I went into work last week, usually I work from home but we were having an update meeting.
I was really excited to go in and get stuck in. I sat down with my boss, started tucking in to my Greggs Belgium bun and a cuppa when I was the suddenly aware of a rotten smell. A familiar, gut wrenching rotten smell.
I tried to ignore it, or perhaps I just went into denial and hoped it wasn’t happening.
But sadly it actually was. I mentioned it to my friend/boss Di, she was very calming (panic was beginning to rise at this point). She said she couldn’t smell it.
But I could and as we had a shop full of customers I was feeling rather distressed.
Dear lord why did it choose to do it now!? Today of all days, I spent the whole day before home alone why couldn’t the bag fail happen on that day rather than when I’m out in public.
I said it’s ok I’ll just pop to my car and change my bag, Di was having none of that and insisted I use the toilets there.
I popped up to the office to get my changing bag only to find it missing...I then remembered I’d put it in the car on Friday for the wedding as the handbag I took with me was too small to fit it in.
So there I am at work, stinking of poo with nothing to change into.
Now I was really getting a tad freaked out. Oh good idea sweating and stinking of poo is a fabulous combination. I suppose the only saving grace is that fear tends to be a cold sweat.
Di suggested I go to a chemist to pick up some supplies. Which would have been an absolute god send!
This might be a little known fact for the unbagged community but chemists don’t stock stoma supplies in the UK. Nothing, nada, not a one!
I find it a little scary and depressing that basically you’re on your own out in the big wide world. If you don’t bring your own spare supplies, that’s it you’re done.
It would be so handy to be able to pop into a chemists shop and buy in an emergency spare bags, bag release spray etc etc.
Anyway I am blessed that I work with incredibly nice people. They’re all so lovely. I explained what had happened and they were very kind.
I stayed for as long as I could, feeling like I was wafting round the store in a fog of poo smell was so humiliating. Not that anyone made me feel that way, it’s just how I felt inside. It just doesn’t do much for your self esteem or self confidence to smell.
I got into my car and was so angry and frustrated I snapped my sunglasses case. Good grief I was nigh on floor stamping at this point. I had a few tears on the way home too. I had a mini melt down on the front seat....Yes, yes, I’m quite the drama queen. Hahahahaha
You know me, you know I love my stoma life. But uncontrollable fart noises and smells are my nemesis, my Kryptonite if you will.
I thank my lucky stars that such incidents are rare no matter how raw they are emotionally, I have to remember it doesn’t happen very often at all. And that people without bags have mishaps too, it’s not just a bag thing. If you have bowels they can malfunction. And as I’ve said before I’d far rather a bag leak than a bum leak. I’m also grateful that Chris bought me a convertible as I used that to my full advantage and drove home with the roof down so I didn’t have to sit breathing in my own stench.
It reminded me on the time my dog rolled in fox poo and I had to drive with the roof down in an attempt to stop me wretching all the way home. Hahahahaha
Why am I relaying this story? Well firstly a problem shared and all that. And secondly to show it’s not so bad. I survived, I didn’t burst in to flames and the ground didn’t swallow me whole. In all honesty there was no harm done. I got up to see another day. I went back into work the next day.
There’s so many people that I’ve lost through cancer that would give anything to be embarrassed about stinking at work, I wouldn’t usually class stinking of poo a privilege but it actually is.
Stoma-ing can be incredibly trying at times, but it’s still a blessing. I still feel incredibly lucky. If you’re struggling with yours I get it, I really do. But try to re anchor any ill will you have towards it to something positive.
There are countless positives for me. Far more than any negativity I could feel towards it.
It comes pretty naturally for me as I’m very grateful to my bag for allowing me to still be here. And once I was back home in a clean, smell free bag I felt fine.
I went back off into my local town for a bit of retail therapy...if you can call buying a vacuum cleaner retail therapy? Hahahahaha
Just to prove I do actually work. Hahahahaha
I had wanted to go to the shops straight from work, Di actively encouraged me to. She said there’s plenty of far stinkier people walking round her local supermarket! Hahahahaha
And weirdly enough as I was coming down the stairs in Tesco there was an incredibly smelly man, and his wasn’t an unfortunate mishap-ed bag leak, his was a choice of years of soap dodging.
The world is full of different people. I’m grateful for who I am. Just focus on the fact that bags only leak sometimes and the rest of the time all you smell of is what ever perfume you wish to use.
With that in mind a really weird thing happened the day after the work bag smell leak incident.
I went back to work to finish off some of the things I was working on the day before but had to go home to change.
I was pottering about when a couple of customers started asking what the lovely smell was. I stepped in to assist them, we have some amazing scented candles and diffusers I was offering them each one to smell and they were saying nope, that’s not it. I couldn’t find the one they had smelt.
It was only then that the lady said well you were standing near by maybe it’s you and we laughed. But weirdly after she had a quick sniff of my neck she realised it actually was me...well my perfume anyway.
How positively odd that the very next day after I felt so gutted (if you’ll pardon the pun) that I stank of nastiness that someone, two people would compliment my perfume.
The universe really does have a way of resetting your place in it.
My week continued to improve (couldn’t not really could it, what with the vertigo I had Monday and the bag leak Tuesday, it literally could only get better and I bloody well did!).
Friday Chris, my best friend Michelle and her husband Mike and I headed up to London for a mini break. We had gone to the Christian Dior exhibition in Paris in December 2017, which had been amazing so we decided to go to the show again only this time it was it London.
We stayed at The Rosewood hotel which I would 100% recommend. It’s stunning, absolutely stunning and the restaurant there has a section called the Pie Room, oh my Lordy the pies were incredible!
I wanted a smart casual, effortless look. Something just easy. We were going to be doing a lot of walking.
I had to abandon my attempt.
Shirt from Karl Lagerfeld, Jeggings from Next, Shoes from Louis Vuitton.
You don’t need to buy LV trainers to achieve a similar look.
The art of dressing well is being able to take something that you’ve seen and finding a version you prefer.
These trainers below are from Sainsbury’s and I think they make a great substitution for the LV ones.
With that in mind I wanted this skirt from Ralph Lauren but at £349 for a white skirt its was way out of my price range. I don’t mind spending out on shoes and bags but not clothing so much and certainly not on white clothing.
I have tried to replicate it, I just googled White skirts and it came up with some utter delights!
The one below being my personal favourite! Hahahahaha.... I’d have quick access to my bag at least! Hahahahahah
I did managed to find the one below, that will do for now. It’s not perfect but it’s similar and it was £24 instead of £349 so I’m happy with it.
Blazer from Ralph Lauren, Belt Ralph Lauren, Skirt from Roman (of the black and gold, blue and white dress fame).
I can only wear this skirt with a slip underneath. My bag shows through like a glowing beacon otherwise. Slips may well look old granny-ish ...which is fine as I am one. But they really do hide a multitude of sins.
Anyway back to the London mini break, I decided to leave my shirt untucked all over as the French Tuck wasn’t working for me. You win some you lose some.
The Christian Dior show at the V&A was incredible! Equally as good as it’s Parisian cousin.
It was so good in the exhibition, and at least this time I didn’t have laryngitis and tonsillitis and Chris didn’t have pleurisy...the Paris trip was wonderful apart from Mr.D and I feeling dog rough.
We finished up the evening with a meal at Quaglinos, Michelle had never been and I probably go on about it a bit. It’s a personal favourite of ours. We have a lot of happy memories there. When our son was in UCLH being treated for cancer when he was 13, we liked to go to nice places so he had something to look forward to. It’s a happy place for us and the toilets are one of the best for me for bag changing. :)
Then back to the hotel for a well earned rest.
Our suite was stunning and M and M’s even more stunning than ours, they had two bathrooms... oh the luxury of your own private loo for bag changes. if only all hotels rooms had that. As I said the hotel is absolutely wonderful, made even better by the fact they have pets!! Pets in a hotel?
Jumper/Shirt from Ralph Lauren, Trousers from Michael Kors, Shoes from LV.
I made sure I used the stairwell to get to and from our room after Michelle had discovered the birds. I fell in love with the finches and the cages, have you ever seen such beautiful bird cages?
The weekend continued to be absolute heaven, with a mammoth shopping spree on Saturday. We walked our legs off. I didn’t buy much but I’ve got my eye on a few things. It’s my birthday next month so I don’t want to damage the budget for that hahahahaha, see I can be sensible when I want to be. Hahahahahah
After an exhausting day we headed back to the Rosewood hotel for dinner... of course we all opted for pie again. Who wouldn’t, they were heaven. They even have pie masterclasses where you learn to make pies. :)
I will be going back! Hahahahaha
Just while I’m here, I was perusing the Internet-asphere the other day and came across this article about a must have bikini that Walmart have launched. It might be perfect for USA ostomites.
Although you’d better be quick if you want one. Looks like it’s going to be a sell out.
Now I personally don’t wear large pant bikini bottoms. I did buy them for a holiday years ago, pre colostomy. I loved how they looked on while I was away.
But when I got home from the holiday and looked at myself naked in the mirror, and where I had worn big knicker bottoms my backside was very white and due to the expanse of covered area during sunning myself, it made my naked bum look HUGE.
I now wear very small bikini bottoms to at least try and give the illusion my bum isn’t quite as big.