Hi, I hope everybody had a lovely Christmas!
I cannot believe that this time last year all this was a pipe dream and my blog wasn't even launched yet! So much has happened this year and I have met such awesome, inspiring people on my journey that I am proud to call my friends. A lot of these posts were inspired by you guys and by my own experiences so thank you for contributing :) I have always said If one person can find some identification and hope in my posts then I have done my job.
For something a bit different, I thought I would write a post looking back at my top 10 blog posts for this year, that have had the most traffic.
I was really nervous publishing this blog post back in March. I never realised it would have gone down so well and help bring awareness to ostomates about stoma prolapses. I actually wrote this post back in 2016 when another refashion surgery had failed and I struggled to wrap my head around it all. My acceptance around my prolapse and hernia is much better, now that surgery is no longer an option. I still get the odd down days especially if it is painful or very large but I try to push through those times.
After changing my prolapsed stoma in front of Steve he was fascinated with my routine (being an ostomate as well) and encouraged me to do a YouTube Video showing the unusual way I have to change my bag. I believe that writing this post and engaging with other ostomates with prolapses helped me move on and get on with life, with Mr prolapse in tow!
This only went live 2 weeks ago and has generated a lot of traffic already. Since 2015 the local Clinical Commisioning Groups have released Stoma prescribing guidelines and formulary list for all primary care prescribers in their areas. I wrote this post after receiving more and more emails from ostomates struggling to get their prescriptions signed, products altered or stopped. I conducted a mini research project and correlated all the areas that ostomates were affected onto a map highlighting my findings. More and more ostomates are getting affected and I wanted to outline where you should go if this happens to you. Saying this we do have a responsibility not to order more than we need and to do our bit. More detailed research is definitely needed to try and take this issue higher especially if the plans to standardise the pouches starts to get implemented.
I wrote this in June during a hospital visit where yet again more healthcare professionals did not know what a urostomy was. I was very frustrated and came up with the idea to produce a poster of urostomates showing their bags to raise awareness that not all stomas are due to bowel difficulties. Within 2 days I had 24 amazing men and women send me their photos and displayed them as a poster. Some of these pictures were the first time they had ever taken a picture with their bag. Can I just say that the level of support from everybody in the ostomy community for this poster was very overwhelming and helped push the campaign to new levels. Thank you to everybody who was involved and who shared the poster :)
I enjoyed writing about this subject because as a child I used to love swimming. I always felt in my element gliding in the water truly at one with myself. Due to complications with my stomas and multiple surgeries, I have not always been allowed to swim but now that surgery is no longer an option for the prolapse swimming is ok. In this post, I covered my preparation techniques that I do to help feel more secure during a swim or a spa.
I love my baths and so I decided to write a blog post about this especially after during a hospital admission I overheard a nurse tell a patient with a stoma that they can never bath again! This is simply not true and if your scar is healed and is not weeping then there is no reason not to enjoy a relaxing bath. I was shocked by the nurse's lack of knowledge that resulted in another ostomate who had their stoma for 5 years had never bathed since his surgery because he was told he wasn't allowed to. Fortunately, this is not everybody's experience and many ostomates commented to say their doctors and nurses insisted in the importance of bathing and even with the bag off to help the peristomal skin. Personally, I bath with my bags on due to the prolapse but lots of ostomates do and love the freedom for a few minutes.
Published in February this was one of my first posts talking about the different types of night drainage systems. I also covered why it is important to use a night drainage system to avoid backflow and reflux to the kidneys at night. However some people prefer to not be tethered to the bed and opt not to use one but this is not recommened.
Again, an informative post about all the different urinary diversions available. It can be quite complicated so I tried to present this post as simply as I could.
My good friend and fellow Double Bagger Louise Pearce wrote this post because I was in the hospital with sepsis. It was very informative and covered all different alternatives to help prevent infections.
This post is extremely important because lots of GPs still think it is ok to take a sample from an already used urostomy pouch. This is not the case and the ideal way is to use a catheter to get a clean sample. However, in reality, this is very difficult and most nurses are not trained to catheterise stomas so the second best method is to place the sample pot under your bare stoma (without touching it) and catching the urine. It is our responsibility with a urostomy to educate the doctors on the correct procedure. This shouldn't be the case but unfortunately, urostomates are still unknown among some healthcare professionals. This is a subject I am passionate about and I am currently trying to find a way to implement urostomy education for healthcare professionals in the future. If you would like to help with this and have a urostomy then please drop me an email.
Again this subject is very close to my heart as mentioned above and this was a page on my website. I have noticed a big change this year, more companies are acknowledging urostomates and ostomy advocates are using #urostomys in their posts which helps with raising awareness. This really warms my heart and proves that we are changing things slowly.
Thank you once again to everybody who has contributed, commented and re-shared. A big thank you goes to Stephie Simpson aka Colitis to Ostomy for proofreading my work. I am eternally grateful because writing doesn't come easily to me with my dyslexia.
I hope you have enjoyed my posts and if there is anything you would like me to write about please let me know :)