I count myself a very lucky person for many and various reasons and for that I’m grateful.
One of the things I’ve noticed that makes me happy and proud of myself is people feel very free to talk openly about bowels, poo and stomas with me, either in person with my friends or my kids and their friends, plus people who email me too, which means the knock on effect of that is people get to talk about bowels and bowel health, and for me that demystifies having to poo in a bag as I am very open and happy to answer questions.
In a small way I feel like, and it is in a very small way that I’m helping break the down barriers and stigma of bowel, bags and bum health in general.
Talking openly, frankly and with humour could mean the difference between life and death...in this case literally.
We all need to be comfortable with our bowel health, talking about it and doing something about it if something’s not quite right.
My ability to be open for answering personal questions and my desire to show you can dress just as well bagged as you can unbagged are my greatest achievements (other than marrying a rather lovely fella and birthing two incredible sons that is).
I believe it’s so important to speak about my bag publicly, just to show it’s not as scary as it at first seems. Before I had my AP resection (colostomy) operation someone suggested to me that I keep it secret, that it was no bodies business but mine, and I’m sure that works for some people and that’s great, but for me I’d feel like I was living half a life.
I would have felt repressed and oppressed at my own doing.
Being up front and being honest about my stoma has been the most incredible experience for me. I have never once experienced negativity to my face (well almost never, if I use a disabled toilet I have encountered tuts from uneducated, morons who feel they have the right to decide who gets to use the disabled toilet but a quick flash of my bag and a “mind your own business” works a treat!) but on the whole I’ve only ever encountered curiosity, kindness and compassion about my colostomy.
It’s of course possible people say things behind your back but those people are behind you for a reason. Leave them there. :)
I went off on my holidays last week, another reason I’m very lucky, I get to holiday very regularly. Not great for my carbon footprint, but then even without flying the amount of plastic I use stoma-ing every day I’m not exactly eco friendly.
I’m doing what I can of course, the planet needs us all to do our bit, so I’ll keep up the growing of home grown veg, the recycling and keeping the thermostat no higher than 19...but I’m keeping holidays, my sports car and colostomy bags - I’m just hoping my dairy free days each week help offset the other damage I’m doing....and as I haven’t eaten red meat in 25 years, that’s a brownie point right there.
Anyway my holiday was really restful, of sorts, the holiday itself was restful, but I stepped on the scales on day two (I have a terrible compulsion of daily weighing, it used to work a treat to keep my weight down but these days I seem to be just tracking its formidable rise hahahahaha) realising that by day two I was 2lb up I had a freak out and went for a jog (have you noticed no one jogs anymore? It’s all run, run, run ~ what’s happened to jogging?).
I can safely say I’ve never been so active ever on holiday ever.
Well, I have to jog/walk, firstly I’m too unfit to run and secondly running traps wind in my bowels and it sets my hernia pain off, plus my bladder dislikes the action of running immensely and starts to spasm, I have this daily battle with the very healthy most of me and the very damaged pelvic area. I happily and gratefully live with all the left over collateral damage from chemo, radiotherapy and surgery. I agree I look the picture of health...and in general I am, it’s just my lower innards are a mess.
Anyway, I downloaded an app for exercise and have been trying to up my activity.
It’s actually glorious to get up early and to get out in the Spanish countryside.
Chris has a fear of snakes, scorpions etc etc he thinks the area is full of them. Probably is but I’ve never seen any, and the way I walk thundering along I imagine most wildlife will simply run for the hills! Hahahahaha
Do I like exercise? No not particularly, but we dine out most nights when we’re away, so needs must.
And I definitely do want to dine out, Chopitos and Pil pil prawns are my biggest weakness, combine that with Churros for breakfast and jog/walking is vital.
Dress from Zara, Shoes from Louis Vuitton.
I love maxi dresses, but as a mini human I always worry if I’m too short for them.
I have to ask myself “can short girls wear long dresses?”
Simple answer is if she’s bought one YES she can!!
Just take Louise Thompson from Made in Chelsea as inspiration, she’s tiny but she’s not going to miss out on long frocks, and indeed why should she, She is of course in incredible shape but I see no reason to let my baggy round the edges body prevent me from wearing whatever I choose to.
I love my green maxi dress from Zara, firstly it reminds me of the pattern of my primary school uniform, (my mum used to make all my dresses when I was a child so my school dresses were amazing) of which I have fond memories and secondly it covers a multitude of sins.
Pair it with trainers for a casual relaxed look or stick a pair of wedges and you’re all dolled up ready for dinner.
If only there was something I could use to shield my eyes from the sun! Hahahahaha.
Bikini from Sainsbury’s, Bag from the NHS.
Did my continuing weight gain stop me from bikini wearing...NEVER! Hahahahaha
For maximum tans one needs minimum bikinis.
We had an amazing day at the beach, Chris hates sand (as well as exotic wildlife) but Louise and Andy, our dear friend’s bought Chris the most ingenious beach blanket. It’s some sort of witchcraft as sand flows through it but doesn’t come back up through it for guaranteed sand free beach sitting.
Top from Topshop, Shorts from Tesco.
These shorts are stunning, they feel so good on, and dry really quickly when they get a bit sweaty. Hahahahaha. Delightful aren’t I? I would say I don’t sweat I glow but that couldn’t be further from the truth, not sure if it’s because I lost my ovaries to radiation or if I was always this sweaty but quick drying clothes are a godsend. :)
I love this particular beach we go to in Spain. It’s called Bolnuevo and it really is one of my favourite places. The erosions are incredible, I can’t quite remember if they were formed by water or wind but they are stunning, great for the Gram too! :)
Just look at the relaxed hands of a man enjoying some beach time. Hahahahaha
This may sound a bit weird but my suitcase was full to the brim of kitchen roll, it must have looked a bit weird when it’s checked through the airport scanner, but I need really good quality kitchen paper towel as it’s what I use to clean and dry my stoma.
I haven’t been able to get really good quality kitchen roll in Spain so far, and anything cheap is dreadful, it sticks to my skin and worse still it sticks to my stoma and it’s an extremely unpleasant sensation pick it off.
Although I take the good stuff with me on all my other travels, this is the first time I thought to take some over to Spain with me, because we have a house there we generally shop once we get there. Not this time though, I’ve taken over about 10 rolls so I’m good for the next few visits. It was an absolute treat to finally use something comfortable and non stick.
It’s always a good idea to think ahead and give yourself some self care.
Dress from Tesco, Shoes from Jimmy Choo
This dress was perfect, it’s a really lightweight cotton. It feels so soft on.
It was an all too short stay this time, but as ever it was absolute bliss, besides I’m back again next month so all is good.
When thinking about clothes for flying in they need to give maximum protection from leaks and pancaking. These trousers are great as they are very loose fitting.
Nothing gives a 100% protection against bag leaks, sometimes s*** happens, but we can try and make life easier by not wearing anything tight or fitted.
I’m prepared to take the risk a lot of the time on the ground. I do wear skinny jeans etc, but for something like flying, where I’d be stuck if it were to leak, then I play it safe. A plane toilet is less than ideal for a bag change, the size alone doesn’t give much room to manoeuvre, it’s possible of course but not desirable.
Top from Reiss, Trousers from Tesco, Bag from Goyard, Shoes from Chloe.
We arrived home at midnight on Sunday and then got up bright and early on Monday morning (it was a bank holiday) to drive down to Gosport to see Sam, Milly and Zak.
We’ve missed him/them so much and it felt like an age since we saw him last. They’ve all been poorly for a couple of weeks now, so we weren’t able to go down.
It was well worth the wait, Sam booked a fantastic little restaurant right on the beach and we were absolutely stuffed after.
A relaxing photo shoot on the beach. :)
Top from Zara, Jeans Joni’s from Topshop, Bag and Shoes from Tod’s.
Sam and Milly may live a long way away but they live in a great area. Just a five minute drive and you’re at a gorgeous beach, one that Chris is happy to go on ;) and with views of The Isle of Wight it’s absolutely perfect.
He’s just so cute, and bearing in mind he’s still under the weather with a hacking cough and cold he was an absolute dreamboat.
I can’t think of a better way to spend a day. Surrounded by all my favourites for an early pre birthday lunch.
I just have to show you something I saw in a toy shop in Spain. It’s tickled my fancy so much, and if it hadn’t been €110 I might well have bought one for my colostomy supplies! Hahahahaha
Yes, your eyes aren’t tricking you, this is a child’s hand bag in the shape of the poo emoji with Louis Vuitton pattern and dubious name?? Who thinks of this stuff? And what is the buyer at the toy shop taking?!? Hahahahaha
can I ask a huge favour please. If you’ve read something you enjoyed can I ask you to share it please.