Firstly a big sorry that I haven't posted in so long! A whole two weeks. I really have been incredibly busy and haven't had any time to myself to write you all a post. I will aim now to update you on everything, so it may be a pretty long post!
When I posted last I had four sticky bits of different stoma bags stuck to my tummy, to see which ones I may or may not have been allergic to. One fell off within a few hours and no matter how many times I stuck a new bit on, it kept flaking off - clearly that adhesive wasn't for me! A second one became itchy and irritating so I removed that one. The two that were left both seemed to be fine, I had no irritation and they both stayed stuck to me. I headed to see the stoma nurse, who was so lovely, and she sent me home with four of each to try and out and see which I prefereed. She started me out on a Welland bag which is a soft convex. You may remember a convex bag is one with a domed part, which helps to push Margaret out more and hopefully stop any skin irritation, leaking and seepage (another word I hate). The difference between a soft and hard convex is whether that sticky out domed part is a bit flexible or solid. Ideally you want a soft convex as it is a bit kinder to your skin and easier to have clothes over the top. So off I headed home with Margaret safely strapped in to her new soft convex bag.
After about 24 hours I had had enough. The new bag was not going well...
I scratched and scratched at it, thinking it may have been down to the heat and sweat as I had done an allergy test so did not believe it could be that! Eventually I felt the bag and all the adhesive along one side had completely come away! I couldn't believe it. I took the bag off to find red raw skin where I had clawed away at it in my sleep. I could have cried the skin was so sore and itchy. I decided then to stick the Dansac bag on (the hard convex). I stuck it on, not really believing that it was actually going to work. Unfortunately due to everything I have been through, I do not have that much faith in medicine or medical people. Every time I try new things, they never seem to work!
Over a week later and the new bag is working brilliantly. I am really happy with it.
The only downside to the bag which is working properly is that it either comes with a solid fabric cover, meaning you can't peak inside at Margaret and check that she is okay and that the bag is fitted nicely. Or it comes with no fabric, meaning you can fully see Margaret and all of the contents... Now, I am not squeamish but it is not pleasant to have to look at your own poo whenever you look down. It is especially not very nice for others to have to see, especially Matt. Some may not mind, but I can't help but feel it is a little unnecessary. For now I am wearing the clear bags, until I am confident in putting them on properly. Due to this my lovely Mum has made me some covers for the bag.
She has always been really great at sewing and that sort of thing, so whizzed me up a couple of bags in no time. I am now building quite a collection of different colours and patterns to wear, depending on my outfit or mood.
The stoma nurse also decided to skin patch test me with different adhesive rings. The adhesive rings are designed to create an extra barrier between your skin and the bag, helping to protect it and help stop any chance of leaks. The slims are like sticky play dough which your mould to fit around your stoma (Margaret).
I have been using a Pelican brand, but she though we'd test out some others, and see which is the best for me!
It turns out the brand I have been using is the one that works the best.
Aside from Margaret I have been flat out busy! I have re enrolled with Uni, ready for my third and final year! It is a scary thought and although I am very jealous of my friends graduating I am also very excited to get it done and get back to doing work! Last year was a bit of a wash out and I was barely in, It'll be great to get back to it, even if it is a bit daunting.
This past week I went back to working, properly, for the first time in about a year. I have of course done the odd bit of baby sitting and childminding but nothing long term. It was a bit nerve-wracking but I spent four days looking after a 5 and 6 year old. I had a good time, but it was truly exhausting. I worked for four 13 hour days in a row, which is a lot for anyone let alone when you haven't worked in a year and you are looking after two small, energetic children! I am of course a brilliant mix of Nanny McPhee and Mary Poppins! We've gone to the library, swimming, to the park, had a picnic, walked the dog, fossil hunting and trampolining. As well as all the standard children stuff like bath time, meal times and homework. It was a bit of a shock to the system and although it really tired me out, it was good to feel productive and like a normal person again!
The family I am working with has a load of chickens and two cockerels. I don't mind them at all and pretty much ignored them until my first afternoon last week. I was innocently stood there, watching the children bounce away on the trampoline, when one of the cockerels started pecking at my feet. I just assumed it was doing its thing and saying hello, so moved away to the other side of the trampoline. It was then that I looked around and saw the evil cockerel start to charge towards me. It let out this weird battle cry whilst running at my legs. It started kickboxing me and scratching at my legs and feet. I batted it away and ran for my life. I swear, it was evil! It chased me out of the paddock in to their main garden. My screaming and running delighted the children who yelled "Oh do that again!"... I was terririfed. This animal wanted my blood, and nearly got it! I had scratches over my fingers and down one leg, even though I had been wearing leggings. One of the children put it brilliantly when she said, "I don't think it likes you being in our garden". I think she might have been right!
I know I am supposed to take it easy and not over do it but it is very hard when life isn't waiting for you to get back on track. Sometimes you can't dwell on the fact you are tired and dealing with a lot more than most, and you have to just suck it up and get on with it. Getting back in to the real world can be really nerve wracking and scary, and working out how to deal with Margaret on top of it all is tough but I am so proud that I'm getting back in to the swing of things.
So, that has been my busy week and this weekend I didn't really slow down too much. Yesterday I celebrated my cousins 18th which was lovely. It was the first time my extended family had seen me since the op and I was a little nervous but it was so lovely to catch up and I had a really great day! Today I helped Matt's sister, Hannah, set up her new classroom in her new school. She has just got her PGCE and is teaching Yr4 as her first class! I also caught up with some friends for a while. My life really is coming back!
Well, tomorrow is Vogue.
I am very nervous and very excited. I am struggling with what to wear as well as getting a bit worried about the incredibly long days and horrible commute I am going to have to do for the next three weeks! But hopefully it will all be worth it and I will be able to put it on my CV and have an incredible experience!
I will let you all know how I get on & will leave you with this brilliant text from my Mum!
Wish me luck!