I’ve Started Up Another Blog!

Today, I decided to start another blog. I enjoy writing my blog but it can be quite hard sometimes considering it’s obviously quite topical… especially when I don’t want to talk about IBD or Ostomy. This blog is purely for things I’ve written, stuff I’ve produced etc, sort of like an online portfolio but not so professional, haha! I’m excited to add to it because I feel it will motivate me more. There is a whole bunch of stuff ready to read, such as info as to how I got into writing, where it all began with my blog, my first articles back in 2013 and insight into other things I enjoy writing about. As well as this are examples of design work I have done for other companies, and just to mix things up a little (lol I cringed myself writing that, I apologise) there’s a little section as to what I’m reading at the moment… in case any of you are into reading…?

Anyway, this was just a short post to introduce my little side blog. I hope you’re all well! x

Oh – here’s the link! http://www.hattiegladwell.wordpress.com 🙂

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How I’ve Become More Comfortable With Having An Ostomy During Sex

Sex can be awkward for a number of reasons. Whether it’s because you’re self concious, unsure of yourself or even unsure of your person, certain aspects of sex can really make you feel uneasy. Stripping down to reveal your body or even just to your underwear, in itself can be a hell of a task. What will they think of me? Will they dislike me? And when you have an ostomy bag like myself, it can be awkward for a whole lot of reasons which aren’t just revolved around body confidence. Sudden movements can cause the ostomy bag to move around a lot, making you feel embarrassed and insecure. Feeling like you should apologise for something you can’t help. Going on top can be a bit of an issue because the position causes the most movement to the bag itself, meaning it can pull a little on your stomach and be quite painful. Going on bottom can also be a little difficult, because of the pressure the other person is likely to put on you. And lying on your front? The pulling of the bag and pressure of your own body weight (all of your body weight) can cause the bag to pancake (leak) or pull again, uncomfortably. Alongside the physical discomfort, it can also be a little mentally draining. The fear of a leaky bag, the worry of the rustling sound. It might be better to just avoid sex at all.

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Or so I thought, until I found something that has taken all of my troubles away. I was given this amazing waist band. It’s nude, and sometimes I actually just wear it because it is so camouflaged amongst my skin that in the right lighting it can look like I don’t even have my bag anymore. Not that I despise my body with it, but sometimes I just miss my old, flatter tummy. The weight I’ve put on recently has done a little damage to my self esteem. The waist band holds in that unwanted flab and gives me a silhouette that makes me feel confident. It makes me feel like my old self. I can’t explain it. It keeps my body smooth and hides my bag completely, yet it doesn’t feel too tight. It’s comfortable to wear whilst also preventing leaks – a great thing to be sure of when wanting to be intimate.

Wearing this waist band for the first time during sex I felt like a different person. Sure, I’ve had sex since my surgery but this felt different. I felt at ease. I wasn’t partially focusing on my stomach for once. I wasn’t fearing what he thought when I was in my most blatantly vulnerable state. I felt down to my stomach and I felt nothing but flatness. Smoothness. There was no rustling, no unwanted movement. No pulling, no pain. There are small strip
s of silicone which help to keep the waistband in place – meaning in no way shape or form can it become an inconvenience during intimacy – or day to day activities for that matter.

The waistband itself has more than one function:

Waistband Functions

Intimacy – it 
discretely hides the surgical site or ostomy.

Changing room privacy – Feel comfortable and confident when out shopping with friends, trying on new clothes or getting changed with others. 

Swimming – Can be worn under conventional swimwear to secure everything in place.

Overnight – S
leep sound and secure with the waistband keeping everything in place.

Sports – Keeps your appliance secure and prevents it moving about during activities

It can also be combined with boxers or briefs, i.e. used as a body slip shaper.

They are £10 and available on prescription, in a variety of sizes:

Size UK Europe US Waist
S / M
8/10/12 35/38 6/8/10 28-32″
M / L
14/16/18 36/38/40 12/14/16 34-38″
L / XL
20/22/24 42/44/46 18/20/22 40-44″
XL / 2XL
26/28/30 54/56/58 24/26/28 46-50″
2XL / 3XL
32/34/36 60/62/64 30/32/34 52-56″

The waistband can be found here: http://comfizz.com/products/ostomy/level1/ladies/10waistband-neutral-silicone.html#productDescription

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I would high recommend if you are struggling at all with intimacy. It has truly helped me regain my confidence in the bedroom.

I’ve Gained Two Stone & An Ostomy Bag But My Stomach Looks Flat Because Of This! 

I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve had so much to do and sort out the past week! But I absolutely neeeeeded to tell you about what I’ve been wearing whilst I’ve been away!Some of you may remember me saying that I’d put on 2 stone since surgery. I don’t like my stomach very much at the moment, one side seems to bulge out a little more than the side where my bag sits. I don’t mind tooooo much, I mean, I’m much healthier than I was before and to be honest, I can’t be bothered to do anything about it right now! Anyway, wearing some of my clothes has been a bit of a struggle, especially my black skinny jeans I normally live in. They seem to cut into my stomach a little and make my bag pancake recently. If you don’t know what pancaking is, it’s where the tightness stops the flow within your bag. Not nice.
I’d recently reecived a support wear vest, but was yet to try it. I’d tried a vest before, not specially made of course, and it’s a wonder I was able to breathe in it! This vest was just a cheap one I’d found in a store – not ideal for somebody with an ostomy. Until Comfizz once again came to my rescue and I received one of their light support wear vests. It’s so comfy you could even sleep in it.
I’ve been wearing it all day with my jeans, and my bag hasn’t pancaked, and the thickness of the vest has stopped the jeans digging into my stomach! My stomach looks a lot flatter and the vest seems to give me a more curved figure, tightening in at the waist (comfortably so) and it actually pushes up my boobs! (I have literally none so to see these little things on my chest without having to use is a microscope is an added bonus.)
I can wear it under absolutely anything and it literally goes unnoticed. It helps me to stop feeling conscious of having a bloated bag, or worrying about how my belly looks when I’m sitting down!

The vest is available in a variety of colours. I’m wearing a S/M in pink.

These are also offered on prescription too, so with the confirmation from your doctor, you could get one for free!

To give you a little extra detail, here are the main benefits of this vest:

Gives a smoother body shape
Relieves hernia symptoms – if you have one!

Can be worn overnight, to stop you worrying about a leak!

YOU CAN ACTUALLY BREATHE IN IT because the fabric is specially made breathable fabric which keeps skin cool and dry

It improves bag adherence, which reduces leaks

For sports they give extra support, security and confidence during activities

Virtually seamless with no labels, which is fab because where the vest is tighter than normal clothing, you’re not getting anything rubbing on your skin nor itching.

The vest is extremely flexible, perfect for activities such as gymnastics or yoga

The gentle compression aides release of gas, whilst also reducing a bloated bag.

This is the link to the best I’m wearing: http://www.comfizz.com/products/ostomy/level1/ladies/ladies-vest-white.html

Let me know what you thought if you try one! Would love to see some pics!

The Ostomy Instagram Tag & Body Building With An Ostomy

I was looking on Instagram today for inspiration to write. It seems I’ve written about so many different topics and I got a little bit of writers block! Sometimes it’s hard to keep writing this blog; especially if, say, you haven’t been too busy the past week! 

Last week however, I headed down to Milton Keynes and met with somebody from Crohn’s & Colitis UK, to interview me about the project I am currently working on – which will be revealed somewhen in September! I’m super excited for everyone to see what we’ve been working on these past couple of months, but don’t want to ruin the surprise! I will however just say, we were working with the man who worked within the animation of Beauty and the Beast’s Lumiere. (I fan girled a little) 

Anyway. As I was saying I was searching on Instagram today, and for the first time typed the word ostomy into the search bar. Before I know it, thousands of photo posted under the tag “ostomy” appeared on my phone screen. I was seriously amazed at how open other people were being. So many people sharing their journeys, so many people I felt I could relate to. And, for those of you that use Instagram, I thought I’d just mention a user I feel would be helpful to others in a similar situation to me. This person is truly inspiring, and will continue to amaze me I’m sure as I follow their journey through imagery. 

 @zoeywright10 is a female body builder with an ileostomy. She takes every ounce of stength she has and puts it towards a passion. She looks absolutely incredible and it just goes to show a chronic illness need not hold you back. 

Please do continue to search the tag also, as you never know who you may find to help keep your mind strong! And feel free to follow my own account also, @hattiegladwell (sneaky bit of promotion there)

Anyway, I hope everyone’s well. I’m suffering with my UC at the moment – my joints are achey and my fatigue is awful! But I have invested in some zinc, iron & B12 supplements so I’m hoping to get it all under wraps soon. :-). Anyone else tried anything to beat fatigue?  



“Stop blocking the toilet with your baby wipes!” – now I’ve found flushable stoma bag wipes instead!

I recently wrote about staying at a friends house when you have an ileostomy bag, in which I mentioned about my use of baby wipes and worry about blocking a toilet. I’d had a few comments where people had suggested a variety of ways of lessening my use of baby wipes, many of them suggesting I just throw them away into a black nappy sack when finished with them. Although I was grateful for the suggestions, the idea of cleaning myself up with baby wipes and leaving the remains in nappy sacks wasn’t too appealing to me. Especially if there wasn’t a bin in the bathroom – carrying around a small bag full of poo doesn’t sound to fun to me!

Anyway, after doing my abseil in order to raise money and awareness for Bowel Cancer UK, I had a few drinks with an amazing women from my sponsor, SecuriCare Medical. She told me about some flushable, disposable skin barrier wipes I can use when in need of emptying my bag. Over the next couple of days she sent me a couple of packets through, and I can honestly say they have been a huge life saver! They come in packs of 30, in cute little boxes, with the same packaging as the LBF Skin Barrier Wipes – I wrote about these when I suffered with sore skin around my stoma. If any of you are familiar with the skin barrier wipes, and enjoy them, I am 100% confident you’ll love these too.

They are available on presciption too – even better for me, since I was spending £7 or £8 a week just on baby wipes!

They look small by the packet but they open up by unfolding them four times, and are thick enough to double over should you want to extend their use as much as possible! I was sent two boxes – which amounts to 60 wipes – last week, and I still have a full packet left!

I must admit I am a little OCD about cleanliness, and I did tend to overuse my babywipes in order to make the opening of my bag so shiny you could use it as a mirror (which I don’t do… of course). But with these wipes I don’t need to use one after the other after the other.. two wipes seems to be enough for me each time! Do remember though that these wipes aren’t just for cleaning – first and foremost they have the benefit of protecting the skin around your stoma by creating a thin barrier.

I’d definitely recommend getting yourself a packet if you don’t like using the bag technique or are sick of people telling you you’ll block the toilet. I no longer have to lug a big bag around with me to contain my full packet of baby wipes, I can simply slip a few of the wipes into a pocket of my clutch bag! – Added bonus!

To order the product, just go to this link! http://www.clinimed.co.uk/stoma-care/products/stoma-skin-care-and-accessories/Hydrosolve.aspx

Happy flushing!

What It Is Like To Have Ulcerative Colitis

It wasn’t until after I’d had surgery that I was informed I’d been suffering with ulcerative colitis. I say suffering, but of course I’d been living without realising what was going on inside my body; and that’s why I think this is an important thing to talk about. The fact I didn’t know and ended up so severely, makes me wonder how many other people in the world are unknowingly living with IBD.

Of course I knew something was up, I was living on a daily dose of laxatives, getting up two hours earlier than necessary, drinking a lot of coffee and smoking just in the hopes of going to the toilet. These methods worked on an irregular basis, so to ensure I could go to the toilet at least every other day, I had an extremely high fibre diet. For some reason most people associate IBD with diarrhea, but I was the complete opposite, dealing with intense constipation constantly. Alongside this, I had lost a lot of weight. Growing up a chubby kid, and settling down to a size 10 around the age 17, I rapidly went down to a size 6. Of course I was chuffed with this, I’d always struggled with my body image and to finally be so skinny I thought I’d acheived something great.

When I was 16 I tried the pill, but the doctors soon took me off of it as it was messing with my hormones. I was left the choice of two non hormonal pills, which either made me gain weight or just bat shit crazy. In the end, when I was 18, I tried the depo injection. Again, I was an emotional mess on it, so I came off of it. The 9 months that followed the injection left me with irregular bleeding. My stomach would cramp like crazy and I would thank God when I wasn’t on my period for a day. I’d been in and out of the doctors for this for quite some time. Until one day, at work, I noticed I had a vast amount of bleeding down the back of my leg. It had come from my rectum. I had been suffering with cramps that day, and went to the doctors. I told the doctor what had happened, but he rolled his eyes at me and told me it was just my irregular periods. I insisted that it wasn’t, and explained I had checked where the bleeding had come from. Ignoring what I had said, he sent me in for a cervical scan at the hospital. Of course, my scan showed the all clear, and my questions were left unanswered.

They had ignored my weight loss due to the fact I had suffered with bulimia in the past, and tried to convince me the bleeding and cramps were due to my depo injection. They continued to give me laxatives for my constipation, and I was left feeling like a hypochondriac.

Certain things were a struggle, feeling confident enough to go out; knowing I was constantly bloated. Sitting at my desk at work cramping over in pain. Not being able to eat foods I enjoyed because I couldn’t risk the pain it would cause. And of course feeling like nobody believed something was wrong. Even before my emergency surgery, I had been to A&E 3 times. Each time they informed me I just had a stomach bug, it was just my periods, I was just overreacting…

So, to tell you the truth, I don’t know what it’s like to have ulcerative colitis. Because I was always given a different explanation as to what my symptoms showed. Had it been diagnosed earlier, there is a strong chance it could have been medicated and I wouldn’t have had to undergo surgery. I urge anybody experiencing symptoms they feel are strange, to fight for an answer. We as humans know our own bodies, and we know when something just isn’t right. It’s scary how we can live whilst our bodies are silently failing us. And how close we can come to death. I wish I could tell you what it was like to have ulcerative colitis, that I’d had an answer. But I hope the symptoms I’ve talked about in this post can help anybody else struggling in a similar situation.

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