We had the most fantastic weekend away. We were invited to my best friend Michelles' daughters 21st birthday, they decided to change the location for her 21st and held the party at their holiday home in Norfolk.
We decided to make a weekend of it and drove up on the Friday night. The boys came too, Ben brought his friend along, as James is friends with Michelle's children too and Sam brought his girlfriend Milly along. So the 6 of us hired a house for the weekend.
It was such a fun weekend. Even Pepper came too which was lovely as I hate leaving her behind.
We spent Saturday chilling, took a visit to the arcade for the slot machines, a trip to the Sea Life Center followed by Scampi and chips at our favourite pub in Old Hunstanton that we always go to when we've been to Michelle's holiday home. Then off to the party for an amazing night.
We love Michelle and Mike and their family like they were our own. Having been friends for 21 years, friends are family.
Michelle's sister Gina and her fiancé Paul are just smashing and Gina's children are all gorgeous and amazing people and I love catching up with them.
Mike's sister Maria and her hubby Martyn flew in from their home in from Dubai as a surprise for 24 hours just for Elle's party! I adore them.
Mike and Michelle certainly know how to throw a party, I do believe hands down they're the best we've ever been to! And this party didn't disappoint, it was so lovely to catch up with everyone, new and familiar faces alike.
It was at their son's 18th party that I had my last drop of alcohol, which at the time of writing this blog was 1 year, 1 month, 19 days and 18 hours ago!! Yes it was that good a party...or so I'm told!! Hahahahahahahahah...
I bought this outfit in Macy's in NYC when we went in September. I've never worn such bold statement trousers before but I really loved them. I thought they made a nice change. I had to go a size up as the size that fit me perfectly would have left no poo room and that's just a too dangerous game to play. Leaks are not fun, they happen of course but I find it best not to play poo Russian roulette ;)
Though I no longer drink (which is a blessing for all) I'm sure they'd agree I still manage to have fun. You can get high on the energy in a room and this room was full of it.
Then Sunday was just heaven, Chris, Ben and I went to the beach at Old Hunstanton, it's amazing, so big, so beautiful and on this particular windswept morning it was the best I've ever experienced it. We took Pepper for a run, and run she did, she's not the most obedient dog in the world but she did ok, besides apart from a couple of kite surfers there was no one else there. I love the beach, but I particularly love beaches in winter. If you've never been to the North Norfolk coast I would highly recommend a visit. It is stunning.
We followed the walk with a well deserved cuppa and a cake at the little beach cafe and then headed back to the house where the others had started to recover from the night before. Then out for more time on the arcade slot machines, Sam did particularly well winning lots of little fluffy toys that will need binning in a couple of months time I'm sure. All finished off with another trip to The Ancient Mariner Pub for a Sunday roast. I tell you this is what life was made for.
The weekend went so well we're going to book another trip up there.
Originally it was just going to be us and the boys and then they said about bringing James and Milly. Which was no problem at all apart from the fact I still struggle being comfortable changing my bag in the house with anybody but my immediate family ~ Chris, Sam and Ben.
It's something that I have never got used to. Yes, I realise we all have to use the loo but a bag can be on for up to 24 hours, which intensifies the smell. Bag change time is tricky enough without the added stress and embarrassment of guests staying over. It's now been made all the more difficult by NHS cut backs which means I'm no longer entitled to free specially formulated air freshener. It's made specifically for stoma users, the droplets are larger than normal room sprays and they absorb smell far better. (Believe me when I say a normal air freshener won't cut it. I went away to a spa weekend with Michelle years ago and I took normal air freshener, the combination of the bag change and that spray was making us gag, it was actually worse than just the bag change alone! I gave up using it in the end). So the medical grade stoma sprays are vital to add confidence and give some dignity to ostomy users.
I count myself lucky that 1. I still get my bags supplied and 2. I can afford to buy the spray, even if I'm miffed about losing it on the NHS. There are only blessings to surviving this bastard disease but there is also a lot of collateral damage and many hidden costs.
On that note I recently donated to a charity in America that provides Colostomy and Ileostomy supplies to people who have needed the stoma operation but their insurance doesn't cover bags, leading numbers of people with no choice but to use carrier bags and duct tape....unimaginably cruel in a wealthy country. Just think about it for a moment, let it sink in and think about all that it would imply. You literally couldn't have any quality of life, it would be an existence not a life. You wouldn't be able to work, or go anywhere. It's embarrassing enough to have a leak whilst using a proper colostomy bag, can you imagine using a taped on carrier bag?
I consider myself as a very lucky person, I really really am. Some luck you make by working hard and some is just luck luck. I feel incredibly blessed to still have a good life, with my incredible husband, who lights up my world. My gorgeous boys and being surrounded by lovely loving friends.
Any of my US readers wishing to find out more about the stoma supplies charity please go to Ostomy Connection or Go fund me and search for Christine Kim...