Sunset and celebrations...

Before I start this week’s episode of the life and loves of a Sue-devil can I just say a huge thank you for all the lovely messages and emails about last week’s blog.

I had the best day in Venice and to think mine and Leonie’s adventure has sparked some real excitement about potential day trips and adventures.

Plus sales of the dress I wore must have sky rocketed! Loads of people have said they’ve bought it or planning to. So I’d better thank Toff from Made in Chelsea again, seeing as I saw it on her first and then bought it myself.

I loved our lunch in Venice so much so that I’ve got another adventure in the pipeline, Chris, Ben, Kaitlyn and I are off to Copenhagen for the day in October now. Very excited!

Denmark in a day is going to be such a lot of fun. As ever, I will keep a eye on the weather forecast, but I’m thinking rain coats are going to be the order of the day as I believe it’s quite a rainy place, rather than the excruciatingly hot 32 degrees that Venice was.

The only, and I mean this whole heartedly, the only down side to the Venice trip was the 22 thousand steps in the one day caused such terribly bad chub rub…even thinner I don’t get a thigh gap due to the actual shape of my thighs but at the size I am now the chaffing was off the chart horrendous!

I would show you the photos of my swollen, bleeding chafed inner thighs but as you know I never put anything visually graphic on here so I’ll spare you that horror! Hahahahaha

And don’t be sitting there thinking well just lose some weight woman! Great idea! Hahahahaha I’m trying but not succeeding. I’m settling for not gaining right now. ;)

The rest of my week has been comparatively quiet compared to flying off to Venice for lunch, that said I did use my time wisely and investigate anti friction devices for fat thighs! Hahahahaha

Chris and I had an unusually quiet weekend, usually I’m not a fan as I stay home all week but this weekend I was happy to settle for some days in chilling as my inner thigh wounds were restricting movement! Hahahahaha

So, after a very quiet day and a even, God help me, a little nap in the afternoon (can’t abide napping, reminds me of being poorly but I must have needed this one). Chris suggested a drive out to the seaside.

We headed to Frinton at 8pm and got there in time for sunset. OK, so Frinton beach sunsets aren’t a patch on the beautiful Goan sunsets we experienced in India but for a 45 minute drive I’d say it was perfectly acceptable.

Dress from Primark, Shoes (in hand) from Hermes

Dress from Primark, Shoes (in hand) from Hermes

Evening beach walks are great.

Evening beach walks are great.

We had a lovely, albeit slow walk along the beach and then once there was no more beach we walked along the promenade next to the glorious beach huts.  The day after I wore this dress I saw one very similar on my Insta.  Ok, I appreciate the one below isn’t an identical match, but it’s close enough, and bearing in mind the Wolf & Badger one is £200 and my one was £12, I think I’m ok with it not being an exact match.

We had a lovely, albeit slow walk along the beach and then once there was no more beach we walked along the promenade next to the glorious beach huts.

The day after I wore this dress I saw one very similar on my Insta.

Ok, I appreciate the one below isn’t an identical match, but it’s close enough, and bearing in mind the Wolf & Badger one is £200 and my one was £12, I think I’m ok with it not being an exact match.

The dress below is another example of finding inspiration or alternatives elsewhere.

The dress below is another example of finding inspiration or alternatives elsewhere.

Burberry coat/dress £900

Burberry coat/dress £900

Tesco dress £25

Tesco dress £25

*Dress from Tesco, grandson not included.

*Dress from Tesco, grandson not included.

You can spend as much as you like on clothes but something costing more doesn’t always mean it’s better.

Take another example I found, a few weeks back I was in Burberry buying a dress (not this one above), anyway I happened to see this pretty blue coat/dress in there. Again it’s similar, not identical to, but close enough to a dress I bought in Tesco a while back. Inspiration from high end is wonderful but it doesn’t mean you have to pay the big bucks to get just as good a look.

Occasionally I will splash out if I really love, really really LOVE something, but mostly I’m happy with high street and supermarkets. I’ve wasted enough money to know that paying more doesn’t always guarantee better quality.

Knowing how to dress for your body shape is the greatest gift. It’s taken many years for me to know what to avoid. Before my operation all I had to dress for was large thighs and now I have my bag, I have to dress for large thighs and a bag of poo.

It’s not always a straight forward task and sometimes there are disappointments staring back at you in the store’s dressing room mirror, but you will find something.

If you chose, you can of course wear baggy trousers and baggy T shirts, but never feel trapped in your clothes, there are other options waiting to be pursued.

A lot of people ask me about what to buy for after their operations.

I start at the very beginning, if you’re going in to have surgery, don’t do what I did and buy pyjamas…doh! Lovely though they were they were completely unsuitable for upcoming abdominal and rectal surgery.

A quick trip to a very cheap high street store later and I was better equipped for my hospital stay.

Short sleeved nighties are a must. Doctors and nurses will need access to your arms, abdomen and if you’re having the AP resection like I did - your bottom too.

My advice, buy cheap ones. I threw them away after, I did not ever want to see them again once I got well!

I don’t dwell on what happened and the best way I find to do that is to have nothing near me that triggers that response…I do not go near peppermint tea for that exact reason either. Helpful though it is it can make me wretch smelling it.

The best clothes to wear after stoma surgery and you are up and about and back in the real world are dresses, they are absolutely the best for comfort and prevention of potential leaks.

You can move on and get a bit bolder with clothes once you’re used to your particular stoma, be it a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy, or a combination of all 3 in some cases.

After my op I needed Chris to rush out and get me some maxi dresses as I had a urine leg bag in tow due to some rather unfortunate short lived complications during surgery.

But once the leg bag went a few months later I was back to any dress I fancied. I moved on to jeggings and Jeans once I had got used to my output.

Before my op I thought the idea of having a colostomy was so disgusting that I’d never even leave the house ever again (yes I am prone to being a tad dramatic hahahahaha). Honestly though, I was so traumatised by the thought of a bag I really didn’t think I’d have any quality of life and I’d slowly become some sort of hermit.

The reality has been something of a surprise and somewhat different to what my mind had imagined!

I feel it’s my responsibility of sorts to promote stomas of all kinds in a positive light. Knowing how I felt beforehand and knowing what I know life to really be like I needed to pay it forward and reassure people who were going to follow on behind me.

Post op I’ve holidayed everywhere I’ve ever dreamed of and some that I didn’t, the list of my travels in the last 9 years is incredible! I shock myself when I reel them off! My goodness I went to Venice for lunch!

All of that was possible because of my colostomy! Literally only possible because of the bag stuck to my abdomen that I had been terrified of having.

Reality is often much better and far easier than the imaginings that our brain rather cruelly cooks up for us.

Dress from Tommy Hilfiger, Shoes From Hermes

Dress from Tommy Hilfiger, Shoes From Hermes

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Even after all this time living with a stoma I prefer summer and dresses. I suppose that’s because I’m lucky enough to live in a country that doesn’t really get too hot for a bag to stick.

We’re finally having summer, it took a while but it’s here now. Dresses are go go go!

On Monday this week I had a fantastic lunch out with a friend from school,

Donna is an actual medical marvel! For real!

18 months ago Donna was diagnosed with bowel cancer, she had an operation on her bowel and lung and a whole heap of chemo.

We celebrated her end of chemo last summer, sadly a few weeks after that Donna was told that the cancer was back in her lung. In October last year her oncologist said there was nothing more they could do for her (a bit defeatist!!).

But her amazing surgeon said let’s not go there yet, let’s try one more thing, so he did, Donna had incredibly tricky surgery on her lung, plus some more chemo. And as it stands right now she is in remission!!

I’m so happy for her! I burst into tears when I spoke to her soon after she got the first lot of clear scan results after treatment. She was on her way home to crack open a much deserved bottle champagne. :)

We finally got round to having our celebratory lunch on Monday and it was fantastic!

Non alcoholic cocktails all round…

Non alcoholic cocktails all round…

Long may remission last!! xx

Long may remission last!! xx

Unsurprisingly I wore a dress to lunch. I did laugh when I realised the split up it was so high that my bag was poking out, but as Donna pointed out at least the bag was the same colour as my dress and it blended in nicely hahahahaha.

Preferably I wouldn’t show my bag off when dressed but it’s not the worst thing to ever happen so I think I’ll survive. Hahahahaha

Oh and just as a PS;

I was on Twitter the other day and someone put out an SOS for some colostomy bags, poor girl had gone to Glastonbury festival, and gone through16 bags in 4 days, she needed supplies as the alternative was to head home, which would be rotten.

Anyway, some suggested she order some on Amazon!! Well I didn’t even know you could!!

So I had a nosey on Amazon and yes indeed they do sell all sorts of stoma products, some on next day delivery too.

I’ve no idea if the young lady got her bags, I really hope she did though.

Sometimes I have a bit of a brain melt and forget to order my supplies in good time, so now I can rest easy that I can get them on next day delivery. It takes a week to 10 days to get my prescription filled.

I also thank God that I’m lucky to live in this amazing country with the NHS because as it turns out colostomy supplies are shockingly expensive! That’s one for my gratitude list right there! xx

I go through at least 2 bags a day and a can of spray a week…

Although it’s comforting to know now that Amazon stoma supplies are available they are for emergencies only.

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