I’m a very lucky lady, I have a brain that doesn’t work the same as most others, and in my adult life for the most part it’s worked out rather well, it did however make my school years painful, isolating, confusing and depressing.
Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and more notably in my case Dyscalculia blighted my entire academic career, apparently that sort of thing didn’t get picked up on in those days. My issues only came to light when Sam, my eldest was confirmed to have dyslexia when he was 7, whereupon I researched everything I could about it, leaving no stone unturned for getting him help and opened up Pandora’s box for myself). But the past is the past and I quite like my brains odd take on the world now. And what I found to be a curse through school I now consider a great blessing. We have found peace with each other. In fact I think it’s why Chris and I are so blissfully suited, he has the academic smarts and I bring the a different dimension. It works beautifully. Hahahahaha
When you lack certain aspects of the basic ability to learn your brain has a chance to come up with weird and wonderful ways around issues and problems that arise.
I’m incredibly intuitive, empathetic, sometimes manipulative and an often excellent problem solver. I see the world differently. Nothing is as simple as black and white...and there’s always a cunning (possibly sneaky) way to get the job done.
One very simple example I can give you is we recently re-gravelled our drive way, there’s no other way to exit our house without trudging through the bloody stuff. Now when you spend as much as I do (well Chris, but you know what I mean) on shoes, walking through gravel to get anywhere is unthinkable...so...
.....shoe covers people!! come on, it’s obvious really.
Dress from The White Company, Bag from LV, Shoes from Chloé...fetching shoe covers from Amazon.
No more tears about scuffs and scrapes. :)
Keep them by the front door and then ball them up in the car or handbag once you’re across and you’re good to go.
On this particular day last week I was heading to the airport (more on that later) for a quick trip to our Spain house.
Blue covers removed for travel, I’ve not totally lost the plot Howard Hughes style quite yet.
Notice my happy little face just before I enter the airport (again, more on that to come).
I chose a comfortable dress to fly in. It’s best to not restrict the flow of the bag for fear it could lead to mishaps. No one wants that on the ground let alone at thirty thousand feet in the air.
Off I headed to sunny Spain by myself, I get far more holiday than Chris, seeing as I retired from work about 22 years ago. For years I was scared (nigh on phobic) of flying, and I despise driving but what’s the point of having a little house in the sun if you’re too afraid to go and use it. So I dug deep and reprogrammed my fears and dislikes, they’re still there but I am stronger than they are.
Besides once I get to Spain for a significant part of the journey I’m the only car on the road in either direction, can you imagine traveling 44km’s in England and not seeing another soul? It really is a joy to drive there, even for me.
My darling cousin Emma hated the beach dress below so much so she bought me the very beautiful coral one above. The Zara one below has been subject to much hate online...hahahahaha...yes it’s brightly coloured, shapeless and looks like something Margot from The Good Life would wear but other than that what’s all the hating on it for!? Hahahahaha it actually does the job, it’s a beach cover and it’s so big it could literally cover the beach. ;)
Should anyone not feel physically sick at the sight of this kaftan it’s from Zara. ;)
I spent a few blissful days lapping up the sun...I mean cleaning the house ready for Chris’s arrival! ;)
But the holiday only really begins when this gorgeous man arrives a few days after me.
Bikini from Ann Summers, yes I’m as surprised as you are to find Ann Summers do great swimwear.
I did have concerns the metal parts would heat up under the glare of the sun and brand me. But my fears were unfounded. It was perfectly comfortable and felt very sassy! And who doesn’t want to feel a little bit sassy sometimes! :)
And an impulse buy at a garden center in Spain saw us buy an tiny inflatable hot tub for the roof terrace of our little house. It’s absolute perfection. It gets so hot up there so it’s nice to have somewhere just for us to keep cool in.
This bikini is great but it’s a little more out there and glitzy than I’d usually go for, I probably look like mutton dressed as lamb but why not be bold and wear a bright colour. I’m proud of my 45 year old, mother of two, cancer surviving body! Flab and bag to boot. Ok, so I’m no Victoria Secrets model but then I wasn’t one pre bag either so nothings changed, what I am is content with my lot. And that is a precious commodity in this harsh, judgmental world.
Colostomy bags are waterproof, although the filter isn’t particularly but you can get little covers for them and you can wallow and keep cool with the rest of them.
I wore a stoma cap for this day. It’s a tiny little bag designed for people that flush, which I don’t so it can mean quite a few bag changes, but it does rather reduce the white bits for a (nearly) all over tan. Totally worth a bit of hassle I reckon. This would be more for colostomies rather than ileostomies though I imagine.
Dress from Tory Burch, Shoes from Ralph Lauren.
I just eat at home alone when I’m by myself, it’s only when Chris arrives that we go out to eat, so I make the most of those wonderful nights out eating amazing food. Though trips to the beach are rare when he arrives as the weirdo doesn’t love being by the sea!! He’s totally sand phobic, do not ever suggest a picnic on the beach to him, he’ll be sick I think. Hahahahaha
Bikini from Sainsbury’s, Beach dress (hope this one meets with your approval Gina and Emmy?) from TK Maxx, Flip flops from Havianas.
I had a little mini, mortifying nightmare on one of my days alone. I get in pickles like this a lot. I’m incredibly clumsy.
I went to the supermarket to get lunch. As I came out of there a huge gust of wind blew my sun dress up. I grabbed at it and in doing so I must have tugged on one side of my string bikini and undid it!
I’m now standing there bikini bottoms falling off. Trying to carry my 2 bags of shopping, hold my dress down and more importantly my knickers on!
I can’t express the emotions I felt...and even more so when I rang and told my nearest and dearest what horror had occurred...and they promptly fell about laughing. Hahahahaha
Fast forward to a night out with Chris a few days later. I love this dress but I do feel a little precarious in it due to its length, I didn’t want a repeat of the supermarket incident but still wanted to wear it...
...an easy peasy solution to this little problem. Chris’s underwear!! Perfect size and fit to be comfy, my god men’s undies are sooooo comfy and all modesty completely covered in case of blustery gusts!
Of course the best way to save my blushes from wind assaults is to wear the summer staple, white jeans.
Top from M&S, Jeans from Topshop, Shoes from Chloé
We had a fantastic holiday, despite the tricky return due to thunderstorms all over Europe, I look forward to heading back there in a couple of weeks time.
If you stumble across a problem in life it’s best to take charge and try and make it better. Now don’t get me wrong, I realise my irritation doesn’t compare to famine or war but it is bloody annoying and totally unacceptable.
I have had continuous hassle going through security at Stansted airport. It’s been going on some time and I have been foolish enough to let it continue. But enough’s enough. Below is a copy of a letter to the Chief Excutive of Stansted airport.
Dear Mr. O’Toole
I am writing to you as I have just about had enough of the discriminatory application of your security procedures.
Let me first explain my position. In 2010 I was diagnosed with advanced stage bowel cancer at the age of 36. I had all the usual nasty medicine and an operation to make a colostomy. Thankfully I got lucky and won the battle. Since then I have lived life to the full. Including traveling where ever, when ever I can.
This joie de vivre is some what dampened when coming through your security at your airport.
If you are in possession of any research which shows findings that ostomites are any more likely to be criminals than regular non bagged people then please share those findings with the rest of us. Because I am getting fed up to the back teeth of automatically being presumed guilty of terrorism, drug or diamond smuggling! I assure you if it was the latter I’d be wearing them in full view, subtle I am not!
In the last year alone I have been through security at Salzburg airport - twice, New York JFK, Murcia - 4 times, Gatwick , Heathrow and Las Vegas. In not one of those other airports have I faced the hassle I get going through Stansted!
The last 5 times through Stansted I have been overly pestered, and on one occasion I was walked (felt like marched) to a side room, where I thought I was going to suffer the indignity of a full cavity search. But what turned out to be another check with the magic wand (apparently the first time it was done and nothing showed up was not enough) and some form filling and box ticking. All the while I was in a state of trauma that I’d be strip searched or worse. And on another occasion at Stansted I explained to your security agent that I had a Stoma and that they needed to be less heavy handed because she actually caused me pain by patting me down so hard. I had to explain to her that a stoma is formed by turning the inside part of the bowel outside and fixing to your abdomen, therefore it’s very very sensitive needs gentle care, she didn’t grasp the concept at all.
I came through security last Wednesday afternoon only to be stopped yet again.
Now I totally understand that the scanner shows my colostomy bag up, I accept that. And I fully cooperated and explained to your member of staff that what showed up was my in fact colostomy bag.
She carried out a pat down, did the swab test with the wand, which I also accept is necessary to keep us safe.
She then turns to her co worker and says “shall I swab her colostomy bag now?”
To which he replied “up to you”
To which I interjected “errr, no, no you don’t!”
If nothing showed up on my hands or dress then how could I have loaded the suspected contraband into my stoma bag? And yes, by the way I was wearing a dress and a thong underneath how exactly was she planning on swabbing said bag and still preserving my modesty and dignity?!?
I am a tough old broad and not particularly sensitive about having a Colostomy but even I get nervous having to ‘run the gauntlet’ through your security. If cancer couldn’t take me down I don’t see why Stansted airport security staff should try to undermine my confidence on a regular basis.
If people with stoma’s are so likely to be criminals then surely so too are babies in nappies or women wearing sanitary wear as they too are designed to collect waste from the outside of the body and could just as easily be packed with god knows what your staff are looking for.
Do you swab every babe in arms and every menstruating woman? Are you planning on introducing those measures just to even up the suspicion?
Please, I beg of you, instruct your staff in a proper manor, through better training, compassion, human decency and a splash of common sense.
I live not far from the airport, which is why I travel through there so regularly. I’m happy to come along and assist with some sensitivity training should you wish.
I appreciate you were probably unaware of the treatment of ostomites at your facility. But now you are, it’s up to you to find an agreeable solution.
I want to be safe on a flight but I’m also a paying customer that expects to be treated the same as any other. Perhaps trained sniffer dogs at security would give you a more accurate finding than a scanner.
I know it can be a different experience because that’s what I have at every other airport I travel through.
I will be adding this letter to you on to my blog. I’d like to know other people experiences at airports, as I already know of two fellow ostomites that had similar issues through Stansted and no other airport.
As I said I’m happy to comply with being scanned, patted down (gently with consideration of my stoma) and swabbed.
I don’t expect any of the other nonsense I have to endure through your airport.
A copy of this letter was posted off today. I shall keep you up to date should I get any response.