10 Things I Thought I’d Know By The Time I Was 20

I think 20 is that age that really makes you realise you’re an adult. 18, sure, you’re legal, you can go out, clubbing, drinking… in the UK anyway. But at 18, you’re still excused for, like “oh, she’s only 18, she doesn’t know any better!” whereas at 20, it’s sort of more frowned upon when you do something that perhaps you should’ve grown out of… or known better. But really, I don’t think we ever know better. We sort of just.. adapt. Pretend, even. We create this perception of adulthood through movies and education. But half the time I’m pretty sure I’m questioning what other people my age are doing, and trying to understand it, let alone actually doing it. And here’s a few things that I still can’t get my head around, that I really assumed I would’ve learned by the time I turned 20…

By the time I was 20, I thought I’d know how to handle money. I grew up spending my pocket money the day I received it, never thinking to save up to get something really cool, often spending it on sweets. Now, as I receive each monthly pay cheque, I seem to somehow forget about the rent that’s due two weeks after, and accidentally my wardrobe gets more and more crowded.

I thought I’d know how to make friends. I was never great at meeting new people, I was never completely shy, but I was just a little socially awkward. I assumed I’d get over that 10 years later. But nope. Here I am, alone at my computer.

I thought I’d know how to pay bills. I live on my own now, with my partner, but I STILL do not understand bills. Or rent. Or invoices. Or anything like that. And I blame it on my education. Like WHY did they think it was relevant to drill the Pythagoras theorem into our heads, but avoid teaching us HOW TO ACTUALLY RENT A PLACE?!

By the time I was 20 I thought I’d have it all figured out. I thought I’d know what I want to do. But nope, here I am, sitting with my two cats wondering where I want to be in another 10 years time.

I thought I’d know how to be confident. How to stop myself picking out flaws and actually accept myself. But it’s harder than you think to do that. I still look in the mirror daily and frown at certain things that I’m just too lazy to change about myself.

I thought I’d be a little more independent. That I’d be able to stand on my own two feet with nobody else’s help. I thought frequent calls to my parents for help with money, food and laundry would be pretty much non existent. I mean, sometimes they are. For two days at least.

I thought I’d know better by the time I was 20. That I’d learn to go with my head instead of my heart. But countless wrong decisions that at one point I’ve felt so deeply passionate about have left my crying under my duvet with a tub of ben and Jerrys watching Bridget Jones over and over.

In fact, I thought I’d know MORE. But it’s okay because we have google. I mean where else are you going to go when you want to know how many calories are in the large pizza you just comfort ate to take away your troubles.

I thought I’d know how to cook. I’d never learnt before I moved out, and I just assumed it kind of just came to you when you decided to flee from your parents nest. But apparently not. I swear I’d never eaten so many microwave meals and beans on toast than I did the first few months of living independently.

I thought I’d still know the people I hung out with 24/7 in school. But these people have since become distant strangers. I think that’s the hard part of growing up. The people you felt you knew so well suddenly aren’t there anymore, but you just have to deal with that and move on.

Approaching adulthood isn’t all bad though. You begin to appreciate how much your parents put up with, and kick yourself for ever leaving your room so dirty. You can stay up all night without your mum knocking on your door reminding you you’ve got an early start in the morning. And if you don’t feel like doing the dishes, that’s no pressure. There’s also the pros of having an ID. I love being asked for ID when buying a bottle of wine (that’s something I never thought I’d drink too!) – with the shopkeeper looking me up and down, trying to determine whether I’m over 18 – only for me to hold my awful mug shot licence up against my smug little face. It’s the little things.


10 Things NOT To Say To Someone With Crohn’s or Colitis

You may know that I’m on a few groups where people with IBD or ostomy can look for support. It’s helpful for a number of reasons, and some of the stuff posted can give you a great laugh. I’ve seen quite a few posts where other ‘sufferers’ have posted about the most ridiculous comments that have been made to them that day. Some can be quite innocent, generally people trying to help, but also, some leave you questioning…. why?

1. Isn’t it just like a sickness bug?

If you count a sickness bug as an incurable life time of medication, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bad joints etc etc… then yes! It so IS a sickness bug! Duh!

2. You’ve really put on some weight..

Well it was either get more sick or suck it up on steroids. I took the more painless option, obviously.

3. My sisters boyfriends cousin’s friend has that, they’re cured now.
That’s great, she must feel amazing to be the first person in the world to be cured of IBD. I

4. Have you tried this new product? It has amazing results and cures IBD.

Wow, why didn’t the doctors think of this shop bought product instead of making us have intense surgeries?! I bet they feel so stupid now. There is no cure. Even after an ostomy, you are still prone to disease and symptoms.

5. “I have IBS though, it’s not that bad.”

Please do some research and rethink what you just said: http://www.webmd.com/ibs/ibd-versus-ibs.

https://i0.wp.com/healthyhomeopathy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/woman-on-toilet.jpg6. I’m so jealous, you can eat what you want and stay skinny.

Yeah, I love spending most of the day on the toilet not being able to leave my bathroom. My frequent trips to the hospital. My emergency surgeries. It’s all so worth it to stay skinny. I’m so lucky.

7. You shouldn’t be using the disabled toilets.

Just because you can’t see a “disability”, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

8. You don’t look sick.

And you didn’t look ignorant, I guess we both learned something new

9. “This may have caused it…”

We have enough (literal) shit going on without being made to feel guilty about it. There is no studies that suggest anything can cause IBD. Again, please do your research before attempting to be a doctor.

10. But you haven’t done anything… why are you so tired?!

Fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms of IBD. It’s not just being “tired”.

The Ins & Outs Of My Ileostomy Reversal & Setting A Date For The Surgery

Tomorrow i’m meeting with my surgeon to hopefully set a date for my reversal surgery. I’m not exactly sure how soon they’re looking at doing it, or when I feel is going to be a good time to do so either, so I’m hoping they can be quite flexible, so that I don’t have to rush into doing anything. There’s a lot of things that need to be talked through (which I will write about either tomorrow or Saturday) and a lot of things I need to decide on.

As I don’t think I’ve properly written about it before, I thought I’d just tell you a little bit about what the reversal surgery entails. Apparently it is a much more minor operation as opposed to ileostomy surgery, but still entails a hospital stay of up to 10 days. I’m having a straight forward rejoin. What this means, is they will take the end of my intestine, (my stoma) and place it back into my body. They managed to keep the whole of my rectum – a lot of the time rectums can also be diseased and inflamed and have to be removed with UC – and so they are literally going to reconnect me, small intestine to rectum. Of course my digestive system will still be different to a “normal” functioning system, as I have no large intestine. The large intestine is what solidifys your stool. I will probably use the bathroom more often than others, they mentioned 2-3 times a day. Which to be honest I don’t actually think is that bad – my boyfriend goes more than that!!! (Sorry Angelo)

They’ll wait to check my digestive system is fully functioning again before releasing me, and hopefully that will be the end of my illness… Although, there is a 70% chance of me getting ill again. What I didn’t know, and I feel a bit silly for not knowing, is that UC isn’t cured by ileostomy surgery. You still get all the symptoms such as fatigue, achey joints, sore skin, irritated eyes etc, as well as my rectum becoming diseased. Should my rectum become diseased, I will be back to the hospital for a more major J Pouch surgery. What they do in this case is remove the rectum, and form a pouch out of the end of your small intestine in the shape of a ‘J’. This then works as a rectum. If some of you are unsure of what your rectum does, it is what gives you control over your stool. It stores your stool and helps you keep it in when you feel like you need to do. So yeah, it’s pretty vital that you have one if you want to use the toilet like everyone else.

Anyway, I hope this explains a little if you were unsure as to what to make of my previous blog posts. I’m sure lots of you know already, anyway.

I’ll let you know how I get on tomorrow, anyhow!

My First ‘Festival’ Experience With An Ileostomy Bag

I didn’t expect to be writing a blog about a festival, as I’ve been to a few in the past and never had a bad word to say. I didn’t actually think I’d have anything at all to comment on in regards to the day. I didn’t expect to encounter any issues. But I was so, so wrong.

One of my best friends had kindly bought me a ticket for Mutiny Festival in Chichester, which was so lovely of her. She really wanted to cheer me up and help me forget about everything that’s been going on recently. I really appreciated the gesture and went along with her to the festival yesterday. I’d worn a high neck vest and dungarees and some boots, something I knew would hide my bag should it blow up a little and something I was comfortable in.

We’d arrived at the venue and whilst waiting for others to join us, went to the pub. By the time we’d gotten back to line up, the queue was massive. So badly organised too, even the security guards and policemen commented on how poorly arranged it was. It was baking hot and we were squashed up in a forever expanding queue for two hours. It seems people had completely forgotten their self awareness and respect for others as they pushed in from the sides, groups at a time fighting for the front against those who had been standing patiently for hours. Not fun when you’re trying to protect your stomach from being elbowed by those who are too impatient to line up properly.

When we’d finally got in, I was in desperate need of the toilet. The first toilet we approached had already been completely flooded and shut off. I waited and went and watched Snoop Dogg with my friends, (the only reason we’d really wanted to go) and then went to look for some public toilets afterwards. The first set of toilets were a mess. There were no cleaners around for the whole day, and so muddy tissues (I assumed it was mud anyway – but after the amount I saw yesterday, I really can’t be sure) flooded the floor, preventing me getting my stuff out to help sort my ostomy bag out. No toilet roll was supplied once they had run out, and so it seemed I’d taken up a freelance job of handing out my baby wipes to those in need.

It was getting to the point where I couldn’t comfortably join in with everyone else because my ostomy bag was the size of a beach ball. My friend and I managed to hunt down what seemed to be the only staff of the event to ask for the use of their toilet. Considering it was taking place at Fontwell Racecourse, we’d assumed there would be inside toilets. I didn’t explain why I needed to use them, just emphasized by desperation. I didn’t feel I needed to explain, and to be quite honest didn’t want to embarrass myself trying to justify my situation. But after they denied the use of a toilet, and I’d walked away, my friend went and explained why I needed to use them so badly. They insisted there weren’t any other toilets than the ones I’d already seen, (hard to believe, what were the “VIP” using?) but a woman kindly took me over to the ONE disabled toilet across the whole festival. I don’t normally use disabled toilets as the others are normally clean enough to use, but this time I had no choice. She took me over but it was already full of others who didn’t want to use the other toilets either. The woman explained I had a medical condition to the girl at the front of the line – who didn’t take the information too kindly – and she reluctantly let me in front of her. Once in these toilets, I noticed the toilet was also nearly full to the brim with toilet roll and used tampons. I nearly vomited it was so disgusting. So instead of emptying the bag like I’d normally do, I had to take all my equipment out onto the baby changing area and completely start from the beginning with a new bag. Of course this took time. And it seemed others had noticed that too, as people vastly began shouting and banging at the door, actually threatening to knock the door down – knowing that I did actually have a medical condition, unlike them. It was absolutely disgusting behaviour. I had to leave the toilet as soon as possible, still doing up my dungarees as I left, but before I knew it, the girl behind me had swung the toilet door into my back. No body had let me pass to get out of the toilet entrance, so I’d had to climb under the barriers to get out. I was wedged in between the door and the barrier, shouting at her to stop, but the door was pushed harder into my back. My friend helped me out but I completely flipped at the girl. Her behaviour was absolutely disgusting, I couldn’t believe it.

I desperately needed a drink after that and chilled out with my friend for the rest of the day, watching the acts. But the incident had set off the day on a sour note.

By the start of the evening, two public toilet buildings had been shut off and all that was left for hundreds of people were a few portaloos.

You may be thinking to yourself “it’s just toilets”. But it’s not. When you have to take time out of what’s meant to be an enjoyable experience to change an ostomy bag that shouldn’t have needed to be because the cleanliness was so poor, alongside a group of people shouting at you for withholding their queuing time with it, it sort of makes you feel like you shouldn’t be there. And perhaps I shouldn’t have, but with the amount of live events I’d been to in the past, I really didn’t anticipate any troubles.

I’d never been to anything like this. I watched two underage people overdose on drugs before being taken away by paramedics just two hours into the event. In the heart of Chichester. Seriously? I later found out that as the queues had gotten bigger, they’d stopped checking ID to hurry up the queue. Was this worth it?Rubbish and waste suffocated every aspect of visible ground and in 12 hours not one litter picker had been in sight, and no waste bins were available. Queueing for drinks took anywhere between an hour and a half to two hours. Girls who can’t have been over 16 were begging people for pills. Had it been a midnight rave or worldwide festival, perhaps this was a little more normal, but for a small country town it was just down right embarrassing.

I’d never want to be that person that moans about a festival, I love live music, bands, the atmosphere… The acts were great, but it was just overshadowed by the lack of respect people had for the place, and other people. So many people left early, complaining about the state of the site, the respect of some festival goers and the unhelpfulness of the staff. I joined these people and went off the pub. We ended up having a 2 course meal instead. That was no festival, it was literally just an example of everything we should be aiming to repress.

I’d definitely recommend anybody with a medical condition that forces you to need the use of cleanliness or disabled toilets not to go, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. The amount of people bigging it up made it sound like Reading, but I can assure you, if Reading was anything like this, it would’ve been shut down a loooong time ago.

Or Mutiny Festival perhaps should’ve taken up the offer of help from The Fontwell Racecourse staff. I’d hate to see the look on their faces when they come back to work on Monday morning.1383782_1660777597474277_6520884371984263357_n

I’m sure many people had a great time, and of course, I had a great time spending time with my friends. But, having overheard a nearby conversation whilst in the pub, a girl summed it up right – “would they act like that at home? No. So why in the hell would you act like that in public?”

I think perhaps if they’re aiming to pull this off next year, after failing miserably this year…. They should probably have a rethink. Oh, and on the left you’ll see a picture of me smiling. And yes, it was taken before we entered the festival.

“There’s A Strong Chance You’ll Need IVF To Conceive” – The Ins & Outs Of My Reversal

You may have seen my recent blog post regarding my decision on reversal surgery; and if so, you’ll know that the subject of IVF was approached.

I was in a weird place when I wrote that post, and I think it created some confusion as to what was actually said. There were a lot of people who commented telling me about their story, their miracles and how IVF is not always a last resort.

So, just to go into a little bit of detail now that I’m coming to terms with things and feel a little stronger about what’s going to happen…

Basically, there’s a lot of theory as to what could potentially happen after my surgery. I am going to be having a straight rejoin, as they managed to leave the whole of my rectum when I had surgery for an ileostomy. So what they will do, is reconnect my small bowel to my rectum. I will be able to go to the toilet “normally” again and they said the chances are I will only go around 2-3 times a day, as opposed to the 7-8 times I empty my bag. That was fab news, as I had assumed it would be a similar situation, just without a stoma.

What I had also been told is that there is no cure for colitis. Again, I assumed that having my colon out meant the colitis had cleared. But I will always be prone to the symptoms, and there is a chance it could become active in my rectum again. I will still have symptoms such as fatigue and achey joints also, but there will not be a need for any emergency surgery. It won’t get to the point where I’m fighting for my life again.

There is a 70% chance that the colitis will flare badly again and I will become ill, and if this does happen, I will be moved in for J-Pouch surgery. This is where they take out your rectum, and create a pouch out of the end of your small intestine, which is pretty much a replacement rectum. You can then continue to go to the toilet normally.

Of course there is many risks in the surgery, and I could eventually end up with another stoma. But I am prepared for that, of course.

2dscanIn regards to IVF, I have been told there is adhesion on my bowel. This lessens the chances of getting pregnant, as it makes it more difficult to conceive naturally. I can however carry a baby and give birth. Of course, they give you the worst case scenario and by law need to inform you of all potential risks.

By having the next surgery, I will be increasing the amount of adhesion on my bowel, and there for the chances of conceiving naturally lessen again. If I do become ill again, and therefore need a J-Pouch, I’ve been told the chances are I will have trouble conceiving naturally and will definitely need IVF.

Of course, I completely appreciate that lots of people have conceived naturally, and in no way am I saying it was impossible. At first, I was scared it would be impossible for me, but after hearing all your wonderful stories, many of you have really given me the hope and support I needed. So I just want to thank you for everyone who has taken the time to send me over their stories, and any other positive information that has been sent my way.

Right now I think I’ve just got to focus on what’s right for me. I fear I’m really going to miss having a stoma, but there’s no way I can go through life thinking “what if”. For me, I’m just really excited to not have to deal with my burnt and sore skin! I’m extremely grateful though that my skin problems are the only problems I have had with my stoma, as it will leave me going into my reversal with nothing but appreciation for the life it has given me. And if I need one again, then this time round, I will be more than ready for it!

On another note, I am currently looking for contributors for the blog, this time those who have had or are facing stoma surgery, or reversal surgery. I’d love to read and post your stories for others to see. So if you have got any stories you’d like shared, please email me at hattie.gladwell@morethanyourbag.com.


I’ve Finally Made A Decision On Reversal Surgery…

I can’t quite believe it’s been six months since my surgery. Having only expected to have a stoma for four months, these two extra months have pretty much gone by unnoticebale. I can’t say they’ve been easy though.. I think I’ve managed well, and I definitely adapted quickly. I’ve learned how to accept my body, I’ve accepted my change in weight and for once been grateful to my change in appearrance.

After having an emergency surgery for a stoma, I thought my world had ended. I was such an insecure person, I was convinced I’d want to hide away forever. But I can’t have dealt with it more differently. I got over my fear of judgement and showed myself off for the world to see. I got some negative, but mainly a postive response overrall and accepted that nobody would ever share the same opinion. But suddenly, the opinion of the outside world didn’t matter to me. Oddly enough, I became the person I’d always feared of acknowledging. I became confident.

Isn’t that funny? How I’d spent my whole life worrying about my image. Worrying about my weight; for it to eventually take the mentally deemed unacceptable to face the ultimate acception. An acception that has allowed me to live a normal life.

My loved ones feared for my mental health in the beginning, concerned as to how I’d deal with such a change to my body. I definitely surprised them when I started this blog, and opened up to what became a wide audience. In fact, I surprised myself. What started out to be an open recovery diary eventually became an insight to my life. A passion to help others and to raise awareness. It gave me meaning. It allowed me to do what I love most for a living – writing. It’s let me meet and work with some truly amazing and inspiring people. I am so grateful for all the support I have received over the last 6 months.

But for me, I feel I’m ready to continue with my journey, by taking a slightly different path. I have decided to have a reversal.

I am filled with many different emotions as I write this, but after a lot of thought, I feel I am ready to say goodbye to my stoma. It has been an experience I’ll never forget. One that honestly, I’d never have wanted but one that I’ll always be grateful for. It saved my life and showed me a different side to living. It changed me as a person. I am more truthful to myself and others around me and I feel I have learnt to be a better person. I have subsided any judgement and experienced the passion of helping others.

Lately though, I feel my mental health has deteriorated a little. As summer has approached, my ostomy bag has become uncomfortable and I have been dealing with a lot of leaks and burnt skin. I have become agitated from lack of sleep from the emptying of the bag and to be quite honest with you, I miss not having to wear support pants all the time, to fit into the clothes I didn’t want to throw away. I cry a lot when changing the bag because I am an impatient person, and my stoma is extremely active, meaning I’m getting through a lot of bags a day. There’s a number of reasons for me opting for reversal, but I can honestly tell you now that my appearrance is on the bottom of this list. Of course, I miss my old scar free stomach, but lets face it, my scars are going to sit on my abdomen for the rest of my life, and I shall forever be proud of them.

It’s important to remember that stomas are lifesaving. And I do not regret a single ounch of what my stoma has given me. It taught me everything I know now. It taught me what’s important. Love, family and happiness. It’s really not about making a lot of money and being the best at your job – I can tell you that for a fact. As I was rushed into theatre for emergency surgery, the only thing on my mind was to make sure I told every person in that room I loved them, in case I didn’t make it. I wasn’t thinking about anything else but love. And now, I will do everything I can to make sure everyone important to me knows that they are loved.

My reversal could go one of two ways. It could be great and I could live a long, comfortable life. I could get sick again and end up having a more major surgery. I could have issues conceiving naturally, but that may be a possibility with my stoma also. But, all of these ‘coulds’ are not a definite. And I can’t live life being scared of “what if”. I need to live with an open mind and take risks.

I will be continuing with my blog, and updating you as I approach reversal surgery. I am awaiting another date with my surgeon to agree on a date for the reversal, and will let you know how I am as time goes on.

I hope to keep writing over the next coming weeks, to document my last couple of months with my stoma. I will continue to work with charities and connecting with those going through a similar situation. I hope to have helped even just a few people over the last 6 months, and to continue helping as I continue on my journey. I think it’s important I keep writing, to relieve myself of unwanted stress and to keep myself sane. I want to document my reversal and my life afterwards. I hope to compare, and be some sort of indication to others struggling to make a choice between ostomy and reversal.

I still have some really exciting projects and charity events coming up, and will be selecting a date that allows me to complete what I see as an experience of a life time.

Thank you for all your kind words, support and lovely messages. Thank you for reading into my life and taking an interest in me. And most importantly, thank you for helping me love myself. I hope you’ll stick by me through the words of my next surgery experience. x


I Met My Surgeon Today To Make A Decision On Reversal Surgery… And My Heart Feels Broken

I’m writing this blog post without the intention of posting it. I’m not sure if I’m ready to, but hopefully by the end of this post I’ll feel a little bit better about my situation. I was scared to write today, for the pure fact that I am extremely emotional, and after just a couple of hours sleep last night – very tired.

As most of you will already know, I met with my surgeon today, to discuss reversal surgery. I was extremely nervous and couldn’t fall asleep last night until around 5am, and ended up getting up at 7am to go for my consultation.

I was nervous because I assumed I’d be making my decision today, on whether to go ahead with further surgery or stick with my stoma until I knew exactly what I wanted to do. But it turns out, today was a huge information overload. Information that truly broke my heart.

And as I sit here, trembling, trying to keep the tears back, I feel angry, and lonely, and hurt. I was really hoping for some good news today. All I wanted to hear was that I was healthy. I was pretty sure I was going to go ahead with my reversal, to avoid the “what ifs?” but I’m more scared now than ever before.

I know it may seem like I’m dragging this piece out but I can’t bring myself to actually type out what I was told today. But I’m going to try my best. I’m sorry if it doesn’t all make sense but I’m struggling to get my head around it all. And to those of you reading this, with all due respect, please, PLEASE don’t send me messages telling me your “sisters friend was told this and she is fine” or that “other people have it worse”. Just please. I know that I am not the most unfortunate person in the world, and perhaps somebody you know has been through a similar situation. But this situation is unique from my surgeon to me, and is information for my body only, not a generalisation on what could have been. I appreciate every lovely comment I get, but I’m struggling to get my head around all of this, and really don’t need other thoughts and conclusions running through my mind.


Today, I nervously entered my surgeons office, getting ready to hear about plans for a reversal. Instead, he drew a couple of diagrams and gave me examples of two reversal surgeries. The preferred surgery is where I am just joined up from small bowel to rectum, compared to the more complicated J pouch surgery. He said for my body, this would be safest and easiest.



It turns out I may still have active colitis in my rectum, and with this surgery, there is a 70% chance I will flare and become sick again. In which case, they will then have to remove all of my rectum and perform another surgery on me.

And, I mean, I can deal with that. I’m scared, but I can deal. I need to prepare myself to become sick again and expect any occurring risks.

What I couldn’t deal with, and what I wasn’t expecting… is this…

After explaining the complications and the health risks. The surgeon then informed me of something else. And I can’t help but scrunch my face up in anger and devastation as I tell you, that today, as a girl who has only just turned 20, who has undergone emergency surgery for an ileostomy bag after being misdiagnosed for so long, has now been told that most likely, my only chances of getting pregnant will be through IVF.

The adhesion’s in my abdomen will make it too difficult for me to conceive naturally, now.

I understand people have IVF and it is a common procedure. But it was one thing I just wasn’t prepared for. And I don’t know how to deal with this because I never thought I’d have to. It really hurts. It hurts so much to be told that I won’t be able to conceive naturally. I’m sorry if it sounds selfish to anyone, but I can’t get my head around it. I’m literally sobbing, I just feel completely lost. I just wanted some good news. I don’t understand why I can’t just have some good news?

Of course I am grateful that as far as I know I can have children. I don’t want to sound selfish or ungrateful to those that aren’t able to. But for me, this news was hard. I hadn’t gone there with the intentions of this being a part of the conversation. For me, I feel like I haven’t been given the chance. A chance that one day I would’ve liked to have taken, a chance to try for a baby… naturally. I feel like I’ve had a part of my womanhood taken away. Maybe these feelings will change. And once again I really don’t want to cause any offense. But, it just feels like, every silver lining has a consequence. I can be healthy with my ileostomy bag, but I have to deal with leaks, burnt skin, soreness, swelling, and pain caused by clothing I don’t want to throw away. I can have a reversal, but that means a huge chance of ulcerative colitis coming back, of which will result in a more major surgery. And ultimately, this experience will leave me unable conceive without IVF.

I feel scared and I feel like I can’t trust anything anymore. I’m scared I’m never going to get over being ill, or in pain. I worry I’ll never feel “whole” again.

Will somebody please just pray that I will eventually come through this?


I don’t feel better yet, not from writing this anyway. But at least it’s out in the open now, instead of all bottled up. I’m just hoping time will heal.

My video: What Is Beauty?

I Have Some Really Exciting News For My Blog!!!

If you haven’t already guessed by the new banner on my blog, I’m so excited to tell you that I have a new sponsor! Alongside my wonderful sponsors SecuriCare and ClinMed, Comfizz are now in full support of my little blog!

I’m so so overjoyed to have another sponsor, especially one which offers so much to girls like me! I feel a lot of you reading will be over the moon to find Comfizz (if you haven’t already) as they have some absolutely amazing products for such little money!

Comfizz produce all sorts of things from underwear to waistband products for both men and women. So if you’re having trouble with support pants, what with them often flattening you in awful places, you should definitely have a look. I’m not just talking boring support pants either. I’ve struggled finding underwear I’ve felt confident wearing, until now, where I have actually seen what looks to be the most flattering, support thong!

Over the next few months I will be reviewing their products, both through writing and video, to give you an insight as to what they’re like. I will offer as much advice as much as I can, so feel free to send me a message if you feel you need to ask something before ordering!

I’ve noticed on a lot of other ostomy sites that their prices are pretty high. I was so shocked to see that some lovely support underwear were just £6! Not only this, but they also offer post surgery wear, and clothing for children, teens and adults – at all seriously good prices. I sometimes wore support pants before my surgery, because I was a little self concious of my body, so this site is recommended to everyone, not just those with ostomy! And, I mean it’s worth a look anyway, as you never know what you’ll find!

A little bit about them:

Comfizz was established in 1998 as a fashion garment producer moving into specialist sportswear in 2002. They were providing high performance garments which were breathable and fit like a second skin to give ultra comfort and total freedom of movement for athletes.Then in 2004 when a family member had stoma surgery, they worked together to use their expertise and access to performance fabrics to produce the most comfortable, functional support wear.

Thanks to Comfizz origins in clothing and high performance garments they are in a very strong position to provide the best most innovative medical support wear. Understanding athletes needs as well as patients, they’ve been able to combine all of their experience into the product range so that you receive the elite benefits that athletes expect.

Here is just one of their £6 garments available, in a variety of colours:

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 21.03.54

So, please go and take a look over on their site, and don’t hesitate to ask either of us any questions, I would love to answer any you may have!


I’m Getting Nervous About Having To Make A Huge Decision…

On Friday I’m off to see my surgeon to talk about reversal surgery. I think Friday is the day where I’ll be needing to give him a decision as to what I want to do, seeing as my last appointment ended up with me walking away completley clueless as to what I want to do. I have a pretty good idea as to how I want it to go, but don’t want to write my hopes out just yet, just in case the appointment goes in the other direction. But I’m hoping for the best.. because to be honest I am quite bored of things going wrong now! (Really hoping I haven’t jinxed it!)

There’s still a lot of pros and cons to weigh out in my head, but hopefully the surgeon can give me a better idea… Google tends to make things seem a little bit more dramatic.

I need to remember though that all round, my health is what is most important. And I’m slightly worried I haven’t been putting my health first since my operation. There’s been a lot of stress and anxiety and there’s been times when I’ve thought “f*** it! I just need to have a good time!” and ignored the healthier option. I’ve also gained a couple of stone since my surgery, and I’m hoping that’s a good thing, and not an excessive problem. But only time can tell and I’ll let you all know how I get on on Friday. I just don’t want to speak to soon is all, for my mind to change – or for it to be changed for me.

Anyway, yesterday was my 20th birthday and it was such a great day. Thank you to everyone who wrote to wish me a happy birthday! I went out for dinner with my family, partner and family friends, before meeting some friends for drinks. I received such a wonderful present from my parents – tickets to the west end to see the new burlesque musical ‘Gypsy’ (i’m a little bit of a musical fanatic). And my boyfriend bought me a coffee machine, AND I AM SO EXCITED TO USE IT EVERY DAY AND PRETEND I AM A COOL SOPHISTICATED DRINKING MY POSH COFFEE WITH MY 2 CATS. (I can’t use it properly yet but it is a very adult present I must admit).

I loved this picture of me, my mumma and my lovely boyfriend Angelo!

I was really grateful to everyone who made an effort to make my day a special one yesterday, it was so lovely to be surrounded by people who mean the most to me. Even if I was sat there hating the fact I’ve entered into another decade. I actually cried 10 minutes before midnight too, telling Angelo “I DON’T WANT TO BE AN ADULT, I’M NOT READY!!!!”

11063720_1024868657570270_1529077837972177086_nThis is my wonderful little sister by the way, isn’t she gorgeous?!

But… I don’t think there ever is a ready point, is there? I’m becoming more and more certain that I’m always going to laugh at things I found funny at the age of 5…..

I think the biggest testament of adulthood is overcoming fears… such as heights…. which is why I’m going to be abseiling off of the tallest sculpture in London, in August, not only to scare myself silly but to raise money alongside my wonderful sponsors SecuriCare Medical & CliniMed for Bowel Cancer UK (please sponsor me!!!!).

Here is the sponsor link! https://www.justgiving.com/CliniMed-SecuriCare/

which is why I’m going to be abseiling off of the tallest sculpture in London, in August, not only to scare myself silly but to raise money alongside my wonderful sponsors SecuriCare Medical & CliniMed for Bowel Cancer UK (please sponsor me!!!!).

Here is the sponsor link! https://www.justgiving.com/CliniMed-SecuriCare/

10 Of The Strangest Things People Have Searched To Find My Blog

I’m bed bound today and I thought I’d spend some time blogging. One of the most interesting, and sometimes most hilariously shocking parts of blogging is reading through what people have typed into their search engine to come across your blog. Some of these searches I am seriously worried for…

This is only a little bit of fun for me and no names have been stated – and don’t worry, no names are ever actually available to me through the searches, everything has always come through anonymously!

But, I felt the need to share some of these with you. I’d love to see your reactions!

1. “Sugar mummies contact numbers”. Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 14.59.37

2. “How can I join those who do sex video?”
Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 15.01.42

3. “People having sex through the ostomy”
Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 15.00.32

4. “I have sex with bags”
Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 14.59.49

5. “Pics of gothic girls with stomas”
Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 15.00.46

6. “About life f****** me f****** stomach”
Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 14.59.57

7. “Can you do oral to your ostomy?”
Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 14.59.00Girl overwhelmed by Disneyland surprise, sister hilariously indifferent

8. “How can I bag myself without sexual intercourse?” Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 15.30.50

9. “Ileostomy person do sex?”
Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 15.30.36

And finally, please take a deep breath for this one and remember that everyone is different.

10. “If I cut my stoma off what would happen?”Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 14.58.31

I’m sorry I went a little bit over board on this one but I just… I just don’t know.

39 Things You Can Never Avoid Happening On A Night Out

I went out again for the first time in a while last night with some friends. It was an alright night, but I realised that you’re literally just repeating the same ritual every time you go out.

1. You spend ages getting ready only for your makeup to be ruined at most an hour into the night.

33 Things Guaranteed To Happen On Your Girls' Night Out

2. And then you’re in and out of the toilet trying to top up the lipstick that keeps being ruined by those plastic cups. But that becomes a bit of a task.

33 Things Guaranteed To Happen On Your Girls' Night Out

3. And whilst you’re in the toilet, you become best friends with every other drunk girl at the basins.

4. And you end up complimenting absolutely everything about each other even if you don’t mean it.

5. And you basically know each others life stories before leaving and completely forgetting the conversation you’ve just had.

6. Once you’ve left the toilets you’ve lost your friends.

7. And you spend the next half an hour just searching round and round the dance floor.

33 Things Guaranteed To Happen On Your Girls' Night Out

8. But every girl is in tight jeans or a dress and heels and it’s too dark to see their faces.

9. Once you finally find your friends you need to pee again because you broke the seal too early after just one drink.

10. So you end up spending another half an hour trying to find your friends.

11. And whilst doing so every drunk guy who see’s you on your own will attempt to pull you their way.

12. And you have to make up every excuse under the sun to leave.

13. You’ve told at least 10 guys you have a boyfriend, or are engaged, even if you don’t/aren’t.


14. And then you see the same guy after your friend and end up being a third wheel.

Aaaaand he

15. You drink way too much way too early and have to spend half an hour outside before you can even think about dancing.

16. And once you finally do start dancing you’ve missed all the songs you know, and awkwardly mime along to the ones you don’t, trying not to spill your drink everywhere as you do.

33 Things Guaranteed To Happen On Your Girls' Night Out

17. You get way too into dancing and start to question if you’re doing it right.

18. And end up examining everyone else on the dance floor and realising you’re definitely not doing it right.

19. So you awkwardly carry on and look even more like a penguin than you did before.

20. Every drink order has to be repeated at least 3 times because you can’t hear a damn thing.

Thank you, 8 pounds 6 ounces newborn infant Jesus, for alcohol.

21. And once you do have a drink and are asked to pay you’re left thinking “HOW MUCH?!”

22. Before you know it you’ve spent all your money on shots and realise the only way you’re going to get more is talking to the guy next to you.

23. But by that time you’re too wasted to even stand up properly.

24. In fact you can never stand up properly in those stupid heels.


26. But then we realise it’s okay because they make our legs look good.

27. But all that’s irrelevant because it’s nearly the end of the night and you just don’t look good.


28. You decide to leave a little earlier to avoid the rush to the cloakrooms.

29. But apparently everyone else in the club has had the same idea.

30. You have barely any money left and need to get a taxi, but every taxi driver thinks they should be paid a million pounds for a 10 minute drive.

31. But it’s either a million pounds or sleep outside the club for the night.

32. A kebab or pizza or macdonalds is definitely on the menu though, so you have to stop for that first.

33. But that just makes you feel even more sick, and by the time you get to bed you’re one big bloated mess.

34. Everythings chucked on the floor as soon as you get in and you’re out until tomorrow afternoon.

35. You wake up feeling gross.

36. Suffocated by your friends who also just collapsed onto the bed.

37. And you have no money.

38. You tell yourself, “never again”.

Aaaand then your body revolts against you.

39. Until next Saturday, anyway.

Needed a change… So I Dyed My Hair Blonde!

I’m not sure which thing happened to prompt me into changing my look, whether it was my outburst of awful roots or sheer boredom – but either way I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out! I know it’s not in your face blonde, I chose a dark blonde, something a bit more subtle!

I decided last minute whilst in town that I wanted my natural hair colour back. Believe it or not – that’s blonde! I haven’t had natural looking hair in so long, even when I was younger I’d bleach it. It’s crazy how much a hair colour can change the way you look, and I haven’t felt this much like myself in such a long time! It’s scary, every time I look in the mirror I feel like I’m looking at my 12 year old self! Okay that sounded kinda weird..

I’ve probably damaged my hair for the foreseeable future with the amount of dye I had to use to get rid of the red, but luckily my hair’s very thick!

It’s strange how doing something such as dying your hair can make you feel so positive. It’s given me a new sense of confidence. Which is why I’ve decided to write about it on my blog today, not just to tell you what I’ve been up to but to demonstrate how the littlest things can make you feel better about yourself! I’m not saying anybody should change how they look to feel good about themselves. But if changing something about you makes you feel better about yourself, why not do it?!

I’m currently trying to make a change in myself, as well as my image. I want to be healthier in myself and more active. I’m going to be eating better and focusing on more exercise. I don’t think I have an excuse not to anymore!

I think I’ve come out of my depressive stage now, haha! I’m feeling a lot better and more ready to start working on new experiences to write about. I have some really exciting things coming up soon, and I just can’t wait to share them!

I just want to say a massive thank you to those that continue to read my blog. Sorry that this wasn’t really a topical blog post – but I just had to show off the product of 2 days wearing clingfilm on my head!

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What It’s Like To Have My Boyfriend Clean Me Up Every Day

If you read my previous blog post about having a bad week, you’ll know that recently I’ve been having some issues with my ostomy. So much so that it has been hard to rely on just myself to sort it out. Since I’ve been having trouble sizing it, alongside output problems, it has become a little more unreliable than before. Meaning that when I’m cleaning around the area, I never know when it’s going to be safe to leave it bare to place my ileostomy bag on. At the beginning of the week, it was a case of my boyfriend forcing his way into the bathroom because he could hear how upset I was getting. He would help no matter how frustrated and embarrassed I got. I mean… nobody wants their partners to have to help them clean you up, do they?! Now, it’s become the norm for him to come in with me when I go to change it every evening. He sets up all of the equipment, wets the towels, and helps sort me out.

He’s been great and made me feel a little more at ease with all the negativity that’s been sinking in these past weeks. And it’s nice having him there. It’s weird of course, I’m so used to doing it all myself. I do also feel very upset with the situation.. because it feels like I’ve lost control over the one thing I had control over. I mean, I have no control over my digestive system anymore. I can’t determine when something’s going to happen. Accepting help for the one part you’re meant to be okay with is the hardest part of all. Changing the bag was one thing that was down to me, my decision. And to have to rely on someone else for something so personal, feels a little undignified. I was worried he’d be put off me after seeing what he had.

I’m lucky to have somebody there to help me. And I do appreciate everything that he does. But I just wish he didn’t have to do that, and didn’t have to see me in such a way. But, that’s life. And I guess to get through these sorts of situations you have to feel uncomfortable to get comfortable.

I have had an order of uncut bags from SecuriCare which have already begun putting my skin at ease, so I’m hoping over the next few weeks I’m able to gain more control over my body and become a little more independent. I’m looking forward to being able to use the bathroom by myself for a change! I know I’m not a burden or anything but I can’t help feeling like one sometimes. I just hate to rely on people. Especially for something that should be so easy.

I hope I haven’t put off anyone who may be needing or is questioning having stoma. There has been a lot to thank it for over the past four months. But I do feel the need to write when I’m having a bad time. It’s quite therapeutic but I feel may also give people in my position something to relate to. It’s nice to have something to relate to, I think.


I’ve Gained 2 Stone Since Surgery!

PicMonkey CollageThese pictures show me just after coming home from hospital and me now. It wasn’t until I compared these two pictures of my legs together that I realised just how much weight I’ve put on since surgery! I decided to use the pictures of my legs because they are where most weight has been put on, although I have put on around my stomach and face, also.

By no means am I posting these pictures to complain and call myself fat – I know I’m not – I was just shocked at the difference in just a few months. Of course, the first black and white photo shows me underweight and unhealthy. But I’m really hoping to not put on too much more weight. Although I started gaining from the steroids, I cannot blame them for this! I have been eating like a pig and not exercising at all. And I probably won’t exercise either, lets be honest. But I think I should probably start eating better. If I decide to have further surgery I’m going to need to be healthy enough.

Anyway, these pictures are also a little bit of a revolution for me. A couple of years ago, I would’ve cried at these pictures and used the black and white photo as an “aim” as I abused my body. Now, I can laugh it off and realise it’s just a little bit of weight. And that’s a great feeling… to be able to laugh off something I once feared. Although, I have always had a bit of trouble with losing weight. I hate dieting. And I’m rubbish at following any sort of meal plan. Also, I just cannot be bothered to spend the time counting calories etc. I want to be healthy and stay slim but I find it hard not to indulge in chocolate… on a nightly basis. But – I’m willing to stuff it back in the freezer if it makes my body feel better! I just don’t really want to be putting anymore weight on, not in such a short space of time.

So.. if any of you have any tips on how I can do so, please… let me know!

Please feel free to comment any healthy eating techniques that have worked for you!

I’m Having A Really Rough Week – Someone Take This Pain Away!!

I’ve been sat in the same position in the same place for the past week, because I simply cannot do anything. I’m not sure what’s gone wrong but the past 7 days has been nothing but aches and pains followed by a whole heap of frustration. I’m really just having a bad time recently with my ostomy. I’m pretty sure it’s shrunk, and as I made the silly decision to order all my bags pre-cut, each bag is leaving a certain amount of skin exposed; meaning my skin is burnt, red and sore. From the soreness leaves me having few options for clothing, I haven’t been able to wear anything bar underwear and pajamas lately – anything tighter has me wincing in pain.

Trying to place the bag in a way that the least amount of skin could possibly show means I’ve been changing it countless times. One day I actually amounted up to 10 bag changes. From the frequent skin pulling my abdomen feels tender and my scarring feels swollen. It doesn’t help that I’m a little obsessive about the cleanliness of my body. And knowing that the bag just isn’t in the right place has left me more exasperated than I can even begin to describe.

I feel completely broken this week, each evening leaving me in tears of infuriation. I don’t care how silly this sounds to you, but this week has really made me question my decisions regarding the option of reversal. You see, changing the bag was probably the one control I now have regarding my digestive system. And I just feel it’s been taken away from me. I can’t even keep my skin healthy, for gods sake. I just want to be going out and doing things instead of sat here on my sofa feeling sorry for myself!

I feel very lucky to have had my boyfriend with me the past week. He’s been there to help clean me up and change the bag with me. He’s taken me shouting and screaming at him and really looking after me. But it’s also taken up hours of the evenings we have together, and some of my self-esteem with it. I’m filled with paranoia over leaks and generally just not feeling myself at the moment.

I’ve let myself get so upset over these frequent bag changes and bad skin, but I mean, when you’re having to repeat the same procedure of taking a bag off, cleaning, wiping, drying, and placing a new one on up to ten times a night, you begin to wonder what the hell you did to deserve this shit. No pun intended.

I’ve placed an order with SecuriCare to send me some of their lovely LBF wipes to help heal my skin, and they have also given me next day delivery of uncut bags, an amazing service considering there can be up to a 2 week wait with other services. I’ve also got a hospital appointment on Wednesday just to get it all checked out.

I’m really hoping my body begins to heal soon, as I’m not sure I can take another week living in my PJ’s!

I’m sorry this post hasn’t been humorous, happy, educating or exciting. But sometimes, that life.


6 Times My Ostomy Bag Has Been An Inconvenience

I’d say probably one of the most embarrassing things for a lot of people is farting in public. Just imagine, everyone staring around thinking “was that you?”, red faced hoping nobody realises you were the culprit. But, I mean, at least when you have a fully working digestive system, you are able to control it. But when you have an ostomy bag? You can’t. You just can’t. Most of the time I have absolutely no idea when it’s going to happen. And I mean, when I’m at home I can just laugh it off and blame it on the bag. But there have been a number of times when it’s just too damn awkward to talk about it. And these are just a small few of those ever embarrassing, awkward, inconvenient moments that are just too uncomfortable to remind people that flatulence is funny.

1. When in a meeting – I had a meeting with a whole board room of people to discuss my blog contract, and it seems my ileostomy wanted to make it’s own entrance, and managed to make it’s presence extremely clear with a whole load of noise. I did have to apologise beforehand and say “yeah it might do that during this”. All in good humour.

2. When out for dinner – I mistakenly ordered chilli con carne one time when out for dinner with my family. Watching someone run to the toilet holding the whoopie cusion under her clothes every 10 minutes when the toilets were upstairs, through the crowds of other people pleasantly eating their dinner, is not something I’d class as evening entertainment.

3. When wearing tight clothesphoto(5) in public – I mistakenly decided to wear a tight midi skirt on a train journey, forgetting how long I’d be on a train with no toilet. It’s safe to say people were questioning what I was hiding under that skirt.

4. During sex – Normally, intimacy is absolutely fine. But there have been the rare occasions where I’ve had to stop halfway through and say “I’m so sorry but I’ve really got to go and empty my bag” and also apologise for the ridiculous amount of noise it’s deciding to make from being pressed down on too hard. Just imagine standing on a balloon. Yeah.

5. When doing a presentation – I have a presentation to a support group of people, and to be quite honest with you I’m so glad I had a microphone to overshadow the noise it was making! Luckily everyone was in the same boat – so was more than understanding. I’m afraid I wasn’t taken very seriously though!

6. During a driving theory test – Obviously, you have to be silent during your driving theory test, otherwise you’ll be disqualified. It seems my ostomy is a bit of a rule breaker and went all out to make a point. I just hope people were too distracted by their nerves to notice. Although I’m sure it was pretty hard not to.

Last Night I Wished My Ostomy Away

I wished my ileostomy bag wasn’t real yesterday. I wished it wasn’t there, I wished it would go away. I knocked it whilst pulling down my top and just broke down. I’m not sure if I was overtired or embarrassed by the current situation – I’d blocked the toilet with baby wipes after cleaning up (apparently you’re not supposed to flush babywipes) – and my boyfriend was annoyed about it. He told me I shouldn’t be flushing babywipes down the toilet, whilst I frantically got worked up and tried to explain that babywipes were the only thing I could use!

It was really late, like 3am, and I hid under my duvet in bits whilst he sorted the bathroom out. I felt so bad, but he’d taken control of the situation and I felt too embarrassed to stay in a room with him! I felt really upset. I thought I’d annoyed him and I felt like it was all my ileostomy’s fault. Writing it now, the situation sounds so silly. But last night it really got to me. I felt ashamed of myself, that I couldn’t even do a simple thing like use the toilet without causing a scene. Hiding in the darkness beneath the covers with my hands over my ears I just sobbed and sobbed. I just wanted to feel my tummy the way it used to be. I cried harder as my hand moved down my stomach as the bag rustled against my palm. I imagined my body a year ago. My stomach neat and scar free… bag free. And I just missed it. I missed seeing the whole of my tummy in the mirror. I missed not hearing any rustling as I moved about in bed. I missed being able to shower without being cautious and I missed not having these baby wipe situations.

Last night just bought back my whole experience in the hospital. The constant screaming for the nurses, being so high on pain relief I couldn’t even speak properly. Crying out in pain and being told I was a couple of hours from dying. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I can’t describe the way these thoughts make me feel. I don’t think I’ve given myself time to deal that experience. I find it too hard to, it’s too emotionally draining going over and over it. But it’s something that creeps up when I’m feeling at my lowest, and I just can’t seem to shake away these memories. And that’s what makes it worse. They’re memories. They were real at one point. It’s not a bad dream that a cuddle can sort out. It’s not a bad thought you can shrug off. It was reality once upon a time. And for me, it’s somewhat haunting.

And I think I’ve come to realise that maybe I’ll never truly love my ostomy. The fact that a touch of my ileostomy or an embarrassing experience can bring back such torment at anyone time, scares me. I can accept it, and I can deal with it. And I can like it. I can appreciate the fact that it saved my life, and can deal with is visually. I can write about it publicly. I embrace it. But I’m just not sure I can love it, because it’s not something I’d ever have wished for, nor would I wish on anyone else.

I feel guilty for feeling so negatively towards my ostomy. I know it saved my life and that without it, I wouldn’t be here. But I also just feel so angry towards my IBD, Ulcerative Colitis. It nearly took so much away from me. My job, my relationship… my life. And I’m allowed to be angry at that, aren’t I? I’m angry at the people that didn’t listen to me, and could’ve saved me from surgery a long time ago.

I don’t want anyone to feel disheartened by this post. Nor question my motives. I’m merely just having a bad couple of days.  And I would never disregard the fact that I think my ostomy is a beautiful, life saving thing. And I am so grateful that it has given me a second shot at life. And I’ve come to terms with that fact not everybody will accept the change in my body. I’ve accepted my body. And that’s okay. But sometimes, I can’t help but miss my old one. Maybe this is because I never appreciated it beforehand. This whole experience has made me reflect on all the time I spend pointing out the flaws I could see within myself. And now, as I look back on those moments, I regret them. I regret not realizing my body was fine the way it was. I hate the lengths I’d go to to feel better about my body. And I guess I hate that I’ll never get a chance to accept my body the way it was… because no matter what I choose to do in the future, it’s never going to be the same.

I feel nervous posting something like this on my blog. I don’t want you to think I’m contradicting myself, or being hypocritical. But this blog is my diary, my way of dealing. And it’s important for me to write every ounce of how I’m feeling, so that I can reflect on it and move on from it. And this is why I’m writing today, to move on from last night. To accept that I am going to have nights like that. Nobody can be completely happy all the time… can they?


Why Some Of The Press My Blog Received Really Hurt

It’s been 4 months since I had my ileostomy surgery. And it’s been a tough four months, mentally. I know I come across as being extremely confident with my stoma and I haven’t let it affect my day to day life, but in some cases, I feel it’s isolated me and there have been occasions where I just wish the whole thing hadn’t happened. These reasons aren’t really to do with my stoma either, but to do with how it’s effected my working environment and my relationships with people.

Before I had my surgery, I was working in media and spent my days in an office editing photos and dealing with press. It was fun – I’d always wanted to be a journalist and although I have written for a few publications, I hadn’t actually had any paid writing work. This job for me was a step up the ladder to achieving my goal.

When I was admitted into hospital, I lost my job. I’d had almost three weeks off of work due to illness and it had become a struggle to focus on anything else. I was also given 2 months recovery time after my op and when you’re working in media, most companies can’t afford that.

I didn’t want to give up my dream after being on my way there for some time, so I set up this blog. All I wanted to do was write. At first, this writing started off as therapy. I didn’t want to attend the support groups offered to me because I didn’t want to speak about it verbally. I have trouble doing that. I end up breaking down every time I talk about it. I’m not sure why I feel different when writing, maybe it’s because I’m given time to think about what I’m going to write instead of spitting out how I feel without a second thought.

My blog started getting bigger and bigger in such a short space of time. The media picked it up and wrote about it, and more and more articles started coming out – all over the world – in just one week.

I thought this would be great for my blog. I thought it would be great for others going through the same thing, it would show others that it doesn’t have to be a stigmatized subject. That it was just real life.

My blog was real, it was me. It was full of honesty. It was open, I had this aim to talk about every single thing people may fear. The things people may find hard to come to terms with.

But, to be honest with you, I feel the media exploited what I perceived to be a great thing.

They took this life altering thing that had happened to me and turned it into something seedy. Something the opposite of what I intended to do with my blog. They took my posts about sex, and the photos I’d posted of my continuous recovery, and one photo of myself wearing a bikini. The bikini that as I’d explained in a previous blog post, was worn to help me. I’d always struggled with my weight, and last year, I bought the bikini. The first bikini I’d ever worn. It sounds silly, but it was a big deal for me. It was the first step to me gaining some body confidence. And I was determined to not fall back into that lonely place of self destruction by wearing this thing that held those memories of confidence, so early on in my recovery.

Instead of talking about the recovery, why I’d chosen to write about these things, and why I was posting the pictures – they sexualised it, completed with a side of vanity and an added extra of stigma. “Selfies, Sex and Bikinis!” they said. Get over it, you may say. At least you got some recognition! But no.. that’s not how I feel at all. I felt hurt by these headlines. I didn’t agree with them at all. I wasn’t just “taking selfies” – I was documenting my recovery. Creating a time line of blog post photos to look back on, to see my progression. I wasn’t just “having sex” – I was writing about intimacy. I was writing about still being able to feel sexually attractive within myself. I was writing for those people that had gone through the same ordeal, that were struggling to find the confidence to regain some sort of sexual relationship with their partners, and those that were too scared to start dating again. I was writing to tell people that a life saving thing was beautiful, and was not something to be embarrassed or ashamed of.

The articles published were aimed at creating a “shock” reaction. They were screaming “look what she’s doing! Even though she’s got this!” Which of course created a whole heap of controversial comments, telling me to put my body away, that the thought of anything sexual with somebody with a bag was “disgusting”.

They created everything my blog wasn’t. They wrote in a sense that they couldn’t believe the things I was doing – because I had something different. I hate that. The whole point of my blog was to show I wasn’t any different. It was to show that my ileostomy bag did not have to change my life. It didn’t have to control me and it didn’t have to define me.

Some writers even took it upon themselves to question my blog pieces. Asking their audiences: “What do you think of her blog? Do you think she’s taking it too far?”

Well, to those writers who feel the need to question how I live my life, I think my blog is a great way to regain my strength and confidence. If doing normal things like any other person in this world is “taking it too far” I question your need for responses to make up your own mind. I question your integrity and I question your own confidence. Perhaps you could take some tips from my blog.

Hey, I know you’ve got a job to do, and I know that sex and “shock” sells. But just put yourself in my position for one moment, and imagine if you felt what you believed to be your good intentions were completely demoralised. My blogs about sexual relationships and feeling confident with your ostomy bag showing was taken completely out of context and therefore turned into “Hey! Can you believe she’s still having sex?!” as if I was invisible from the waist down or something! It also led people to believe I was posting about being sexually active with a number of people, forgetting to mention I was in a two year relationship – leading to a number of hideous comments about my parents being ashamed of me.

I loved my little blog before all of these articles. Before they (didn’t) take the time to research into my life before they wrote about it – telling their readers I was a student with a colostomy bag for life. Telling them that in order to live I had to “tape a bag onto my stomach which covered a hole that releases waste”.

In actual fact, I run my blog for a living. I left my studies 2 years ago. And I have an ileostomy bag – which is technically reversable. And I do NOT tape a bag to my stomach nor have a hole in my abdomen. It is merely a small part of my small intestine which is bought out of my stomach in order for me to go to the toilet. I change my bag twice daily and it is stuck on with a hole cut around the stoma to fit on nicely. It is not as dramatic nor as disgusting as you attempted to make it out to be.

It upset me that some of these media outlets felt they were raising awareness. When really, they were scaring more people into not talking about it. They made it sound gruesome, seedy and shocking. When it shouldn’t be like that. It should be celebrated. After all, it’s given me life. And isn’t that something to be praised? Isn’t that something beautiful?

There were of course some great articles that really described what my blog spoke for. And I can’t thank you enough for that.

But to the writers that took it upon themselves to not even contact me for the facts before writing these un-educated pieces, I hope a few hundred comments about how disgusting a life saving thing is was worth it for you. I hope you know that you nearly took away the meaning of my blog from me.

But, onwards and upwards after this post. I just needed to get it out because I’ve been feeling pretty down the past couple of weeks.

I know that my blog has meaning and I know that if it’s even helping one person, it’s worth it for me. It’s helped me, anyhow.

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6 Men Respond To The Question: How would you feel about being with somebody with an Ostomy Bag?

I recently had a few comments on a blog post I’d published, regarding having sex whilst topless – well, having sex at all – when you have a stoma. These comments upset me. I don’t mean personally, they did not offend me, I genuinely just felt upset that they could feel like that about themselves. I really wanted to write about these comments. I feel like it should be talked about, in order to help end the stigma that is still around it. I don’t want to patronize or enforce my opinion in any way, I merely just want to tell you what I want you to know. You don’t have to act upon it, I just hope that maybe you can look at yourself in a different light and feel good about yourself. So, to the people who feel like this, this post is for you.

“There is no way I will have sex again, I have a stoma – it’s ugly!”

For the first few weeks, after ostomy surgery I felt how you feel. It was a horrible time feeling unattractive, because of something I couldn’t control. It was hard to accept what had happened and acknowledge the fact that maybe it didn’t me ugly. It took me time, but eventually, with the help of my partner, I began coming round to the fact that it hadn’t changed the person I was – if anything, it had impacted me and helped me to become a better person. It didn’t change me physically either, I still had the same hair, the same face, the same body (okay maybe I’m a little heavier now) – it was just an addition. And I guess I’ve trained myself into thinking that way.

But I know that when I didn’t think that way, it was hard. Which is why I feel upset. I feel upset because I couldn’t imagine still feeling that way. It was strenuous enough the first few weeks, so to go months, years even, feeling that way – I find absolutely heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking because you’ve been given something out of your control. Something that is different, something that can effect you mentally, physically and emotionally. It seems unfair, right? And it’s up to you as to when you feel ready to deal with it. No body can force you to feel okay with your body. It takes time and it takes strength.

So maybe, remember the positives in the situation. Remember that it saved your life, that it has enabled you to live an active lifestyle. Enjoy that. Enjoy that you’ve been given a second chance. Don’t take it as two steps back. Don’t let it to stop you from living life to the fullest.

I don’t think a stoma makes you any less attractive personally. Because a stoma does not effect your beauty. If anything, it makes you more beautiful. It gives you a story to tell. It shows the what strength you have, the fight you have in you. It does not effect your personality. It does not change you. It does not make you any different from the person you were before. If somebody thinks of you as any less than who and what you are, they’re not worth it. If somebody can’t look past something and see it for the life saving thing that it is – they’re not worth it. And if somebody is going to judge you on something completely out of your control, that has been a struggle to embrace with confidence, then they really, really are not worth it.
You may not want to take advice from me. I get that. But what about from a man? From people that are willing to tell you how they feel? Well, I asked a number of men how they would feel about being with somebody with an ostomy. And these are their responses…

It wouldn’t bother me at all. I see the person – the personality above all else

I am curious about it, and would be asking questions like a daft lad! As for attraction or anything intimate though, as I say, no problem for me

“Definitely wouldn’t bother me …. you see a person first then if intimacy is going to happen no disability will make any difference

Wouldn’t stop me being intimate with her in anyway at all

It wouldn’t bother me one bit in the slightest.

“A real man would accept it as part of you  – not something to fear”

So, just know there are people out there who can promise you, you are still absolutely beautiful. I hope one day you can regain that thought.

I got to spend valentines day with my boyfriend!

“There is no way I will have sex, I have a stoma – It’s UGLY”

I recently had a few comments on a blog post I’d published, regarding having sex whilst topless – well, having sex at all – when you have a stoma. These comments upset me. I don’t mean personally, they did not offend me, I genuinely just felt upset that they could feel like that about themselves. I really wanted to write about these comments. I feel like it should be talked about, in order to help end the stigma that is still around it. I don’t want to patronize or enforce my opinion in any way, I merely just want to tell you what I want you to know. You don’t have to act upon it, I just hope that maybe you can look at yourself in a different light and feel good about yourself. So, to the people who feel like this, this post is for you.

“There is no way I will have sex again, I have a stoma – it’s ugly!”

For the first few weeks, after ostomy surgery I felt how you feel. It was a horrible time feeling unattractive, because of something I couldn’t control. It was hard to accept what had happened and acknowledge the fact that maybe it didn’t me ugly. It took me time, but eventually, with the help of my partner, I began coming round to the fact that it hadn’t changed the person I was – if anything, it had impacted me and helped me to become a better person. It didn’t change me physically either, I still had the same hair, the same face, the same body (okay maybe I’m a little heavier now) – it was just an addition. And I guess I’ve trained myself into thinking that way.

But I know that when I didn’t think that way, it was hard. Which is why I feel upset. I feel upset because I couldn’t imagine still feeling that way. It was strenuous enough the first few weeks, so to go months, years even, feeling that way – I find absolutely heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking because you’ve been given something out of your control. Something that is different, something that can effect you mentally, physically and emotionally. It seems unfair, right? And it’s up to you as to when you feel ready to deal with it. No body can force you to feel okay with your body. It takes time and it takes strength.

So maybe, remember the positives in the situation. Remember that it saved your life, that it has enabled you to live an active lifestyle. Enjoy that. Enjoy that you’ve been given a second chance. Don’t take it as two steps back. Don’t let it to stop you from living life to the fullest.

I don’t think a stoma makes you any less attractive personally. Because a stoma does not effect your beauty. If anything, it makes you more beautiful. It gives you a story to tell. It shows the what strength you have, the fight you have in you. It does not effect your personality. It does not change you. It does not make you any different from the person you were before. If somebody thinks of you as any less than who and what you are, they’re not worth it. If somebody can’t look past something and see it for the life saving thing that it is – they’re not worth it. And if somebody is going to judge you on something completely out of your control, that has been a struggle to embrace with confidence, then they really, really are not worth it.
You may not want to take advice from me. I get that. But what about from a man? From people that are willing to tell you how they feel? Well, I asked a number of men how they would feel having sex with somebody with an ostomy. And these are their responses…

It wouldn’t bother me at all. I see the person – the personality above all else

I am curious about it, and would be asking questions like a daft lad! As for attraction or anything intimate though, as I say, no problem for me

“Definitely wouldn’t bother me …. you see a person first then if intimacy is going to happen no disability will make any difference
Wouldn’t stop me being intimate with her in anyway at all

It wouldn’t bother me one bit in the slightest.

So, just know there are people out there who can promise you, you are still absolutely beautiful. I hope one day you can regain that thought.

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10 Things We Should Learn To Appreciate Before We Grow Old

This blog post is a little different to the things I normally write but I thought it was something important for us all. I think it’s important that we acknowledge these ten points and ask ourselves the question – are we appreciating enough?

1. Family – Family are always there for you no matter what. Whether blood related or not. In some cases, the people you class as family aren’t even biologically connected to you. But they are the people you go to when you’re in a time of need. They’re the people that don’t judge you, that support you even when they don’t agree with your decision. Always appreciate them, always return the love, don’t take them for granted.

2. Friends – As you’ll grow older, you’ll find that the friendship group you built in school is gradually becoming smaller and smaller. Eventually, you’ll be able to count your true friends on one hand. They’re the people that have stuck around no matter how you’ve spoken to them at one point, no matter what partner you ended up with that maybe they disliked from the beginning. They’re the people that don’t tell you “i told you so” when you’ve had your heart broken, but become a shoulder to lean on. Always remember that they’ve been there through thick and thin – don’t be too quick to disappear into a new crowd of people.

3. Love – love is shown in a number of different ways. Love is something that they say conquers all, but can make you feel about 2cm small at the same time. Love is the emotion that brings out your best and your worst side. It is the thing that helps you find yourself, whether that be through a positive or negative journey. Love is the thing that gives you strength and courage to make hard decisions, whilst giving you the most unforgettable memories. Always, always love. No matter what anyone says. No matter who or what it is you love. Experience it, and go after what you want. Don’t grow to regret not taking the risk.

4. Experiences – whether good or bad, experiences are the things that end up in the family photo album. That make you laugh or cry. That can fill you with a hundred emotions. Experiences are great stories that you live to tell. Appreciate every experience you stumble upon, now matter how you got there.

5. Freedom – growing up is a learning experience. You’re free to do as you please to find out what it is you want to spend the rest of your life doing. Don’t take your freedom for granted. And don’t spend that time doing something that doesn’t make you happy. Fulfill every aspiration you aim for.

6. Opportunity – don’t ever disregard an opportunity for someone else’s happiness. If it’s what you want, go for it. Stop thinking about others for a second and focus on where these opportunities can take you and if they can enhance your lifestyle and happiness. Never say no to an opportunity – because you never know where it’ll take you.

7. Health – don’t take your health for granted. Live an active, healthy life style. Treating your body right will enhance your way of life. It will leave you feeling content in your body. Feeling good in yourself will change your way of life. Being alert and fresh increases great mind stimulation.

8. Food – don’t spend your life saying “I can’t eat that, I need to lose weight”. You only live once! Don’t deprive yourself of foods you crave. A little something more calorific doesn’t hurt once in a while. Plus, the only person you need to impress is yourself! Who are you eating for?

9. Relationships – appreciate the person that makes you happy, and return the favour. Treat them how you wish to be treated. But also, don’t spend your life being miserable in a relationship that doesn’t make you feel complete. I saw a great quote the other day that said: “If you’re spending your days crying when in a relationship, ask yourself, am I dating a human or an onion?”

10. Yourself –  This is the most important factor of all. You’re living your life in your body. You are you, and there’s no changing that. Don’t spend your days focusing on the flaws that are invisible to everyone else. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just be you. Be accepting. Grow old knowing you loved every part of you that you possibly could. What are you gaining from avoiding that?


Amazing News For My Blog!

Last Thursday I travelled up to my blog’s sponsor SecuriCare Medical to pitch them an idea I had been really excited about for a couple of months.

It actually all came about whilst I was away with a friend. We were up all night talking about the bucket list I’d created for this year, when we came up with this idea to act on just one of those things. But, it is not JUST one of those things. We are taking this one aim, and making it into something we hope to be absolutely beautiful.

The only issue was, we couldn’t do it on our own. We needed more support.

So, we called the Digital Brand Manager at SecuriCare who absolutely loved the idea. She invited us for a meeting with the head of the company, amongst 3 other people in the industry.

Alongside this, a huge charity will be supporting this project.

So, last week was the big meeting, as to whether or not this could turn into more than just an idea. After an hour and a half spent in the conference room, giving a presentation and answering questions, we left feeling positive. But we hadn’t been given an answer yet. So of course, we have been feeling a little nervous the passed few days.

BUT, today we received the call to tell us we’d been given the go ahead on our idea and had the companies full support!

This project will is looking to be released over the next couple of months, and we are hoping you will all love it. I’d love to reveal a little more, but I don’t want to ruin any surprise!

So, please keep an eye out over the next couple of months, for more updates on this project. I can’t wait to see what you think!


My 2015 Bucket List: https://morethanyourbag.com/2015/03/18/the-2015-bucket-list-9-things-id-like-to-do-with-my-ileostomy-bag-2/ 

10 Things You Need To Know About IBD

It’s World IBD Day today, and I thought it would be great for others to gain an understanding of what we are trying to raise awareness of today. There are plenty of reasons as to why you should care about World IBD Day. But these 10, could just be the reasons that lead you to saving somebody’s life, lifestyle or mentality. These are the reasons I feel are most important to those that aren’t completely educated on what a life with IBD is like.

Please take in the 10 points below, the points that tell you things you need to know, and how we can help people suffering. Just think about them. Think about yourself or a family member being a sufferer, put yourself in these vulnerable positions. Because it can happen to anyone.

1. You could be at risk of IBD. Anyone can develop IBD – and at least 261,000 people are affected by Ulcerative Colitis (146,000) and Crohn’s Disease (115,000) in the UK – Although recently published data suggest that this could be as many as 620,000.

2. Your age doesn’t keep you safe. The illnesses can occur at any age, but often begin in younger people aged 10-40.

3. It is NOT a “sickness bug”. IBD is a chronic (long term) disease and if you have IBD you will probably have periods of good health (remission) and then relapses or ‘flare-ups’ when the symptoms get worse. It is more than just “sickness and diarrhea” IBD consists of symptoms such as extreme abdominal pain, diarrhea which in UC is frequently mixed with blood. Extreme tiredness, fatigue, weight loss, abscesses and fistulas, swollen joints, mouth ulcers, anemia, liver, skin and eye problems.

4. Ignoring the symptoms can risk a persons life. Educate yourself on IBD, because it could be your life at risk. Like me, your symptoms could be fobbed off as “women’s troubles”. Being ignored for so long left me hours from death with my large bowel nearly purfurating. I was admitted into theatre for emergency surgery and given an ileostomy. Had somebody recognised my illness sooner, it most likely would have been dealt with by using medication.

5. The hospital could become your second home. Most people dislike the hospital right? IBD causes a range of flare ups. Some so bad that leave you taking your holidays in the hospital. Whether you have IBD or an Ostomy, there are frequent problems that you face over your life time. Some that cannot be kept at bay with medication.

6. IBD is one of the biggest causes of loneliness. Having IBD can become very lonely and very mentally scarring, as people that don’t understand put it down to overreacting and laziness. You feel isolated within your own body. Scared that people will sigh in annoyance at your complaints. That they won’t believe you have a chronic illness. Which really hurts, because to have to live with an illness that nobody believes to be real can leave people such as myself, hours from death.

7. There is a stigma around IBD. By showing support on this day, World IBD Day, you are helping to end the stigma. YOU are enforcing a breakthrough to a subject that is so taboo. You are telling hundreds of thousands of people that it’s okay. Encouraging them to speak out. Engaging in the positivity that our society has to offer.

8. You could save someone, in a number of ways. By donating a small amount to this cause, you could be saving a life, a mental illness or a lifestyle. Small amounts add up a large amount. And these amounts are being spent on the correct resources to give people with IBD the right support, equipment for further research into a cure for the illness, or a personal grant for someone in need.

The right support means the right information. Where people are able to acknowledge and deal with their illness – before it gets too late.

9. IBD cost’s people their jobs. Gaining an understanding of IBD will show you that we can still work, and we can still earn a living. It is so easy to disregard somebodies work ability because of their illness. If you apply for a job, it means you want it. It means you believe you are fit for that job. So why should informing an employer of your illness lessen your chances of earning a living?

10. You CAN help. Opening up your eyes to a terrible illness that effects a great deal of the population will help others by giving them the strength to speak out. By gaining more of an understanding, you are accepting. You are acknowledging the fact that there is more than what meets the eye.

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Please watch below, my contribution to raising awareness on World IBD Day.

11 Thoughts Everyone Has When They Have An Ostomy

There’s a number of things that go through your head when you have an ostomy, some good, some bad… some you just never expected to have at all! I rounded up a few other ostomists to see which thoughts had most stood out to them since having an ostomy.

1. “Will my bag look big in this?” Every piece of clothing you try on is accompanied with the thought.. will my bag look big in this? I.e. does it look like I have a whoopie cushion hiding under this dress? Or am I good?

2. “Will my partner still find me attractive?” A lot of feelings hit you after ostomy surgery. You can begin questioning yourself, your appearance, how others may see you. But anyone that see’s you for anything but YOU is not worth it. And you know what, your partner, or the person you fall for, is probably more focused on the fact that they’re lucky enough to still have you there with them. 10982699_918516614872142_4787843721648344028_n

3. “Do I just do it? DO I EAT THE POPCORN?” If you don’t have an ostomy, you may not know that you are pretty much warned to stay away from popcorn. This is because it can cause a blockage in the stoma. BUT, you always want what you can’t have… and being told not to do something makes you want to do it ten times more!

4. “My bag better not fart in this exam!” Or any other important event for that matter.. especially when the room is filled with empty silences. Annoyingly, gas is one thing you have no control over… it happens when it wants to… you have to accept that!

5. “Do you think they can tell?” Going out in public amongst people who have no idea about your ostomy (and why should they) can be a little daunting, because you can be curious as to whether it is noticeable under the clothing you’re wearing. (But who cares if it is!)

6. “Do they really go like that?” You can become so accustomed to your ostomy bag that you literally forget how other people go to the toilet. I know when I see my boyfriend heading into the bathroom and sitting in there for half an hour I’m left thinking… what the hell is he doing?! It only takes a minute!

7. “I’ll never be able to go on a sun holiday again and wear a bikini!” You spend time planning all different kinds of holidays avoiding the ones where you may have to wear a bikini, until you remember… who am I trying to please? IMG_3181

8. “To bathe or not to bathe… Will my bag float away?” There’s always that wonder of whether you can still take an hour long bath with netflix by your side. It’s the best part of anyones week for sure. But can you still do it??? Will the bag stay stuck in hot water? The answer is yes. So get back in the tub!

A blog post of bathing with a stoma.

9. “I didn’t know I could produce that much wind!” Most mornings you awake with a helium balloon on your stomach – if you haven’t woken up 3 times already to empty it during the night. I guess it stops you sleeping in though! (Sometimes)

10. “Am I the only one?” Ostomy surgery can be very lonely, especially if you choose not to talk to anyone about it. And sometimes, this can be the case because you feel like you’re the only one dealing with it. But, there are many people out there in the same situation, and so to answer that thought – no, you are most definitely NOT aScreen Shot 2015-05-17 at 19.31.03lone.

11. “I’m never eating that again.” This seems to be quite a frequent thought. Although I never stick to it because I’m basically obese at heart. Food after ostomy surgery is all about trial and error. Some things work with your new digestive system… some things don’t. But some things just… really don’t.

And just one more, that a lot of people tend to think, no matter how long it takes them to think it…

“Thank you… you saved my life.”

The First Time I Looked At My Stoma

I’ve been writing my blog for almost 4 months now. And in this time I’ve talked about my feelings, my thoughts and my experiences. But one experience I’ve avoided talking about is the first time I actually looked at my stoma. There’s a number of reasons for this. But the main reason is that it was without a doubt the hardest, scariest, most confusing experience of my life – I couldn’t find a way to put it into words as to how I felt that day… until now.

I know that my blog pushes towards body confidence, embracing your body and appreciating the life you’re given. But it took me a short while to learn that this is what I needed to do. I’m only human, and as humans, we are prone to experiencing a number of emotions. And that day filled me with many.

It was three weeks into my recovery that I finally braved looking at my stoma. Before that time, I had asked my mum to help me change my ileostomy bag, whilst I guarded my face with a towel. I couldn’t bring myself to look at it. I’d accepted the fact that I had an ileostomy. I could look at my ileostomy bag itself. But I think this is because I saw the ileostomy bag as a guard – something that helped me ignore the fact that there was something underneath. Something before that time, I didn’t understand. And wasn’t prepared to start understanding. I’d moved home with my mum, and she became my prime carer. But in order to move back home with my boyfriend, I needed to gain my independence back. And the way to do this, was to begin changing my ileostomy myself… which also meant looking at my stoma.

I’d put it off for all this time… how was I going to do it? How was I going to gain the courage to face reality? What if I hated it? What if it made my hate myself? What if I broke down completely? So many questions filled my brain as I stopped my mum whilst she was getting prepared for my bag change, and said “I’m going to do it this time mum”. Without hesitation, she began telling me what I needed to do. She talked me through the preparation, and showed me how to cut a bag. I’m sure she was nervous as to how I may react. She stayed calm, and I tried to also. But inside my stomach was in knots. I know it may sound silly to you, but this was a huge thing for me. It was me gaining some form of independence back. It was me getting my life back on track.. my new life.

A thousand thoughts ran through my mind that day as I eased the ileostomy bag off of my stomach. Once cleaned up and fresh, I looked at my stoma in the mirror. Of course, I’d seen pictures on google images which yes.. scared the living hell out of me. But as I looked at the little pink looking thing sticking out of my stomach… I felt okay. I wish I could say I felt more, but at that point, for me, okay was just what I needed. Having been so upset in the hospital and being unable to look at my stomach for so long, I’d convinced myself all of the overwhelming feelings of negativity would come rushing back. I hadn’t prepared myself for the fact that I may actually feel okay.

It was such a relief. I’d finally done it. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. It didn’t look like all of the scary, close up images I’d seen online. It was small, it was clean, it almost looked like a little rose bud. I think the thought of something is always much worse than the reality. All of the thoughts I had feared had eased. And you know.. I didn’t hate it. Once I’d seen it, I instantly began accepting it. Because I realised that without this little thing poking out of my belly, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be here to share this moment with my mum, the moment that we spent appreciating the second chance at life I’d been given. To me, it didn’t matter what had changed about my body that day. All that mattered was that I was still here. That I was still able to be with my family.

I’d love to write more, to go more in-depth on how I felt that day. But I think there’s some things that maybe I’d just like to keep in my head. All I can say, is that I was okay. And I think.. that’s okay for me.


Abseiling Off The TALLEST Sculpture In The UK… With An Ostomy Bag!

On Saturday 8th August 2015 I am going to be abseiling down the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture, which at 114.5 metres is the tallest sculpture in the United Kingdom – on behalf of my blog’s sponsors SecuriCare Medical – to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK.JM-Orbit-event-I

I will be abseiling down the iconic 262 foot tall London sculpture to help raise money, save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer. Please donate on our JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/CliniMedSecuriCare/. We would love to raise as much as possible during the run up to the event!


I am absolutely bricking it – but will be so proud to say I’ve done something to help raise even more awareness and money for such an amazing cause.

Thank you to all of those who donate over the next couple of months. Let’s hope the harness doesn’t burst my bag whilst I’m up there!…


A Horrible Night Out. It’s Time To Be Honest With You..

It’s 1:30am and I’m in a taxi crying my eyes out after a night out with friends. Well, after somewhat an evening out. I’d planned to stay back at my friends, after the usual night out ended around 4am. But here I was, texting my boyfriend in a state, to meet me outside to give the taxi driver the money.

I’d had a bit to drink and so was a tad more emotional than I normally would have been. But some things got to me so badly last night that all I wanted to was leave, come home, crawl under my duvet and sob myself to sleep.

You see, last night, just like the last time I went out, I had more people approach me about my ileostomy bag. I know what you’re thinking. Well you publicly write about it, what do you expect? But it was different. It wasn’t people addressing my ostomy. Or my blog. The complete focus was on the difference in me. I have been quite confident in myself since the surgery, and I have learned to acknowledge the fact that everybody deals with things differently. But last night, I was sat down, and told by people I didn’t know, that “I shouldn’t let people bully me just because I’m different”. And that the people “judging” me aren’t worth it.

I of course stopped them right there and then and told them I would never let somebody bully me. That my ostomy bag saved me life. And whoever had a problem with it obviously had their own issues to deal with.

But, it also angered me. Whether it was meant in a nice way or not – could I not have just been left alone to enjoy my night? I’m sick and tired of going out in public places with people my age, to be patronized and questioned.

I need to be completely 100% honest with you. Please listen to me when I say this. I do not want anybody’s pity nor sympathy. The best thing anyone can do for me is carry on supporting me by reading and interacting with my blog. My ostomy bag does not define me and I refuse to be the subject of sympathy needed for other people to feel better about themselves. I am not looking for somebody to tell me that other people’s opinions don’t matter. Convincing themselves that any opinion other than my own is a negative one.

11141120_10205520050414033_6234827583001248290_nAfter this conversation ended, I dragged my friend outside with me to just take a breather. I didn’t want it to effect my night. Of course, talking about it with my friend helped. But I did get upset whilst doing so. It’s hard to talk about something that effects you so personally. It’s hard to keep a brave face 24/7 and act like it’s just water off a ducks back. Because it’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard. What has happened to me could have been completely emotionally, mentally and physically traumatizing. For the first part anyhow. But it hasn’t been. Because I haven’t let it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel low sometimes. That I don’t think about those nights on the ward, crying myself to sleep. Like remembering how much I despised myself at one point doesn’t leave me with panda eyes and a runny nose.

I spoke about all of this with my friend. Because I needed to. And I guess alcohol just gives you complete word vomit and everything you try to keep trapped in and concealed to create this false mask of positivity just disappears and you’re left stuck in this bubble of vulnerability. My friend was very understanding, of course. But even though we’re very close, everything I’d said came as a complete surprise to her. She’d always seen me so much stronger.

It felt like I’d had a little bit of a break through until somebody decided to spoil the moment. By butting in that at my age, I had no idea about life. She laughed at me, and shouted very publicly that “hundred’s of people have ostomy’s” that I should get over it, because “you have no idea what life’s about”.

Completely full of rage, I left the club. I couldn’t do it. I could not bring myself to justify this womans behaviour. Could she not see I was upset? Was she invited to listen in to our very personal conversation? Why did she feel the need to do that? And who the hell is she to tell me after being faced with death and making a positive out of an awful situation, that because I was young, I had no idea about life. I can’t even begin to comprehend her actions. I think it was absolutely disgusting. I am entitled my own emotions. I have every right to feel upset about something that at one point had such a huge effect on me. It should not be compared not dismissed because of my age. This woman was much older than me, and as I left, went on to talk about her life experiences. If she’d experiences awful thing herself then how can she judge others on what they do and do not know?

I would never compare my experience to someone else’s. Because as I’ve said before, everybody deals differently. No matter how many people have experienced the same. Everybody maintains a different mentality. It is not a competition. And your emotions are certainly not determined by the percentage of the population in the same boat as you.

Last night I lost faith in both the older and the younger generation of today. I hope to see more compassion in the world as time goes on. Because that is what life is about. Loving, listening, accepting, embracing, learning and understanding. Living life so sourly is such a waste of the time we’re given. And you never know how long we’re going to get.

What Do You Do When Your Ostomy Bag Blows Up In PUBLIC?

Although having an ostomy bag means you can essentially live a pain free, active lifestyle, there are still irritating little things than you are literally completely helplessly prone to. One of these things is gas. I know what you’re thinking – but surely you don’t get gas now you have an ileostomy bag?! Wrong. You still get gas, and unfortunately, unlike those without an ileostomy, you can’t release that gas into the air. Instead, you end up with a balloon attempting to take lift off from your stomach.

It’s not an issue when you’re at home. You can empty that bag or you can change it. But what about when you’re walking along in public, trying to cover that that prominent bulge that just so happened to appear over the last five minutes?

I was out the other day, getting the train into town after my driving theory test. I was wearing a jumpsuit, which wasn’t tight, but wasn’t especially baggy. I’d rushed to get ready that day and was only wearing normal underwear. Everyone was rushing for the train, so I was pretty cautious of people knocking into me. I guarded my stomach, and as I did, felt this whoopie cushion of a bag pressing against my hand. And because the belt of my playsuit was pushing down on my bag, it was making me look like I had a giant, wonky penis. I was literally there thinking “OH MY GOD WHAT IF PEOPLE THINK I HAVE BALLS”.

Luckily, I was wearing a jacket and could cover it up. But of course, me being me, I was wearing a broken jacket whilst carrying my bag, and wearing stupid shoes I couldn’t walk in, so pulling my jacket together whilst trying to focus on getting on the train surrounded by a bunch of people all fighting to get off the platform – it was kinda difficult to try cover said whoopie cushion.

I’m not sure if anyone noticed my gradually expanding stomach, or if they just chose to ignore it. But it led me to thinking about different ways I could prevent this from happening in the future. Of course, the best option is ostomy support pants. But they can be kinda pricey, and you have to wait around for delivery. Also, you’ve got to be sure to get them in the right size, for the best support.

I don’t actually use ostomy support pants. Instead, I use body shaping pants – from sainsburys! They’re £5, meaning you can get more for less! It would suck to own just one or two pairs, because what about when they both need washing?! You can also try on in store!… over your underwear.. obviously.

Sometimes for me, support10987464_956329911090812_4235087468872660141_n pants aren’t enough. And more than one pair of tights makes my legs look chubbier than they are. So… I devised my own thin support pants to go over the regular ones, giving the ultimate flat stomach, and perky bum! Even when my bags attempting to lift me off the ground.

How did I do this??? It’s simple! (I feel like I’m in an advert right now)

I simply found a load of old tights that have ladders in (I think I actually own about 2 pairs without ladders in) and cut off the legs! The material is so thin you can’t feel it’s there, and they also gives you no added bulk. Invisible, cheap support underwear. Sometimes I even wear two pairs!

Since my bag blowing up in public, I have followed this routine if I know it’s going to be a windy day… and no matter how big my bag gets, it’s flattened by the support gear! It’s also a good idea to have a trustworthy bag that can be flattened. The bag I use, a Sensura Mio, delivered by SecuriCare Medical, enables me to do this. I experience no discomfort with it no matter what I’m wearing!

So there, an easy, cheap and effective way to save you from the gas and also give you a fab figure. Even if you have one already!

What Happens When You Bathe With A Stoma?

In a previous blog post I spoke about my experiences showering with my ileostomy. Of course, we’re all only human and every human needs to wash – with or without an ostomy! But what about when you’re so tired and all you want to do is hide away in your bath tub with a glass (or bottle) of wine and your laptop on the side, ready for you to watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race? Or something else… but most likely Ru Paul.

I’d read up on bathing with an ileostomy, and some people had said the adhesive can wear out whilst in the water. Other’s had said it was fine. I decided to give it a go anyhow. I do shower without my ileostomy bag on, but bathing is slightly different. There was no way I was risking something happening whilst I was trying to relax!

I filled the bath up and prepared everything else I needed to change my bag after the bath. Just in case something did happen, I wanted to be prepared and not running around my like a headless chicken.

Once in the bath, I hesitated for a while before getting comfortable, positive that something was going to wrong. But minutes passed and all was still safely in tact. The ileostomy bag had decided to float up to the surface though, which is kind of amusing. And cheaper than those floating duck toys.

I wear an ostomy bag called thePhoto on 17-04-2015 at 18.09 Sensuri Mio, which is delivered by SecuriCare Medical. This bag did me proud, as even after bathing for over an hour, and countless episodes of Ru Paul’s Drag Race – it was still perfectly stuck to my skin!

It’s funny, how I still feel nervous to do such normal things. It’s been a while since my surgery but I’m still learning more and more on a daily basis. I’m still having to overcome things that perhaps others wouldn’t give a second thought about.

Things like bathing can be nerve racking. It sounds silly, I know. But knowing that you’re either going to overcome something you’ve been worried about doing, or risk having a bad experience that may put you off trying other things in the future, is overwhelming. It can either push you 2 steps forward or pull you 5 steps back.

But, if you’re in the same boat as me, I can assure you that it is absolutely FINE to bathe with your ostomy bag. It’s up to you whether you want to risk doing it without – personally I won’t be, as my stoma seems to have a mind of it’s own!

The Hardest Part Of My Recovery So Far

It’s funny really. There’s been so much I’ve spoken about on my blog, so many personal details, experiences, my most intimate moments and my most vulnerable. But nothing seemed as hard as filming this video did. I’m not sure if that’s because I find writing easy, or just because I’m able to think about what I’m going to say before I put pen to paper. Or keys to screen in this case…

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 14.36.48Filming is completely different. It’s capturing you as a whole image, making you embrace vulnerability. I found it hard to talk on camera. Every time I tried I felt it didn’t do justice for the message I was trying to send. Every time I attempted to speak about my experience I started to cry. It’s hard. It’s hard to actually speak to someone about what happened. And I think that’s because once words leave your mouth, they become real. You can’t take them back.

This video shows exactly what I wanted it too. It shows difference being embraced with happiness. It shows honesty, and it represents truth. It doesn’t have to be your truth, but it’s mine.

I hope you enjoy this video. Please don’t hesitate to comment, like – & share!

Having A Stoma Made Me Realise There’s More To Life Than A Flat Stomach

Isn’t it funny how so many of us go through life caring about our image. How the magazines spend their time writing about who wore a certain dress best. Who’s putting on too much weight. Who’s losing too much weight. Well to put it bluntly – who the f*** cares? (I have to censor swear words now I’m sorry).

Why do we choose to pick out our flaws rather than embrace the things that make us different? Why has it become the norm to hide our bodies? To shame people who choose to love theirs?

Why the hell does such a vast majority of society live each day to please someone else? Why don’t we just live to please ourselves? I mean, are we really going to be laying on our death bed asking ourselves “why did I wear that?!”, “why did I eat that much?” “why did I say that” or “why am I so fat?”. No. I don’t think so. And if we continue asking ourselves these questions, more than likely one of our last disappointments will be the fact we didn’t accept nor respect ourselves.

I’m no stranger to self negativity. I suffered with bulimia for two years. And not even a collapsed lung from the amount of vomit trapped in my lungs stopped mphoto 1y hating my body. It’s not until now where I’ve been given something deemed as “different”, that I’ve accepted my body. I don’t really get the chance to think about what my belly looks like now, because half of it’s covered by a bag. The other half of it though looks pretty damn good though. And it’s not flat, it’s not toned, it’s just a normal belly. But it’s the bit didn’t have to be cut apart and covered in stitching. It’s the bit of my skin that’s still scar free. And I like that. Although, I love my scars too. My scars remind me of everything I’ve been through and everything I’ve overcome. They remind me that I survived. They make me really proud to wear them. And I wear them with pride. Hey, I even love my bag! I love the fact it’s different, and that it gives me a story to tell.

What I do get the chance to think about though, is what I’m doing with my life. Where I’m going, and where I want to be. The more you think about that, the greater chance you have of acting on it.

So just take a moment, and look at yourself. Think about what you’re doing, where you’re going. If you don’t like yourself, change. Be somebody you’re proud to be. If somebody doesn’t like that? F*** them. If you don’t like what you’re doing, quit. Work hard to find what makes you happy. Try new things. Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid. Do something that makes you so crazily happy that you wake up everyday ready for whatever the day brings you. Be someone where you can look in the mirror with pride. But don’t be ‘you’ for someone else.

It’s a shame that it took nearly losing my life to make me appreciate it, but let me tell you, I’ve never appreciated myself more. I’m finally looking further than my reflection. I’m digging deeper into finding what I’m passionate about, I’m searching for what makes me happy. I’m living in the moment, taking each day as it comes.

P.S. I’m actually sat here eating a massive bag of chocolate right now. And I’m not thinking about how bloated my belly’s going to be once I devoured the whole packet. I’m just worrying about whether my stoma’s going to cope with it or not!

Why We Should All Be More Open About Going To The Toilet

I was sat thinking about how nice it was to be working from home, contemplating all of the benefits I now indulge in. One of these benefits, as silly as it sounds, is actually being able to go to the toilet whenever without feeling embarrassed! I know that sounds odd, so let me explain..

My old job, as lovely as it was, was very difficult for me both mentally and physically. I didn’t start until 9, but unknowingly living with Ulcerative Colitis, I was up at 6am – just to go to the toilet; for I knew that if I didn’t, I’d be sat at my desk in pain for the next 8 hours. It wasn’t just getting up at 6am though, it was having to drink a coffee, followed by a cigarette, followed by a mug of hot water whilst slowing eating a banana, followed by trying for the toilet, followed by another cigarette, followed by a laxative or two and so on.. every day, for 6 months. It may not sound like a big deal to you, but imagine being in so much pain, being so bloated, trying everything you could to get rid of that feeling, whilst having to rush to leave for your train into work; even though you got up 3 hours earlier. If my morning routine didn’t work for me, I’d sit in the office clenching onto my stomach as it filled with shooting pains. Once I’d actually got to work, within an hour of being there I would have been to the toilet 3 times, as I’d drunk so much caffeine! I felt so insecure and embarrassed, having to excuse myself every 15 minutes to go to the toilet – I can’t imagine how annoying it must’ve been for my boss! Which led me to think… why was I so embarrassed?

It seems that going to the toilet is such a taboo topic. No one wants to talk about it yet everyone does it. I mean, we talk about sex, we talk about love, we talk about food, all such natural things that everyone of us has some sort of experience with. But what about something as natural as going to the toilet? Something we all do throughout the day. Why has it been made into such a dismissive subject?

10995586_955619417828528_5358526500689486313_nI’m not saying we all start greeting each other with “Good morning! Have you been to the toilet today?” No. What I am saying though, is that maybe if we were all a little bit more open and a little less embarrassed, people like me wouldn’t have to struggle so much to seek help. So many people who suffer with IBD and IBS are suffering in silence. It’s more than just a toilet trouble. It’s more than just constipation, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It’s the fear of leaving your house, it’s being in excruciating pain for days on end, it’s having to make excuses not to go out, having to call in sick, terrified of embarrassing yourself at work, but knowing you have no other way of paying your rent. But if we could all lift the stigma of toilet use, imagine how much more at ease people suffering so privately could feel? Not being scared of telling someone, in fear of being humiliated. Not being told it is just an excuse for laziness; and not having to suffer in silence!

The amount of fiber I had to indulge in and the amount of foods I had to avoid just in the hope nothing bad would happen the next day was ridiculous. The frequent use of laxatives that ended up becoming my daily snack, the amount of cigarettes I’d smoke just in the hope that something would happen.. it just made me worse! If someone would have just listened to me, and respected what I was telling them without making it into a laughing matter, everything could have been different.

It’s sad that my body had to take such a dramatic fall for someone to listen to me, without making a joke out of how I was feeling – I even had my doctor rolling his eyes at me! But if we were all a little bit more open and a little bit more accepting starting now, so many people could be saved from the pain they’re hiding from you. And some people hide it well. If we as a society accepted nature for what it is, and turned it into a less stigmatic conversation, we could all become a little bit more open minded, and a little less judgmental.

I can’t wait for a day when someone can approach you with “look I’m having really bad toilet troubles” without fearing a smirk or a giggle from the person opposite. It’s silly really, because everybody does it… but for some people it’s not so second nature!

What Happens When You Go Swimming With A Stoma? – In A Bikini!

I’ve always been very self concious of my body, living in the idea that I was ‘fat’. Things like going swimming were always a bit of an ordeal for me, as I was convinced people would look at me and point out the flaws I felt within myself. I would always jump into the water as soon as I got to the pool so that nobody had the time to even get a glance of my body. Last year was the year I started to feel good about myself. I’d lost some weight and was determined to become more confident with my new body. With this newfound confidence I decided it was time I bought my first bikini – sounds absurd at the age of 19 doesn’t it! I remember wearing this bikini and feeling really good about myself. It was high waisted, but it was my first step towards the self-esteem I desperately longed for.

This year, it’s been a little different for me. The flat stomach I always longed for has finally appeared, which of course I’d love to show off in a bikini, but something has now been added to my belly, which would probably cause more attention than a little bit of flab – a stoma, covered with my ileostomy bag.

I’ve come away for the week, and the place I’m staying in has a pool. With that being one of the main attractions, it’s something that most people use when staying here. I contemplated swimming, researching into it to see if anyone had experienced swimming so early on after ostomy surgery. I’d seen some very positive experiences written up online and decided to give it a go. Of course the idea had me shaking a little, my stomach tied up in knots, overwhelmed with the nerves that had entered my body; but I told myself that if I don’t do it now, I may leave it so long that the thought of it leaves me too scared to do it in the future.IMG_3181

I don’t own a swimming costume anymore, just my bikini. I thought about wearing it, a devil on one side of my shoulder telling me “no, don’t wear it, people will laugh at you!” and an angel the other side shouting back “you can do it, you don’t need to hide”! I then remembered how good I felt last year in my bikini, how little fear I felt when people looked at me. I didn’t want to fall back into that place where I’d hide in my towel as soon as I got out of the water. I told myself that my stoma is nothing to be ashamed of. And I meant that. My stoma is the thing that has kept me alive, and surely I should embrace that? Why should I cover myself just for somebody elses satisfaction? So I wore that bikini that made me feel beautiful last year, and instead of falling two steps back, I moved one step further towards that self esteem I so desperately want to maintain.

With my bikini being high waisted, I was able to keep my bag supported, with the option to fold it down incase the water put too much pressure against my stomach, making it cling too tightly onto the parts of me that are still tender and swollen. I wore a smaller ileostomy bag also, so that I was more lightweight, and more comfortable in the water.

Photo on 02-04-2015 at 15.36It was yesterday that I actually gained the courage I needed and walked over to the pool, taking my friend with me. I stripped down into my bikini, and although I started off feeling self-concious, I quickly realised that this is the body that I will be living with, and that if I want to do things deemed as ‘normal’, I need to get over any flaws I feel are there. In actual fact, I just needed to forget about what other people may or may not think. Because it’s not their opinion that is going to keep me going – it’s mine.

I left the changing rooms and walked over to the pool, my scar very prominant. IMG_3168.JPGExpecting stares and fingers, I felt ready to acknowledge the fact that everyone has a different point of view and a different idea of how a body should look. But my expectations were wrong. Nobody stared, no body pointed. I slowly got into the pool – not wanting to jump in, incase the pressure of the water caused my bag to float away – making my own water float! I was able to get into the pool with ease and began swimming. The water felt amazing. I couldn’t even feel my bag whilst in the pool, it was as if for that amount of time none of this year had happened, no surgery, no stoma, no bag. I was taken back to last year, I felt as if I was back on that same day where I felt absolutely amazing. I swam a few lengths before getting out to use the steam room. I was a little breathless I must admit – it’s the most exercise I’ve done in while!

I questioned using the steam room before entering, as I was a little worried of the heat effecting my scar. I really wanted to use it, so decided to just try it out for a few minutes. It was great just being able to lay there in my bikini out of the water without a care in the world.

Leaving the steam room and returning to the pool, I was actually more concerned with how red faced I now was from the heat – instead of how the rest of me looked! We only stayed in the pool for a quarter of an hour more because I was getting tired, but we still managed to do hand stands and roly polys!

We left the pool, got changed back into our clothes and that was that. I’d done it. I’d overcome my fear, and proved that even an activity that could make me feel so vulnerable has not defeated me. Now, it’s just one more activity I’ve ticked off my list. No stares, no fear, no problems. I felt so in my comfort zone and so confident. Just another teenage girl.

A Naked Dress And A Stoma Bag? The #GetYourBellyOut Ball!

I took some time out from the blog this week to see friends and go out and enjoy myself. To be honest with you, I’ve been feeling pretty down recently and I couldn’t actually bring myself to write anything because I didn’t want to force my negativity on to you all. But I’ve now realised it is not me thrusting any negativity upon you, it is simply being human. Of course I’m going to have down days. I just needed to pick myself back up and remember I’m okay. And that I’ll always be okay.

I did just that at the #GetYourBellyOut ball in Birmingham. It was one of the simply most incredible events I have ever had the absolute pleasure to have experienced. I can’t express to you how honoured I felt to be a part of it; and how proud I am of the brilliant awareness campaign, who have now raised an astounding £31,000 for Crohns & Colitis UK.

Of course, with it being a ball and all, everyone was dressed to impress. There was so many beautiful girls in gorgeous dresses, with their hair and makeup immaculate. I was overwhelmed by the amount of diamantés and tiaras! I opted for something adventurous myself, a tight, nude plunge dress. I was a little nervous about this dress as I’d bought it online a couple of days before the ball, without thinking about my bag. But it was absolutely fine – thanks to my lovely support pants!

My boyfriend couldn’t make the ball, and so last minute my amazing dad stepped in and escorted me. I had been in hospital the day before – nothing serious just a torn tummy muscle – and didn’t feel well enough to go on my own. I’m very lucky to have such an amazingly supportive family. And he looked amazing too! I was so proud to have walked into the beautifully decorated room with someone who had done everything possible to make sure I didn’t miss out!

We were welcomed onto the top table with the events sponsors, who also just happen to be the wonderful sponsors of my blog, SecuriCare & Clinimed. We met other bloggers and I learned about my fellow ostomates, and listened to their inspiring stories. 

We had the pleasure of watching a stunning performance of the #GetYourBellyOut charity single ‘Just A Part Of Me’ by Vanessa Rene, which she sang beautifully. Everyones separate diets had been catered for and the whole room was decorated perfectly.

We were surrounded by hundreds of gorgeous people and you know what? It just felt amazing to meet people that just really understood. That you could go to the toilers with and not worry about any embarrassment nor having to watch what I ate in case my bag blew up because nobody cared. So many of us were in the same boat. I could just let my hair down and enjoy myself!

Or let myself go on the toilet booth….  

Me and Sarah were back on our adventures and were the last ones standing at our table, dancing until 2am. Alright, maybe a few sit down breaks to get my breath back. 

The last thing I remember is getting a taxi back to the Travelodge we were all staying at!

All in all, the ball was fantastic. A great job done by Gem, Lorna, Victoria and Sahara, the wonderful founders or the #GetYourBellyOut campaign.

And it was so worth the amount my stomas hating on me right now. 

Really, thank you. I never thought I’d feel so happy again.

10 Important Things To Remember When You Have A Stoma

It’s important to remember from time to time that we are all only human. We all have feelings and endure a series of emotions with which we may choose to express or hide. Things can effect us deeply no matter how big or small that thing may seem to another person. Physically, mentally or emotionally  – things can become such a huge part of you and manage to eat you up from the inside before you get a chance to tell yourself it’s okay.

I’m not sure if I’m writing this post more for myself or other people in my situation, but either way I think it’ll make things easier in the long run. Something to revert back to when I’m having a bad day. I haven’t had many bad days so far, but when I do, they swallow me up and spit me back out again, leaving me feeling defeated.

So, the aim of this post is to pick myself back up again. And remind myself of a few things…

1. It is okay to get upset.
Everyone gets upset from time to time. If you feel you need to, cry it all out. Get it all out of your system, and start a fresh tomorrow.

2. Breakdowns signify strength.
Breakdowns are you finally accepting your feelings, and actually releasing everything you feel from within – everything you so desperately tried to stop escaping. By doing this, you are facing your emotions. Think of a break down as break through.

3. You have something that makes you different, uniqueness is beautiful
Sure, it may not be something you’ve always wanted, but if it became the norm, would it bug you so much? You have something that not everyone in this world has. Doesn’t that make you a little more interesting? You have an amazing story to tell. Tell it.

4. It may have been a life changing experience – but it doesn’t have to change you.
Being given a stoma means learning new things, being a little more careful, accepting certain changes to your lifestyle. But that’s it. It doesn’t have to change the person you are, so don’t let it.

5. Your stoma saved you
No matter how you feel about your stoma right now, always remember it’s given you a better way of life. In fact, it’s given you life. Your stoma saved you.

6. You are still able to live your life the same as anyone else
Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re any less just because you may have to pack a few more things, or take a few more toilet breaks. And yeah, somethings may take you twice as long. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do it twice as good.

7. There are always going to be people who don’t understand, forgive them.. teach them
Some people just don’t get it. And maybe they never will get it. But it doesn’t mean they’re not willing to learn. Just because somebody hasn’t experienced it, doesn’t mean you have to create a barrier between you. Talk to them, help them understand, help them become more accepting of how the human body differentiates.

8. People that don’t accept it, don’t accept you. And you don’t have to accept that.
Of course, there are going to be people that don’t want to take the time to understand. And there are those people that will always just be a little narrow minded. Fuck them. If something so insignificant effects their state of mine, and they can’t take the time to get to know you, for YOU – they don’t matter!

9. You are strong
You have been through a massively traumatic experience, never forget the fight you once faced – never forget the strength you hold.

10. Smile – you have a reason to!
And finally, please just smile! If you’re having a bad day and wishing your stoma away, stop! Would you really want rid of it if it meant going back to the days spent on the toilet in pain? Or spending your days in and out of the hospital? Think about that. This is just one tiny part of you, and it’s a tiny part of you that means you can still be here. So smile about that.


Why Did Channel 4’s Hollyoaks MOCK Disability?

It was in Monday’s episode in which Hollyoaks made the awful decision to compare a colostomy bag to an awful way of living. Disgusting, right? To many, it may seem like a harmless joke. But to others living with an ostomy bag? Not so amusing. I didn’t find it funny in the slightest.

In this episode, a nurse states “seriously, I’m going to have more fun changing colostomy bags”.

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I thought this to be nothing but a cheap comment that could have been left out with no harm done to the script. How in anyway is it right to compare a negative way of living to a disability?

It’s not for the fact that it is degrading to those who live their lives with a colostomy bag, but more towards the point that the comment was just downright unnecessary within the script. What was the need? Nothing but bad humor that I’m sure hit hard to a lot of people who’s lives have been turned upside down at some point in their life, increasing their need for a colostomy bag.

Not only was this wrong for those lines to be broadcast, but also to be coming from a character who works as a nurse. It’s comments like those that you wouldn’t expect to hear from somebody who has chosen a medical profession, let alone to be written for a soap. It is obvious to me that the writers for this episode did not take the time to look further into the words they deemed somewhat amusing, therefore showing a complete lack of empathy to those facing these medical conditions, alongside showing less passion for their own profession.

For a programme that attempts to battle story lines such as mental health and eating disorders, which attempts to show an understanding of the harsh realities that some people face on a daily basis; why do they then feel the need to contradict the image they once perceived by creating more stigma for something that is already so taboo?

Hollyoaks tends to have a younger audience, and maybe that fact that stomas and ostomy is such a taboo subject, has something to do with the line included in Monday’s episode. Perhaps the writers didn’t think about the fact that young people too can encounter a calostomy at one point in their life, be it temporary or permanently.

It saddens me to think that the writers probably just added this into the script to create a couple of laughs, but at what expense? They are aiming to reach out to todays generation, but how can they do this if they feel it is right to continue laughing at someones expense? Further more, how can such a huge television company allow this to be broadcast?

I’m sure to many people this line will be perceived by viewers as the writers intended, but for many living life with an ostomy, who have had to deal with health scares and discomfort throughout life, this comment could hit hard. Why should others feel it is okay to make a joke out of someone else’s poor health?

With Hollyoaks being broadcast to millions across the UK, these types of comments lead to destroying the hope that the stigma around stoma and ostomy will one day end. How can we be brave and confident, if it’s nothing but a shameful joke to millions of people?

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Showing You My Stoma – What Sits Beneath My Ileostomy Bag

Looking at your Ileostomy Bag can be a hard thing in itself, but what about what’s underneath?

Today I’m going to be brave and write about my stoma. It’s a hard thing for me, because although I feel confident with my bag, I don’t feel completely the same about my stoma. I’m not totally sure what to make of it.

I remember that it saved my life, and I know that with my stoma, I am in no pain. But at only 19 years old, when I’m still growing up and accepting my body as it is, I find it hard to convince myself that it’s okay all the time. That it doesn’t matter to me that my body is somewhat different to so many girls my age.

In this post, I’m going to take a huge step and reveal what sits under my ileostomy bag, day in day out. I’m fully aware that some people aren’t so accepting. I understand that my stoma is not going to be so pleasing to the eye for some people, and I get it, some people are just down right squeamish.

I was the same at first, I hated it. I looked at it and wanted to cry. In fact, it took me a good 3 weeks to even look at my stoma. I insisted my mum help me change my stoma bag just so that I didn’t have to look at it. I’d place my hands over my eyes and try not to cry whilst she did it, apologising frantically for the fact that she had to look at it herself.

But, this is me. This is my body. You don’t have to accept it, but I do. And it’s important that I do, in some way. It’s so easy posting pictures with my bag, but this? Not so much. This is personal, and this is intimate, and this is a big change to my body.

I’ve envied girls with beautiful, flat stomachs the whole of my life. And my belly is beautiful too, just a little different. I think it’s important to remember that everyone is different in some way. Everyone has something that makes them unique. And I guess for me, this is one of those things.

So, here it is, here’s my little stoma. Here’s the thing that makes me unique. Here’s the thing that has impacted my living. Here’s the thing that thrusts upon me so much emotion. Here’s the thing that has saved my life.

I cried before I decided to write this, because I still felt like I hadn’t been completely honest to myself about my situation. And I’m shaking as I write this post, and in two minds of whether to publish or not, as I can’t determine the reactions this piece is going to receive.

But, it’s important that I do this, to continue my journey of recovery.

I’m not asking you to tell me I’m beautiful, and I’m not going to argue the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

But in my opinion? I’m still beautiful. My body is still beautiful. And I hope others with a stoma can feel beautiful too. No matter how long it takes to get there.


It’s been a tough couple of weeks trying to keep all quiet about all the stuff that’s been going on with morethanyourbag.com, but finally, all is done, all is ready to be revealed! And I’m so excited to tell you all about it!


Yesterday, I traveled up to London, to stay in a lovely hotel and meet with the marketing director for SecuriCare Medical – a website that offers support and delivery for people with stomas. Sarah approached me after seeing the photos and blog posts that had received such positive feedback on Facebook. I started writing for SecuriCare’s website, but they were also interested in mine!

But I didn’t just go to speak with Sarah, I went to represent the company, and present my story and website to a room full of people looking for support, alongside other companys, Ostomy Associations and more! It was a little overwhelming I must admit, but the round of applause and amount of people congratulating me just showed how much they’d appreciated what I’d spoken about. It was so amazing to meet other people with a stoma!

I was then taken back to SecuriCare & CliniMed‘s offices, where I met the head of Customer Services and the rest of the team, as well as giving the same presentation to a huge table of other women. I felt like I was on the apprentice! They loved the presentation, I was so chuffed!

Next, I was taken arIMG_0722ound a workshop to show me how Ostomy Bag’s were produced and cut. It was amazing to see how many people were working for the company, so many passionate, incredible people.

BUT.. this wasn’t it for me.

The most incredible thing happened today, and I can’t believe how quickly it’s all come about! With the blog only just entering into it’s fourth week of production, reaching over 65,000 views in that space of time, hearing all the incredible stories from absolutely inspirational people, and receiving ongoing support from such a fabulous audience…


morethanyourbag.com is now being sponsored by SecuriCare Medical!

This means I will now be putting all my time into my blog, making a career out of it and earning a living from what I am most passionate about! I will also be speaking at events on behalf of the company and reviewing their lovely products!


Amongst this, there are going to be some really big things happening within the next couple of weeks. More things to write about, more things to experience… and I CAN’T WAIT for all of it!

The 2015 Bucket List – 9 Things I’d Like To Do With My Ileostomy Bag

I think it’s important to rephoto 5member that although having an Ostomy Bag is for the most part, a life changing experience – it doesn’t have to change your life. Yeah it means relearning things that you’d never have given a second thought about before, and yes the operation in itself can make you feel like it’s the end of the world. It’s scary and at first, the thought of doing normal every day things can seem like a challenge – but once you break through the barrier, you begin to see life in a completely different light.

Before my bag, I didn’t challenge myself, I took things for granted and I was always sure of what I wanted to do. Yes, I had a career aim and I was on the ladder towards that goal but when everything came to fall and certain things were taken away from me, all I had was myself. So now, I’m going to make the most of what I have and the strength my body has.

I’m determined to prove to myself that I am oh so capable of doing things I wouldn’t have even dreamed of before my bag. I’m going to face my fears and just live. And I’m going to live twice as better with my bag!

1. Sky Diving
This is one thing I have always been terrified of doing. Who in their right minds wants to throw themselves out of a plane?! Will my bag count as an extra parachute??

2. Burlesque
Burlesque is so sexy. So many confident women all so proud of their bodies. I just love it. I think something like burlesque would really increase my confidence. Perhaps it would lead me to being more body confident – not just bag confident!

3. Water parks
I know you’re more than able to swim with a bag, but I think water parks could be a challenge, with all the slides and falling into deep water. I think it could be a really fun day out as well as another box ticked off the list.

4. Abseiling
Every time I’ve been abseiling, I’ve loved it. But the thought of the harness around my stomach makes me a little nervous. Which is exactly why I’d like to try it, just to say I did it.

5. Stomach Tattoo
I’d never really thought of having a stomach tattoo before, I have two large roses down my right hip, four birds down my right arm and a vintage mirror tattoo with a victorian looking gothic girl inside, sitting nicely on my right arm. I think a stomach tattoo could be really cool. A decorative piece near around my scars. Perhaps another line across my big scar, we could make it into a hot cross bun? Or a noughts and crosses design?! (Perhaps not..)

6. Travel abroad
I think going abroad with my bag for the first time would be nerve wrecking. They say not to have ice and other food types just to stay safe and avoid blockages within my stoma. But I think I deserve a holiday after such a dramatic start to 2015!

7. Pole Dancing
I really want to take a pole dancing class. Just to try my upper body strength. Perhaps it could tone up my currently flabby belly and legs too…

8. Marathon
I’d like to run in a marathon to raise money for Crohns & Colitis UK. I’m very prone to stitches too… being so lazy! So perhaps it will give me the motivation to get fit!

9. Meet other people with a bag
It’s one thing to talk to others online, to hear about their stories and just chat in general, as sometimes it’s easier to talk to people that completely understand what you’re going through, but it would be a whole other thing to meet them in person. I think it could be really great to see how other people continue to live their lives.

That’s all I’ve got so far! If things come up or I think of something else, I’ll most definitely write about it! I’m determined to make 2015 MY year. It’s going to be a positive year. No matter what the circumstances.

To The Guy That Publicly Humiliated Me – On My First Day Out Since Surgery

If you read my blog post about my day out at Thorpe Park, you’ll know that I was made to feel pretty embarrassed by some random guy that I’d never met before in my life. Like any other person, I wanted to feel comfortable whilst going on rollercoasters and was not going to wear clothes that restricted me in anyway. But at the same time, I’m still not able to wear jeans for too long, especially on rides; where the jeans could dig in to my stomach if pressure was to be put on them. Leggings also weren’t an option as they again don’t support my stomach. I hadn’t been clothes shopping since surgery and had been living pretty much in my pajamas, so my only option that day was my cotton, high waisted shorts – they are thick and easy to move around in, they have a chunky waist band which supports my stomach really well. I’m also able to hide extra padding under there due to the amount they stretch.

That day, I felt pretty confident. I was sure I’d be okay on the rides, I felt good within myself and I knew my bag was so well supported that the chances of anything going wrong were thin. I hadn’t even thought about my choice of clothing. I was just ready to enjoy myself!

I was wearing black tights with my shorts and ankle boots, with a baggy jumper over the top and a denim jacket. I was so covered up that when I was approached by some random guy, I was completely bewildered by what happened next. This guy took it upon himself to chase after me shouting “excuse me, excuse me!!” at the top of his voice, causing any people passing by to stop and stare. His girlfriend followed behind him laughing at me in a malicious way, as he literally ran after me. Causing such a scene. This guy was in his thirties, I’d say. Of course, I stopped, thinking perhaps I’d dropped something. I turned to acknowledge him, and with a smirk on his face, he loudly asked me “are you wearing anything under that jumper?!” red faced and slightly confused I replied “of course I’m wearing shorts..” he laughed and asked me “are you sure? I wasn’t sure if you’d forgot to put something on this morning?” I quietly told him “these are the only things I could wear today” as he continued to laugh at me, still very loudly, and walking away saying “alright I just had to check”, whilst other people watched me wanting to dig myself a hole and hide in it.

The man walked back to his girlfriend, and they both followed behind me and my friend, laughing at me. Of course my friend stood up for me and told him “if you knew the reason, you’d wished you’d never done that” but of course, he didn’t know the reason, and I wasn’t going to explain myself to him. I tried to block out what had happened and enjoy the rest of my day, but I couldn’t help but feel like people were staring and laughing at me as the day progressed.

I wish I had said something then, I wish I’d stood up for myself. But I was so lost for words! He made me feel conscious of something I hadn’t given much thought that day, I wasn’t bothered how I looked.. I just wanted to feel comfortable.

So, to the guy that took it upon himself to point me out in front of a bunch of strangers and laugh in my face, over something so insignificant, let me ask you..

photo(3)Did you ever stop to ask yourself whether it was appropriate for you to walk up to a complete stranger and mock them? Did you ever stop to question my outfit choice, and wonder if perhaps there was a reason? No? Well let me ask you this, would you ever point and laugh at somebody in a wheelchair, and demand to know WHY they put on the clothes they did that morning? No, of course you wouldn’t. Because any decent person would take note that they possibly have good reason to wear what they are.

So why was it appropriate to approach me in such a rude manor? With such negative intentions? Is it because I look like any other abled person? Because you cannot see my disability? Just because you cannot SEE a disability does not give you the right to treat me or any other person with such disrespect. That is not okay. Abled or not, it is not okay to treat any body in that way.

You are the exact example of what is dragging todays society down. Choosing to pass judgement on somebody you don’t know, purely because of what you see. The actions you chose are the actions that effect a persons self confidence.

I hope to think that if we had explained my choice of clothing that day, you would have shown a little empathy. But it shouldn’t take an explanation to stop you humiliating someone. I’m glad that you mocked me only on my clothes, but it strikes an important message that it could’ve been worse, and some people experience that. And that’s disgusting. Whether you have a reason or not, it’s never fair to be made to feel 2 inches small.

Sadly, there’s always going to be people like you out there thinking they have the right to put another person down. Thinking making fun of somebody else makes them a comedian. But in future, just think. Because words hurt.

Why My Mum Is The Toughest, Most Inspiring Person I Know – Happy Mothers Day!

So it’s mothers day and of course every body knows that their mum is the best person they know. Your mum is your rock. Your everything. But with me, my mums a little bit more, and I don’t think my mum even realises that…

10801818_870986472958490_2197632805346797480_nMy mum raised me and my sister single handedly until I was 10, working her arse off to support us, when we were put into a one bedroom flat for people with nowhere else to go after my biological dad took the house we lived in. Time passed by, we moved house, and she fought her way to get out of a different abusive relationship. It was after that we decided we were a girls only thing. “BABE’s” – Boys Are Banned Entirely. This stayed the same until I was 10, when she met her now husband and partner of 10 years, and the man I now call dad.

Anyone that knows my mum knows that she’s amazing anyway. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a few years ago after frequently being incorrectly diagnosed, putting her on useless medication. Now properly diagnosed, she has been managing amazingly. It’s hard seeing your mum so vulnerable. My mum is the strongest person I know. She seems so tough on the outside, because I know she feels she has to be, but mum, if you’re reading this, you’re doing an incredible job, you don’t have to be so tough all the time! 601214_10151304002872946_658108780_n

My mum has been my rock throughout everything, and trust me.. she’s had to be. I think it’s safe to say I’ve given her a few scares! In 2011 when my lungs collapsed and I was in an intensive care unit for a chest pneumonia caused by bulimia, my mum was there, 24 hours a day. Her and my dad sold their car, just to make sure they could afford to be with me every single day.

17882_10152816401437946_856194585703420117_nWhen dealing with Ulcerative Colitis and having my Iloestomy Surgery, my mum was there non stop, she never left my side. She kept me calm and she helped me gain back some confidence after recovery. She’s the reason I spoke out about what happened, she’s the one that taught me if people don’t love you for what you are entirely, than they don’t matter.

My youngest brother and sister are too young to understand, but my mum really fought to have them. After suffering 6 miscarriages, it was devastating to see her in so much pain. But she tried absolutely everything, even when it turned to having 9 months worth of injections, she fought to have her kids. She wanted them more than anything, she loves them more than anything! 67958_10151304008692946_1396648112_n

I have the most amazing role model of a mother. Someone that’s strong, loving and caring. Someone that would do anything for her family and friends. Someone I truly respect and hope to one day resemble just an ounce of her compassion. If there is anyone in this world that deserves to be spoilt rotten on a day like today, it’s my mum. Not just because of everything she’s fought against, fought for and is still fighting for today, but because she’s just a bloody incredible human being. I’m so proud that she’s my mum.

Thank you mum. For always being there. For making me laugh and smile when I felt like my world was ending. For always keeping my spirits up. For raising me to be strong. For being the best person I know. For never giving up. For being you. I love you.

My First Clubbing Experience – With My Ileostomy Bag!

3 double rum and cokes, 3 double vodka red bulls, 2 shots of something rather peculiar and a Jägerbomb, I’m here tucked up in bed next to my best friend with a coffee, surrounded by random slices of bread and butter and 7 packets of crisps, and I’m pretty sure I’m still drunk.

I was determined I wasn’t going out last night. I had nothing to wear to hide my bag, I had been to Thorpe Park the day before so was physically exhausted, and to be honest I was just worried about people’s reactions in case something embarrassing happened. I spent ages worrying and telling my friend I wasn’t going out, until something inside of me said “fuck it” and I went and searched through my sisters wardrobe for some clothes. I had a little bit of a crisis as she didn’t own anything baggy. And then something else made me repeat said “fuck it” and I picked out a tight skirt and heels. ‘What if my bag blows up?’ I panicked, convinced this outfit would lead to disaster, but I ended up walking into the bar with it on!

I know it doesn’t look like much, but when you’ve spent the past 6 weeks in loose clothing a tight skirt is a big thing!

IMG_1364After pre-drinking at my friends, we went to a bar to carry on drinking to ease my nerves about going clubbing. It was amazing walking into a place feeling confident, knowing no one would be able to guess I had a bag.

IMG_2954We stumbled into the club around 12am and carried on drinking. I must admit I did have to sit down for a while as I started to feel a little pain, but the pain seems to be mainly around my scarred area where it’s still healing. My friend got a little worried, but I decided we should just do more shots to numb the pain!

I danced my little legs off, and actually ended up falling over and nearly doing the splits in the middle of the dance floor. I tried to make it look like it was purposely done and strutted off in silent shame to get another drink!

IMG_1372We went out to the smoking area a few times, where we met some other girls, they were so lovely and complimented me so much. One turned to me and said I had an amazing figure, such a flat stomach. It was then that I took the opportunity to tell her about my bag, just to see her reaction. She was so shocked, and told me she’d never have guessed.

I met another girl who had actually been reading my blog which was amazing, as she has a family member going through a similar situation. It’s nice to know it’s not a completely isolated subject, and some people do have an understanding of what I have. IMG_2957

I didn’t have any issue with the toilets, my bag didn’t inflate, like I’d feared, as I was only drinking fizzy drinks! The only toilet drama that occurred was me walking into the cubicle door due the fact I was absolutely, positively fucked.

I saw some familiar faces and met some new ones, some knew, some didn’t.. but it didn’t seem to phase anyone. Of course, there was moments when I felt people were staring at me, or pitying me, and I did go into the toilets at one point to have a little, drunk cry. But I decided to man up, and actually shouted at myself, “fuck it, you can do this shit” and stormed out, feeling like Beyonce.

IMG_1363I’m so glad I decided to go out last night, it was so worth the disgusting hangover I’m enduring today. I can’t believe I’ve gone from being in hospital, to going to Thorpe Park, and now out dancing and drinking til 4am in the space of 6 weeks.  Even though the last thing I can remember is sobbing my heart out into a tuna and crisp (?!) sandwich at 5am. I am so determined to prove a bag does not have to change anything.

So girls, don’t be worried about a night out. Get your heels on and get on it. Enjoy yourself. And just keep thinking… what can I do next?!

P.S – Sophie, you’re the fucking best.

What Happens When You Go To Thorpe Park… With An Ileostomy Bag?

So it’s been 6 weeks since my Ileostomy Surgery, and my friend thought it would be a fantastic idea to go to Thorpe Park. Of course, I agreed. So today, we got up at 8am, rushed to get ready and set off for a day on the roller coasters. We spent the journey singing along to Frozen and Glee like everyone obviously does and didn’t really acknowledge the fact that this could quite possibly be a really bad idea. I mean, we did question the fact that my bag could quite possibly explode and I could really quite hurt myself but yknow what, I was so up for a good day out with my best friend that I just didn’t care. photo 1(4)

I had decided to pad myself up a bit that morning, so wore 3 layers and a denim jacket, with some high waisted stretchy shorts. As you can imagine, it wasn’t very busy as it was a week day, meaning we didn’t have to queue for anything for more than 5 minutes. I’m not sure whether this was a good or bad thing as we did slightly over do it on some of the rides…

The first ride we went on was Nemesis. This ride turns you up side down, spins you around basically makes you want to throw up. It really hurt my scar (it’s still healing). I went on it 3 times. It was fantastic. And no, my bag didn’t explode.

IMG_1307The next ride was Collosus. I kept telling Sophie I loved this ride. It was my favourite ride. It really wasn’t. I was really wrong. It killed my head. Not my stomach though! We didn’t go on it again. But again, still got my bag safely intact…

It was only 11am by this time, we really did manage to get on things so quickly. So we decided to try Swarm. We’d made the decision to try rides with an overhead bar instead of a lap one, so I wasn’t at risk of hitting my stoma. Swarm was by far our favourite ride. You’re brought so high up, and then it just twists you down, facing the ground, before spinning you round throughout the track. We screamed so loud I’m sure the people next to us probably left the park half deaf. They probably hated us for our choice of language too.

photo 3(1)We then went back to Nemesis before heading off for an early lunch. Even though I’m not on my steroids anymore, I’m still hungry as ever.. kind of sad I don’t have an excuse for being fat anymore though! Of course I went out and ordered a jumbo hot dog and fries, and of course I felt ridiculously sick after wards. So like any normal person recovering from surgery, feeling sick, with a half full bag on her stomach, we went back to Swarm! It was so dead by this time we managed to queue jump again and again and went on 4 times within the space of half an hour – twice backwards! After leaving swarm I did have to rush to the toilets. I’d stupidly forgotten my radar key (key to disabled toilet) and didn’t want to pay to hire one so used the public ladies. I didn’t mind so much as it was so quiet, not sure I would’ve been so confident on a busy day though.

IMG_1308All cleaned up, we wondered off for Stealth. This was a pretty interesting walk too, as some complete arsehole decided to shout after me “excuse me?!” over and over again. I turned around to see what he wanted, and he asked, quite rudely, “are you wearing anything under that?” and pointed at my baggy jumper. I was wearing high waisted shorts. I know you wouldn’t normally wear this to Thorpe Park, but they’re the only comfy things I own at the moment, that manage to support my bag! Of course, it angered me, and kind of upset me, as he said it so loudly and so publicly, and people passing by stopped and stared. I was publicly embarrassed for something I wasn’t even aware of, never mind my bag! I didn’t say much back, I just mumbled “they’re the only things I can wear right now”. I really wish I’d stood up for myself. And I can’t help but think, if I was physically disabled and obviously only able to wear these clothes would you have pointed it out in front of a group of strangers? I was upset and paranoid, I felt like everyone was staring at me. But I decided I couldn’t let one silly guy ruin my day, I deserved a good day out after everything!

photo(1)We got to Stealth and waited 20 minutes before going on. This one I was a little anxious about, as I didn’t know if the speed would put added pressure on my stomach. But of course, it was fine. I’d managed to go on so many rides with no issue, so I was feeling pretty confident with my bag.

Note to self – never be too confident with anything. We went on Rush next, a big swing that just gives you a lap bar. The attendant wasn’t aware of my situation, and I hadn’t told him, so pushed the bar into my lap so hard. It was excruciatingly painful. I screamed “FUUUUUUCK” without realising, and had a whole crowd of people looking at me and laughing. It didn’t stop there either, as I felt so unsecured whilst on the ride, I ended up grabbing some random guy next to me and screaming at him “I”M NOT LETTING GO OF YOU”. He wasn’t impressed.
After that ride I was pretty tired out. I think there’s only so much you can do. We sat for an hour and had coffee, trying to settle my stomach. But I ended up just feeling too achy to do much more. We did Swarm one more time because it seemed to be the easiest ride on my stomach, and left around 3.30pm.

photo 2So, as you can tell, it was a really, really good day. The staff were so lovely and so helpful (the one’s I remembered to tell about the situation) and I was able to go on pretty much anything. My bag behaved all day and the only aches I’m feeling are the ones telling me I had too much fun! I’m so proud of myself for doing this, because I’ve just proved to myself I’m capable of doing anything – and so early too!

Oh, and in answer to the question, what happens when you go to Thorpe Park with an ileostomy bag? Nothing. Fucking nothing. Sorry to disappoint!


My First Bag Leak – HELP!

It was 10pm last night and I was sat wrapped up in my towel after having a shower. I had my cat cuddled up with me and we were watching a film. I’d just put a fresh bag on, after having loads of trouble with my stoma whilst in the shower. I’d been sitting down for an hour, putting off getting up out of pure laziness, telling myself “I’ll get dressed in 10 minutes”… every 10 minutes later.

My cats started meowing at me to be fed, so I got up to sort them some dinner. It was then I felt some dampness on my towel. I’d been sat down for over an hour, so wasn’t sure what this wet feeling was. I looked under my towel and saw a complete mess of a bag. I got so upset. I know it’s normal, but I’m in my 6th week of recovery now and I hadn’t experienced a leak yet! I wasn’t prepared for this either obviously, as I’d only just changed my bag an hour before!

I felt so frustrated as I’ve been having so much trouble with my stoma the past couple of days, it’s been hard work having showers without my bag, and I’m at my wits end with ideas on how to soothe my skin! The skin around my stoma is red raw and every product I have used on it so far has not worked. I’m just starting up with something new and hoping for better results!

I put my dissapointment to the back of my mind and rushed around the flat to grab a fresh bag, a template to cut to the size of my stoma and some adhesive remover to get rid of the leaking bag. Once everything was ready and I was able to clean myself up a little I jumped straight in the shower. And started the whole routine all over again!

I must admit I did feel like I wanted to cry a little bit, I felt I’d been doing so well and this just ruined it for me. I guess I was just having one of those evenings where everything felt like the end of the world so having to deal with a leak wasn’t really what I wanted to spend the night sorting out. But these things happen and you just have to get over them, even though it was a little disheartening, as I hadn’t really had many problems with my bag before. At least I’ll be a little more prepared for it in the future – it’s just lucky I was at home whilst it happened!

A Very Hungover Stoma & Public Toilets

Firstly, I must apologise for not posting this weekend. I’m just beginning my sixth week of recovery and I decided it was time to go out properly! I’d finished any medication and was feeling pain free so thought – why not?

Firstly, my plan was to meet my best friend for a couple of hours for a couple of drinks. A couple of hours turned into the night and a couple of drinks turned into 3 bottles of wine and some shots.. I don’t how I was still standing as the night progressed!

It was nice feeling normal again. I wore a nice dress and I didn’t feel as if people were staring at my stomach. Of course, if they didn’t know, they wouldn’t look – but beforehand it had felt like everybody could guess. I felt it was seriously visible.

After drinking the first bottle of wine I think I got a little too brave and decided we should go for an indian. Another bottle of wine consumed before even receiving our meal, I ate like a horse when it finally came! With everything going on, all the laughs, the drinks, the food, I forgot to check my bag. I was actually standing at the bar for a good 20 minutes (getting free drinks from the waiter) with a full bag! Which of course, I found completely hilarious.

We got a lift back to my friends and as we were driving home, spotted somebody we knew outside another pub. My friend dragged me in, and I had to squeeze myself through a crowd of people being careful that my overly ballooned bag didn’t accidentally explode on them!

Throughout my recovery, every time I have needed to use a toilet whilst out, I have used a disabled toilet. I was nervous to use the public toilets, as I wasn’t sure how loud things would be, and there wasn’t enough space for everything if I needed to clean myself up entirely. Without much choice on this end, I braved the public toilets. Nerves ate my stomach as I walked into bathroom full of other girls my age? What if they heard me and laughed? I entered the toilet and prepared myself for public embarrassment, but nothing bad happened. I managed to drain my bag and clean myself up without anybody knowing. I felt normal, just like I’d been to the toilet like everybody else. The whole build up of nerves was totally unnecessary!

The night went on and a couple of comments were made that did hurt me a little bit, but then I think I have to remember that not everybody understands, and they probably didn’t mean to be hurtful.

Nothing was more painful than the following day though! Why, oh why didn’t I prepare myself for this?! I woke up after 4 and a half hour sleep with a pounding headache, and the need to drain my bag. It was literally so full I felt it was dragging me to the floor as I stumbled to the toilet. This wasn’t the most pleasant of things to do at 7am, whilst I’m feeling ridiculously sick and still have a load of alcohol in my system! And of course, pretty sure I was still drunk, managed to make a mess in my friends bathroom. Great. After cleaning myself (and the toilet) up, I crawled back into bed (with a much lighter bag!) and fell asleep until 11.30am. I needed that sleep. Although it didn’t do me much good, as I still woke up wanting to crawl into a hole and sleep for a lifetime!

My friend had made soup for lunch, which I imagined to be a great hangover cure. Sat down with both her and her mum eating, my bag decides to hate on me for drinking so much the night before. It was so angry at me for drowning it with that much toxic! And it was made pretty clear how furious it was by the amount it was screaming at me whilst I was trying to eat. I ended up having to excuse myself from the table, totally ashamed. (And totally amused.)

The afternoon was spent filling and emptying my bag. It was my payback, I deserved it. I know. I was taken home and I managed to shower and get ready to go back to my flat to see my boyfriend. I had a headache and sore eyes for the rest of the night, but it was made a little easier by a huge roast dinner cooked by my boyfriends mum – my bag actually behaved during this one!

All in all, my hangover was totally worth it. I had thrown myself back into a normal situation and really enjoyed myself. I feel like I’m really getting my life back!

My First Month With An Ileostomy Bag – No Toilet For 4 Weeks!

Well, I did it! I made it through the hardest part of this whole experience. My first month with an ileostomy bag! It may not seem like much to you, but it is one of my biggest achievements. This month has been one of the toughest, longest, most heartbreaking yet positively fulfilling months of my life. I had good days, I had bad days, and I had days where I thought my world was ending. I’ve learned new things, I’ve missed old things and I’ve experienced a whole other level of toilet gate…

I have now not been to the toilet naturally in 4 weeks. How strange. But I still get strange urges, apparently it’s a spasm in my small bowel. Worst. Feeling. Ever. Wearing the bag is not so bad anymore, I’m not noticing it as much. Except for when it blows up to the point I’m scared it’s going to burst. Like today. During a meeting – I don’t think they noticed though. (I hope).

I’ve had to get used to so many different things, that at this age you just don’t expect to have to get used to. But hey, when life gives you lemons… make lemonade – flat lemonade in my case, as I currently can’t drink fizzy drinks in case my bag becomes one big carbonated air balloon.

I’ve now looked at the end of my own intestine over 30 times. That’s an odd fact right? I’ve seen it so many times that I’m actually starting to believe it’s talking to me. I’ve named it Nelson. Apparently everyone names their stoma, as it makes it easier to deal with. In my case, I just hated calling Nelson an “it”. I feel ‘Nelson’ is a much more appropriate name.

In other news.. I’m making the papers! I had an interview with The Sun, which is being published this weekend. I also had a very important meeting today, which holds some even more exciting news.. which I cannot wait to reveal once all is confirmed!

All in all, this month has been one I’ll never forget, never regret, and will always look back on. It’s amazing what life can throw at you, but you’ve got to smell the shit before you smell the roses, right? Literally…

I’d Really Actually Just Like To Cry

I spent ages attempting to title this post. Trying to make it sound interesting and worth reading but it’s probably not. I’m not sure if it’s just night time that’s doing this to me or the fact that the later it gets the less people there is to talk to, seeing as lately I’m the only one staying up all hours of the night. I hate night time. I dread it the moment I wake up. Just because I know, no matter how hard I try, that I won’t be able to fall asleep. I just can’t. And then the tireder I get, the more frustrated I feel. And then I blame the medication, and then I blame my bag. And suddenly everything is my body’s fault.

I’m going insane from a combination of lack of sleep, constant pain and a bad diet, weighed down with an unavoidable bout loneliness. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me they’re there for me, I can’t shake off the idea that people are just pretending. That people are just taking pity on me. How long until nobody cares again?

I miss sleeping through the night and not having to sleep alone.

I hate the fact I’ve sat in bed for 4 days doing nothing but eating.

I hate feeling this alone.

I’d really actually just like to cry.

Why It’s Important To Love Yourself Before It’s Too Late

It seems we spend such a huge part of our lives trying to improve ourselves, trying to impress other people. But do we ever just sit back and think, “damn, I’m pretty fucking fabulous“?

Why do we feel this need to seek anothers approval?

Why do we spend so long searching for another thing to hate about ourselves before finding the good? The good that is staring back at us every day, and being ignored and overshadowed by this false sense of negativity.

When you’re given your life back, after being hit in the face with the fear of death, things become so much clearer. Things that I’ve been pushing away for most of my life. It makes you realize that life is short, and that life is precious. When that is nearly taken away from you, your mentality changes and all you want to do is live life the way you should’ve been doing all of those years before.

So just take a moment, and look at yourself. Think about what you’re doing, where you’re going. If you don’t like yourself, change. Be somebody you’re proud to be. If somebody doesn’t like that? Fuck them. If you don’t like what you’re doing, quit. Work hard to find what makes you happy. Try new things. Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid. Do something that makes you so crazily happy that you wake up everyday ready for whatever the day brings you. Don’t become succumbed to somebody else’s lifestyle.

And you know what? You are fucking beautiful, so stop finding shit to cry about. It’s not all about your hair and makeup, how toned your body is, how flat your stomach is.. some of us live with a bag on ours! If you’re not happy, change, until you can walk down the street and smile at every stranger you see, knowing that people are bouncing off of your positivity.

It’s a shame that it took nearly losing my life to make me appreciate it, but let me tell you, I’ve never appreciated myself more. I’m finally looking further than my reflection, I’m digging deeper into finding what I’m passionate about, I’m searching for what makes me happy. I’m living in the moment, taking each day as it comes.

Why I Hate Sharing A Bed With My Ileostomy Bag

I’ve started to dread night time. Not because I’m currently sleeping alone, not because I’m scared of the dark, but because I cannot stand having to share my bed with my bag!

I’m so used to sleeping on my stomach, and now I have to compromise and toss and turn every 10 minutes just to keep the bloody thing happy. Before, I could happily sleep in until 1pm, now, my bag wakes me up within 4 hours of being asleep to drain it – no matter what time I’d gone to sleep. I wake up every single morning with what looks like a whoopie cushion spiked with helium. It honestly looks as if it trying to fly me away. Of course, this adds to my stomach pains where my skin is being pulled down by the weight.

Night time also seems to be the time when I’m most hungry. Unable to subside my cravings, especially with the constant need for steroids, (which are making me balloon up like tweedle dee & tweedle dum by the way) I end up eating until I feel sick no matter how many times I tell myself no. They say to stop eating at least 2 hours before you go to sleep… I wish I listened. Of course I won’t though, I’m eating a packet of hula hoops as I speak.

Sleeping just 4 – 5 hours a night is definitely taking it’s toll, also. I haven’t moved from my bed in 3 days and in that time my only achievement is demolishing 3 whole packets of the same biscuits. That’s telling you something isn’t it.

And, to add to just all of this commotion, I can’t believe that when I go back home I’m going to have to share a bed with my boyfriend and my bag. How is this fair? Why couldn’t my bag come with a separate bed? (And my boyfriend).

I’m Scared, Sad, but Trying. I really am trying.

It’s so strange having people messaging me paragraphs of compliments, calling me an inspiration, thanking me for speaking out. It makes me kind of sad that they have to thank me. I wish everyone could just feel okay with change. Ironically though, I’ve never been good with change. In fact, I’m not sure if I’m dealing with my current change because I have to, because I want to make a difference or because I really am okay with it.

I tell myself I’m okay on a daily basis. I tell all you guys I’m fine and I blog about strength, embracing your body and being proud of what we’re fighting against. You see, all of that is truth. It’s how I feel and it’s what I really do believe in. I currently feel shadowed with guilt for having such negative emotions right now. I’m worried you’ll think I’m denying you the truth of what’s inside my head, but I’m honestly not. I do feel the benefits of what this experience has bought me and I do feel proud of each and every one of us. I really am trying.

I just can’t shake this single sense of loneliness. No matter how much I blog about it, no matter how many people I speak to online, it still dawns on me that I don’t know anybody personally in the same situation. Nobody can sit with me and just hug me and tell me I’ll be okay, like they’ve experienced what I have, like they know how I feel completely; like they know what to say and what to make me think to make it all just become my normality.

Everyone’s telling me I’m doing so well; what with me being in the early stages and all. But what if I’m not doing well? What if I’ve just tried so hard to block out every other emotion, that I’ve become numb to how I’m really feeling? What if one day all of these emotions just comes crashing down on me at once and I don’t know how to deal with it? What if I haven’t given myself time to grieve part of my body? If I suddenly contradict everything I’ve said and become this big mess of a person? What if I’m not okay? What if?

I’m just scared. And sad. And trying. I really am trying.