Attending the hospital can be a frightening experience whether this is for surgery, an admission, chemotherapy, infusions or radiology investigations. You wait anxiously among strangers with little information and often instructed to undress into a hospital gown that can undermine your dignity and leave you feeling partially exposed.
I am sorry this is a few days late, I have had a very busy week. Welcome back to the 4th instalment of the #UroStories series. Today we have the lovely Donna Wood from Tyne and Wear who is 32 joining us. We connected last year and she has been a great support and is equally passionate about urostomy awareness. Also, Donna started the Urostomy Support Tyne and Wear/North East Facebook group for other urostomates in her area.
For the 3rd instalment of #UroStories, we have such an inspiring and lovely man called Rich Greene, who is 69 and lives in Columbus, Ohio, USA sharing his story. Rich touches on so many brilliant points in his answers that don't only effect urostomates but ostomates in general.
I have mentioned before that my theme for this year is ‘stepping out of my comfort zone’ I have already accomplished things I wouldn’t have done last year like public speaking, lifestyle shoot and going abroad. So, when Paige messaged me to ask if I would be a catwalk model for the Purple Wings event I just went with my theme and said ‘yes’ even though deep down I started doubting myself. I pushed those thoughts away and saw it as another experience to participate in.
Over the last few years, I have been a regular inpatient at Bournemouth hospital. In 2016 I spent 7 months all together as an inpatient and last year I was admitted 6 times. Thankfully my admissions are reducing but I am prone to sepsis which can come out of the blue and involves a prompt visit to my local A&E and an admission.
Welcome to the second instalment of #UroStories Series. Chris' story last week went down really well and today I am excited to introduce a lovely lady Sue Cavanagh from Norfolk who will share her story. Take it away, Sue!
I am so excited that Steve and I can officially talk about this product. Steve trialled this last summer and loved it. He was then asked to do a testimonial video in October. He mentioned to the team that I wanted to trial the product, since I have a hernia and prolapse, and they sent some samples out to me in December. We were then asked if we wanted to do a lifestyle shoot in Gran Canaria about how we met, our story and the new product. The experience was amazing, we loved every minute of it and it was the first time we have been abroad since our surgery. Hopefully, the film will be out soon.
I am excited to announce the start of my #UroStories (Urostomy Stories). I have wanted to do this for such a long time and finally I have got round to it. I am so overwhelmed with the response to my post asking for urostomates to fill my questionnaire to be presented in this series. I had more than 56 people interested which means this series should last a year on a weekly basis every Monday.
The first person I would like to introduce is an awesome guy who is actually a Double Bagger called Chris Livett and he has just started a blog called 2bags-NoButt (loving the name). Chris is 41 years old and lives in Bebington, Wirral, so take it away Chris:
It is no secret that since July last year I have done a LOT of travelling. Mainly to see my lovely man Steve who lives in Birmingham but also for stoma-related events and work. Most of my travelling involves going on the train because I cannot drive but I remember for years I used to worry about having a leak and emptying my stomas using the train toilet. This held me back from travelling for a very long time but since the Purple Wings ball last July I have been gently pushed into travelling more.
It can be really nerve-wracking travelling by train for the first time after ostomy surgery. When I looked for specific articles about this I couldn’t find much, so I thought I would share 10 tips to make travelling by train with an ostomy a little bit easier.
This is my 3rd post for my monthly series #SelfHelpBookReview. I cannot believe it is March already. I am so glad I started this series because it is giving me the motivation to read again and to actually finish reading the books which I struggled with last year.
So for this month’s review, I have picked a controversial book: “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay.
I have always struggled with confidence, in particular, trusting my gut instinct and trusting decisions I have made. I can see how much this has held me back so on the 4th February 2018 I took part in a 30-day course called ‘Confidence for Success’ by the amazing life coach Emma Dawson.
Last year on Facebook Emma’s sponsored advertisement popped up on my page and I was intrigued. So I liked Emma’s Facebook Page and I joined her Facebook group "Bring Your Dreams to Life" I found the group was very inspiring and I loved Emma’s live chats. I quickly realised regarding my blog and the advocating I do that sometimes I lack confidence and doubt myself. When Emma advertised this course something spoke to me and I decided to enrol to build and nurture my confidence.
Last week I wrote a post about ‘Body Confidence with a Stoma' talking about my experience of this and sharing the results of the poll I produced a few weeks ago. 59% of the 260 ostomates that took part said they had low body confidence with their stoma. This surprised me so I thought I would write a post sharing some tips that helped me improve my body confidence.
I would like to say that this does not happen overnight and I had to actively work on this part of myself. I was fed up of hating my body and how this low self-esteem seeped into every area of my life. Self-esteem describes how we think and feel about ourselves, and usually refers to the value we place on ourselves as a person. Unpleasant or stressful experiences can lower our self-esteem and positive experiences and achievements can help improve it.
One of the biggest challenges new ostomates face after surgery is dealing with an altered body image that can affect your confidence.
Having an ostomy is life-changing surgery, however, it does not need to stop you from living your life. It takes time to adapt and adjust to your stoma and different ostomates will be at different stages in this process. Some may have accepted it straight away and continue doing what they did before surgery but others may take a little while to find their confidence to do the things they did before.
As part of my monthly #SelfHelpBookReview series for October, I have read ‘The Untethered Soul – The Journey Beyond Yourself’ by Micheal A. Singer
I had read great things about this book and I was curious to see if it was as good as I had heard. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed and it has definitely added to my understanding of spirituality.
On Monday 12th February I had to have a flexible sigmoidoscopy on my remaining rectum and sigmoid colon. To say I was nervous is a total understatement...I was petrified! I remember having this procedure done before my ileostomy about 7/8 years ago but this still felt like the 'unknown' to me. I thought I would share my experience of having a flexible sigmoidoscopy talking about the preparation and what happened on that day for anybody else who may be in a similar position and face their first 'scope' since their stoma.
This year my theme for 2018 was ‘Stepping out of my Comfort Zone’ and I have to say I have started this off in style!
Many of you may have seen over my social media platforms that on the 22nd January Steve and I flew out to Gran Canaria for 5 days doing a lifestyle video shoot with Coloplast (sorry to be super secretive but all will be revealed soon).
I am a big believer that the universe works in magnificent ways and things happen for a reason; let alone that people enter your life for a reason. I very much feel this way with Steve and that our stoma bags found us love, but also I needed this little push to step out of my comfort zone and finally go abroad again.
I originally wrote this for my website last year. However in aid of Rare Disease Day on the 28th February this year I have decided to post this on my blog. Since my stomas were not due to IBD or cancer; I often felt on the outskirts, alone and unwanted. That all changed when I found the online stoma community – a community that was warm and welcoming regardless of how I came to have Bob and Squirt.
Throughout my life I have been told that I am a bit airy-fairy very much skipping through life then...oh look it’s a unicorn.
I don’t always pay attention to my body which with 2 stomas and other complications can be problematic sometimes. On Tuesday 9th January I had no choice but to listen...my ileostomy had stopped working and the pain was out of this world.
For the last few months I have slowly been reading an awesome and inspiring book... 'It Takes Guts" by Evelyne Brink – a story of love, hope and a missing bowel. Before I start I would like to say thank you to my landlord's wife Alexandra for sending me this book and connecting me on this path with Evelyne and Tuffel :)