It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Too soon for you maybe but not for me. :)

Last week was our Christmas preview event evening at work, where we launched our Christmas range and a few local shops came and set up mini stalls to sell their wares too, like a mini Christmas market. Although I don’t usually work in the store, I was called in to help out. My “work” is usually just the 45 minutes a week updating the social media for the Neptune store in Colchester.  

So it made a lovely change to be in the store with customers again, very occasionally I go in and help and I love it. 

The only down side was that I was working 3-10 pm, not a problem I hear you say, and you’d be absolutely right. But throughout the day my stoma becomes more and more active because I eat more and more food (yep, far too much food lately, I’ve piled on weight again so I need to get myself back in check) . 

The uniform is blue jeans and white top. I just felt there was no way I’d stay leak free in jeans what with output and weight gain it was going to be a dangerous game to play. So I chose a pair of smart, stretchy trousers. I felt a little more confident that my bag would last the duration of my shift. Far more so than I would have done in jeans, nothing in life is guaranteed but common sense dictates that stretchy soft trousers are going to give you a better chance of staying leak free.

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Top from Phase Eight, Trousers from Micheal Kors, Shoes from Gucci

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I had a cracking evening, I manned (womanned?) the raffle, with all money raised going to the local Neonatal Unit at Colchester General. I did my very best persuasion techniques to raise as much as I could for them, we managed to raise £515, our customers are incredibly kind and extremely generous. 

It was a really good event, but I have to say I’m my own worst enemy, there was a fancy deli displaying there products, of which I ploughed through my body weight in cheese. Seriously, my boss and friend Di was exasperated by the end because every time she saw me I was eating.  

I tend to lean towards veganism and definitely vegetarianism most of the time. But I couldn’t be full time vegan or vegetarian as I wouldn’t be able to give up cream and most definitely not cheese. I haven’t eaten red meat in 25 years, I’ll eat fish and occasionally chicken. I don’t miss meat in the slightest but cheese...I’d never turn my back on cheese. Hahahahaha 

My son’s girlfriend, Kaitlyn told me that switching food life style choices has got a name now, everything’s got a bloody name now, no one seems to be able to just be anymore I hahahahaha. Switching is called Flexatarian, but I prefer the name I came up with, I’m more of a Contrary-tarian.  

I really don’t need a name for what I do, I just do what I like. My lack of meat eating isn’t terribly much to do with animal welfare, I mean I’m not evil, I wish them no harm, but as it has been scientifically proven that plant based eating is better for you - therefore my decision is purely based on Suzy welfare.  

So a deli rocking up to our Christmas event evening was a blessing and a curse. The cheeses they brought along were off the chart amazing!! They needed to be well and truly tested. Hahahahaha 

And then came Saturday, we had a lovely pottering about the house morning and then got the train into London for a night out. 

We got into town a bit early so we went for a little mooch about the shops. 

I love bags, always have done really. Has my colostomy bag spurred on my passion for every type of bag? Possibly. My experience has made me more the type to live in the moment that’s for sure. I’ve had my eye on a specific make of bag for a while now, but they are a bugger to get hold of. The brand is incredibly canny, they have no online purchasing presence, and only one store in the UK.  It’s genius really on their part, their store always has a massive queue outside. Scarcity value goes a long way. 

Ironically their stores that I visited in San Francisco and Beverly Hills did not have queues or even any other customers, but I wasn’t ready to buy back in April.

After a considerable wait we finally got into the shop, I had a look at the bag that I was interested in and was happy to leave and come back nearer to Christmas to get it, but Chris was adamant that queuing to get into a shop was a one time thing. Can’t really blame him, I mean it’s for a bag for goodness sake not vital supplies hahahahaha. So I got the bag I wanted and Chris will just have to hide it away so I have a ‘surprise’ Christmas Day hahahahaha. 

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Top from Kate Spade, Trousers from Next, Boots from Russell and Bromley, Bag from Chanel. 

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Don’t ever fret that you won’t be able to dress well after stoma surgery, I feel that I do, and people have told me I do (and unless they were all fibbing) I’m pretty sure I manage to for the most part. 

Trial and error is the key, that and confidence that you’re still the fabulous, sassy you that you were before your op. Everything and nothing changed all at the same time, yes, I poo in a bag attached to my abdomen, but also yes I’m still me, the me I always was! 

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After a stressful but successful shopping trip (Chris loves shopping but has no patience to queue) we headed over to Covent Garden for dinner with friends, we decided to give Dishoom a try, it came highly recommended...and guess what, if you don’t book there’s usually an hours queue to get in! Hahahahaha, thankfully we booked. It’s an Indian restaurant but with a modern twist. Small plates, like tapas, everything’s to share. It comes out as it’s ready rather than starters, mains etc. 

The food was good, really good. I wasn’t the only one struggling to fit mine in my belly, but as the only ostomite in the group I was the only one struggling to fit poo in my very tight trousers. But I find if I pull the leggings up a bit once I’ve sat down I can create a small pocket for my output to fit into that I smooth down as and when, it sounds grim but it really isn’t, you just have to find a way that suits you best, because the alternative would be to stay home and not have friends...nevvvvvvver going to happen. I agree to most social events (apart from seeing the Spice Girls in concert next year, Chris and quite a few of our friends are going but I wasn’t a fan the first time round, I can’t see me wanting to go 20 years on). 

Dresses are easier to dine in, but leggings aren’t impossible. Eating in tight clothes does bring its challenges but I find it a very small price to pay for being alive and healthy and happy. I don’t mean to trivialise stoma owning. But for me it’s not something that occupies my mind at all times.  

I probably don’t even think about it when I’m changing my bag, it just becomes second nature. I actually find the old fashion way of toileting unappealing now. I’ve spent 8 years with a stoma, and apart from random loud outbursts of wind that I have no control of, I do get to decide when and where I change my bag for the most part.  

Having eaten masses of food and some very nice non alcoholic cocktails we set off for a walk to the tube, to say we needed the walk is an understatement. I’d eaten so much I had angered my hernia. A walk, preferably followed by a lie down is the best practice to mangage said hernia, but it’s highly unlikely that you’d be able to find somewhere to lay down on The London Underground. So I settled for a walk and a stand on the train back to our car.  

No harm done this time but I do think I might be pushing my luck. Eating little and often is the best practice of the ostomite. If only I’d listen to me.  

I wrote a blog a few weeks back about animal prints being a key pattern this winter. My friend turned up to dinner on Saturday night in a gorgeous zebra print blouse, she looked absolutely stunning and I told her so. She said she  had recently had an experience of going to dinner with some gal pals for a birthday night out only to find a vast majority of the guests dressed in many and various animal prints...she said it looked like a weird zoo tribute group outing, with the amount of leopards, tigers and snakes attending. Hahahahaha I think the photos would have looked fabulous, a safari without the risk of malaria or jet lag. 

Saturday night alone, with just 3 women in attendance was 1 zebra top, 1 snake skirt and I had a leopard print coat. 

 Photo by Tanya. 

Photo by Tanya. 

A cosy booth for 6 incredibly hungry/greedy people... 

 Photo by James, as Tanya is in it.  

Photo by James, as Tanya is in it.  

We’ll be heading back to a Dishoom very very soon, if you could see me right now you’d see I’m salivating at the thought. Hahahahaha