy and Margaret would be seen but thankfully this didn't seem to happen! My confidence with having Margaret and dealing with her in tricky situations has definitely increased. 
I will soon do a post on different swimwear options for those with an ostomy, as there is no reason you can't all feel amazing whilst lying by the pool or on the beach. 

We headed home, exhausted, sandy, sweaty and hopefully a bit more tanned. I tell you a shower and my bed have never felt so amazing! 

This post is already getting long so I will wrap it now and continue the story of my mad week next time, 

Lots of love