Last year I wrote a blog post titled \u2018What a Year\u2026\u2019 well, I think this year has definitely trumped 2017!\r\nIt never ceases to amaze me just how things work out exactly how they are meant to! Sometimes, this may not be the way we would like at the time but ultimately down the line, we see the reason why it went a particular way.\r\nLast year across my social media I talked about not having any resolutions for 2018 (I just do not keep them) Instead, I came up with a theme and that was \u2018Stepping out of my comfort zone\u2019\r\nBoy...have I done that this year!!\r\n \r\nTravelled abroad 4 times with Coloplast \r\n\r\nUntil this year, I was very resistant to fly a mixture of lots of hospital admissions for sepsis and many prolapsed stoma operations over the years all added to being too scared to take that leap. This was until the opportunity arose in January to fly to Gran Canaria with Steve to take part in a lifestyle video shoot about the new SenSura Mio Concave pouch.\r\nThat trip will always be a pinnacle moment for me because it was the moment I realised to never let my stomas hold me back again especially on my dreams! Since then I have been to Copenhagen 3 times to speak at different Coloplast corporate events and even changed my prolapsed stoma on stage in front of 900 nurses which was daunting but I am so glad I did it.\r\n\r\n\r\nPublic Speaking\r\n\r\nAt the beginning of the year, I wanted to challenge myself regarding \u2018Public Speaking\u2019 and to do this more. I would say this is still a work in progress and I am constantly improving but in the future, the ultimate dream would be to deliver a TEDx talk.\r\nHowever, when I think about last year at Purple Wings ball where I spoke for 2 minutes about 'The IBD and Ostomy Support Show' where I could hardly get my words out I think I have improved quite a bit. This year has seen me deliver close to 20 presentations or talks and I have to say I really do enjoy them. I persevered when some didn\u2019t go as well as others and saying yes to every opportunity to present. I think reframing my thinking around public speaking definitely helped and now I really do enjoy it! I am excited to announce I am a keynote speaker at a few events next year which is exciting!\r\n\r\nWinning a National Award \r\n\r\nWinning the 'National Diversity Award' award was the big surprise of 2018. I was nominated for \u2018Positive Role Model for Disability\u2019 and then when I got shortlisted I felt so blessed to be picked and didn\u2019t even think I would have a slight chance of winning. I felt like a winner just by attending the incredible event (you can read more about it here). Experiencing that evening and winning that award will forever be a highlight for me. It represented more than a label or a trophy for me instead it showed how far I have come and also I felt like it was a win for the stoma community and another avenue for stoma awareness as a whole.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nInvolved more with Bournemouth Hospital \r\n\r\nI mentioned at the beginning of this post that I believe things happen for a reason and regarding my work in Bournemouth Hospital, this is very true. In 2017 I put a complaint in after witnessing some questionable practice but at the time I had no idea what would come from it and the doors that have now opened. I was asked to talk to the department about what I witnessed and also reminded them what it can be like for a patient.\r\nSince then I became Bournemouth Hospital\u2019s first \u2018patient Voice Volunteer\u2019 and getting more involved in co-production. One aspect of this role is being a patient partner to The Director of Operations since the summer which has been a very interesting and enlightening experience. I am excited to see what will happen in 2019.\r\n\r\nFab Social media\r\n\r\nSince October I have been running the Academy of Fab NHS Stuff social media and I have really enjoyed this. I have learnt so much sharing best practice in the NHS across many different trusts. If you want to find out a bit more about this here is the link to the Fab Awards post I wrote.\r\nI have noticed since starting this I have not been writing as many blog posts so I will try and get on top of this in the New Year and continue to post regularly on this blog.\r\n\r\n\r\nResearch and Urostomy Awareness\r\n\r\nMany of you may know about my little crusade regarding Urostomy Awareness and I am so chuffed companies are including us so much more which really does warm my heart.\r\nOne of the projects close to my heart has been \u2018Urostomy Awareness Amongst HealthCare Professionals \u2013 A Patient\u2019s Perspective Study\u2019 this came together after some preliminary research that was conducted and some great consultants came on board to back this and make it an official study. This was a proud moment for me and also being able to present the preliminary research at the ASCN (Association Stoma Care Nurse) conference and at the BAUN (British Association Urology Nurse) conference. Urostomates are getting their voices heard and that makes me feel really proud and hopefully, once the study has been written up we can start to close the knowledge gap.\r\n\r\n\r\nOnly 3 Hospital Admissions!\r\n\r\nEvery year my number of admissions and time in the hospital is reducing which is great! I still have a few ongoing problems with one being the number of kidney infections I am getting and the amount of sepsis I have had but I am so pleased that even though I have been very busy this year my admissions are the lowest it has been for years. I am hoping this will continue for next year. I still bury my head in the sand regarding my health but I do think this is getting better.\r\nLastly, I just want to say thank you for everybody that takes the time to read my blog and for your support this year. Also, a shout out to many friends I have made along the way that I wouldn\u2019t have met if I didn\u2019t have my stomas. Also, to Stephie aka Colitistoostomy for pro.\r\nThank you, 2018 it has been a pleasure with much learning. Bring on 2019 and my new theme of \u2018assertivenes\u2019.