It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Hi readers!

It’s high-time for another fashion post.

With Christmas fast-approaching, I have decided to do a blog post featuring some outfit ideas for Christmas fashion. I have included my ideas for ladies only, but if you are a guy who is struggling with a stoma and wants some ideas or even just a talk (ladies as well, of course!), then feel free to drop me a comment at the end of this post & I will get back to you.

Christmas can be a nerve-racking time for those who do have an ostomy bag for many reasons, not just finding something to wear. Personally, I know just how much of a difference finding some clothes that make you feel better about yourself can make. Sometimes, especially for new ostomates, it can be the difference between them not going to an occasion/gathering and going. It is a hard concept to get your head around when you go through such a change to your body, and can feel really overwhelming if you do not know where to start. A lot of people wonder things such as:

1.Will what I wear hurt my stoma? 

Very highly unlikely.

After having surgery, I’m sure you are very good at noticing when you may be starting to feel discomfort or pain. If anything does start to hurt, then you know something is wrong, but generally the rule I follow is as long as there isn’t a direct, tight pressure applied to my stoma so it is almost suffocated, then I should be okay. I do not wear really tight ‘bodycon’ things personally anyway, as this causes other problems such as bag leaks. I also swear by Comfizz stoma support products, as I’m sure you have seen me mention on other posts 🙂

2. What if I have an increase in stoma output and I can’t empty my bag straight away?

Go for something looser fit & remember the Loperamide (Immodium).

To feel the most comfortable when my bag is more active, I tend to go for tops or dresses that are the skater style. That way you get the gathered, tighter bit on the top down to under the bust, then the floatyness downwards of the garment to accommodate for any bag bulges. I find skater-style garments are ideal for giving me that bit of extra confidence as they allow me to be less paranoid about others noticing if I am having a day with increased output. Looser garments with busier patterns can also help detract the eye away from bag bulges. Also, remember to take some Immodium to help slow output down.

3. Will others be able to notice my bag through my clothes?

Other people are not as aware of it as you, so they are not too likely to notice it. There is plenty of stoma support-wear & are plenty of outfit options you can go for to help give you that extra confidence boost & where your bag will not even be slightly noticeable.

I rely heavily on the Comfizz stoma waistbands to help keep bag lines/creases & bulges under my clothes to a minimum, whether wearing tighter or looser fit clothing. I’ve also been told by my family etc that having an ostomy bag myself obviously makes me more conscious of it, because I’m the one who has it, and that they never notice it in any outfits I wear.

4. Will I still be able to wear the clothes I love & clothes that are in fashion?

Of course! Having a stoma bag does not limit you, it gives you the life you could not have before, as well as the choices. You can wear the clothes you love, and even try new clothing ideas you have not been able to try before from being too poorly to go out, for example.

xmas tops

Here are some tops that I have found that would work great for Christmas wear. To give yourself that extra bit of confidence with tops that are a bit more basic like number one, try high-waisted garments such as black high-waisted trousers underneath to help keep your bag under wraps as well as a stoma waistband underneath. The glam neckline around this top makes it ideal for the Christmas season. You could finish the outfit off by going for some silver kitten heels with a matching glitter, silver clutch for example. Also, don’t be afraid to try bralet tops like number 3 with high waisted garments like the trousers pictured with it.

xmas dresses one

The sequins theme is a big love of mine that always makes me feel festive, glam & glitzy 🙂 I’ve picked out some of my favourites above. These outfits are great for concealing your ostomy bag as all the sequins will detract attention away from any lumps or bulges that may start to appear from your bag as your stoma works. I personally love how sequin garments catch the light & have a few sequin garments myself. The jumpsuit (number 5) is a pick of mine that I absolutely adore. I would team this up with some black glitter heels or matching green kitten heels and a glittery green clutch bag of that shade.

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Last, are my picks that I absolutely love from everything I have seen shopping around the internet. The clothes I found all are from boohoo.com, the shoes and necklace are from newlook.com and the lipstick is from Avon’s long-lasting range, which I use everyday.

Thank you for reading! & don’t hesitate to drop me a comment or message.

Happy Christmas shopping! 🙂

Until next time,

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Amazing news, remembering and reflecting.

Hello readers!

It’s been quite a while so I do apologise for the lack of posts. Life has been very busy, and very different to what it was around even half a year ago, but for some major good reasons; mainly my health and career.

Last month I went for another surgical dilation to my stoma and an ileoscopy. I have had problems with my stoma becoming tight and narrow and having spasms just inside my stomach before it exits my skin since about a year after my operation. These episodes have not really had much pattern and had become quite nasty when they just suddenly came on with no warning out of nowhere. It was literally how I can only describe like passing glass. I have been dilating my stoma (widening it) by inserting a medical rod down it for about the last half a year on and off and things seemed to get better for a considerable amount of time so I stopped doing it. A few weeks down the line it was back again, but worse, so through to the hospital I went after work and got some better painkillers sorted out and given another dilator to use twice a day for around 2-3 minutes each time. About a week later, I got a call from my stoma nurse saying I would need another surgical dilation. The dilation itself I can remember most of; the sedation didn’t seem to make it less painful… I just did not feel as bothered. Then afterwards it made me feel drowsy, spaced out and exhausted for a good few days after alongside being sore. When they did my scope at the same time, they found ulcers & my heart sank; I did not want to face Crohn’s so severe all over again after having to go to such extremes and nearly lose my life a few years ago to battle it. My surgeon took biopsies, and needless to say, the next few weeks were a very anxious wait with my head all over the place. I tried not to think either way or read too much into it, so not to set myself up for a fall or the opposite, but that is easier said than done!

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Last Friday was a hugely emotional day. I went to hospital and saw one of the surgical registrars for my results. Since the first time before I was 7, I have finally gone months without a Crohn’s Disease flare. The ulcers in my last scope and biopsy were non-Crohn’s and have died down & I got told that my Crohn’s Disease is in remission; it is NOT ACTIVE! 🙂  I have waited since before I was 7 to nearly 23 to hear this news & never believed the day would come; I am still in complete shock.  I am the healthiest I have ever been & am living my life without pain & intense struggle every day.  Life is not without problems, but if I can get through what I got through when I had my operation and for years before as far as I can remember, then I’d say I am already doing a considerably good job. Since my life-saving operation in August 2011, it has taken me a lot of effort and struggle to get to where I am now, but it has all been worth it. Having to dilate my stoma is not the best thing in the world and I would rather not have to, but so what? It’s nothing compared to what I have had to go through before and it could be much worse. If that is what it takes to keep myself away from pain and surgery then so be it. I get dehydrated easily as well, but I am drinking a lot more water and making sure I stay on top of that as much as I can. I am medication free for my Crohn’s! 🙂 It is still so hard to believe. It is so amazing! 🙂 I do have my days and situations where I have not fully come to terms with it yet, but even a few years on it is a learning curve.

I couldn’t have done it without those close to me; you know who you are & I could never thank you all enough.

I would also like to give a special mention to my Uncle; my inspirational warrior who I miss so much every day – I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now without you & your courage & bravery. His determination to live life even dealing with the horrible struggles of IBD and beating cancer was truly inspiring. We lost you so unexpectedly two years today & in all honesty, it feels like a lifetime since I saw that warm smile of yours & I think about you so much every day. Without a doubt, I would have crumbled long before now without your amazing strength that you showed to me in the hardest times of your life. Even though I haven’t laughed with you or hugged you in a few years, that strength and courage that you gifted me with still lives within me & comes with me everywhere I go. I know you always believed in me, and whether it be in health or work or life in general, that belief still lives on and pushes me to take the extra steps I need to take, no matter how hard or scary they may seem. You will always be my hero & everyone remembers you for your smile, how you made everyone chuckle & how you were one of the nicest & genuine people anybody could have the pleasure of meeting. My hero is an angel ♥

I will do a post soon about how my career has changed for the better and will get back into blogging more regularly.

Thank you for reading.

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Until next time,

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My pick on summer outfits with an ileostomy.

Hi readers,

Recently in this warm weather, I have LOVED wearing jumpsuits and playsuits. I have found some great bargains, especially in the sales in shops such as New Look and H & M. I have even found myself a nice lilac formal playsuit in Tesco F & F sale which is perfect for going out for drinks or when I am wanting a smart look. I also accessorize with long necklaces and brooches if I want to make the outfit look more my own. Even with the playsuit being plain, I find that the design of the garment itself isn’t too restrictive, so teamed up with a stoma waistband underneath and some jewellery, having a stoma bag is not made obvious especially if it gets fuller. I know this does worry a lot of ostomates, me being one of them, so the fact that the bag is discreet yet still allows me to wear the clothes that I love is a must. I always think in the way that my stoma saved my life, but I am still my own person regardless, so my stoma fits around me and my life, not the other way round as much as is possible 🙂

10589753_10152621061674255_1361083234_nThis playsuit above is one I bought actually a few years ago in the H & M sale and I love it! I am a huge lover of floral prints and the front zip on the garment makes it a lot easier when it comes to emptying my bag. It also has an elasticated waist so it is not super-tight around my stomach or my ileostomy bag.

jumpsuitsMissguided is a brilliant website for lots of variety in styles and garments to choose from. Above I have picked just a handful of jumpsuits and playsuits as examples of what you could wear in the day if you have a bag. I especially love the playsuit the second from the left with it being floral print and quite floaty and I also love the blue jumpsuit. These picks are also great if you are heading to a festival this summer, teamed up with some wellies, a cute floral headband and some cute sunglasses! You could also dress them up with a nice jacket or kimono.

jumpsuitseveningI also picked a selection for evening wear. Again, I am a huge fan of the blue floral playsuit and I love the belt as well as it makes it look that bit more glamorous and takes even more focus away from having a bag, especially if the bag becomes fuller or you have a lot of wind.

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Here is another playsuit of mine that I bought recently. It is from a shop called Quiz and it is such a nice fit. Perfect for keeping cool in the hot weather.

Comfizz is a great brand that I swear by regardless of what I wear. Every day I either wear a waistband under my outfit, a stoma vest (usually more in Winter) or I wear the gorgeous high waisted knickers from Vanilla Blush.

Thank you for reading!

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Bravery.

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There are so many people at the moment; a few of those close to me, who possess such bravery & really inspire me. There are people who refuse to be beaten and keep smiling when it seems like the hardest thing possible for them & that in itself is just so inspiring beyond words.

Seeing such courage & braving is exceptionally amazing, especially when people have every right to complain yet carry on regardless and make the most of the cards they’ve been dealt so to speak & it is really quite thought-provoking.

When was the last time you woke up on a morning & felt happy to just lie there and feel the covers above you? When was the last time you woke up and felt grateful to be alive, despite the fact that the rain might be hammering down outside & a mentally busy day at work is ahead of you? When was the last time that you actually woke up and felt grateful to be able to work? When was the last time you woke up and felt grateful to not be in as much pain or no pain at all? When was the last time you felt grateful for being able to eat? When was the last time you felt grateful to just be alive? 

It can be so easy to take things for granted; including all those things above. Even some of those things, some people unfortunately don’t have. Some are physically unable to work no matter how mentally strong they may be, some are unable to eat, some have to wake up & face their lot that day that maybe their pain is just the same as yesterday, and sadly, sometimes their pain has increased. Since my operation, I wake up every day feeling so thankful for not having that degree of pain that I experienced pretty much consistently for 15 years of my life pretty much from as early as I can remember. Even if I have aching legs or a bit of a stomach ache or my stoma isn’t 100% happy, I still feel grateful that I am able to get up & go about my daily life pretty much every day. I feel grateful every time I eat, for actually being able to eat with no pain or not even being able to face food. Never again will I take something that may seem so simple and ordinary, such as eating, for granted.

Be thankful for the things & people you have. Everyone has problems and their own issues, but it is becoming much too apparent in society these days that more people are increasingly taking things for granted, such as good health. Yes, we all have a right to complain! We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t, we all have emotions and we all have trying times. Yes, we have all been guilty at some point of taking things for granted. However, we all possess it within ourselves to just pause, breathe and reflect for a moment and remember the things that we have to be thankful for, no matter how small or large. For those of you struggling, hold your head up high & smile & remember that things will get better & pain does end. Let’s hold a thought for those people because I, for one, am very proud of every single one of you that has to overcome such painful and unfair barriers daily, often or even at all.

Here is to the inspirational people out there; keep smiling.

 

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#WorldIBDDay! ♥

Happy World IBD Day everyone!

Just a short post today to show you all my outfit for the day:

IMG_7309Proud of my abdo-battle scar and bag and love this t-shirt! I also love my badges that I got off Zazzle (one for my Uncle and one for awareness as well):

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Also, if you can, please donate just £3 to Crohn’s and Colitis by text:

Do your bit for World IBD Day!

Do your bit for World IBD Day!

The amount gets added on to the end of your phone bill so no bank details are asked for. This also ties in with the #GetYourBellyOut awareness campaign on Facebook and Twitter which anyone can take part in – IBD or not & ostomy bag or not! 🙂

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Here’s just a little snapshot of my IBD journey. To have it from the age of 7 definitely makes for lots of stories to tell & experiences that I’ve had.

Finally, just to prove that having an ostomy bag does not stop you living your life, in fact it gives you a life and has made me more comfortable in my own skin, here are a few photos from a recent photo session I did:

Credit to: Michael Hopps & Lime Photographic.

Credit to: Michael Hopps & Lime Photographic.

Credit to: Michael Hopps and Lime Photographic.

Credit to: Michael Hopps and Lime Photographic.

A big THANK YOU in advance to those that help to spread awareness and/or donate.

Until next time,

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World IBD Day tomorrow!

Do your bit for World IBD Day!

Do your bit for World IBD Day!

Hi readers,

So as some as you will be aware of, and as some of you won’t be, it is World IBD Day tomorrow!

It is so vital and important that we all do our bit to raise awareness, even if you yourself do not have IBD but know somebody who does; every little ounce of spreading awareness and fundraising helps.

Personally, I have seen IBD become more publicised over the past few months which is really refreshing and positive to see, but we still have a long way to go. It is vital that more people realise just how serious any form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, whether it be Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis for example, and that tragically it can take lives and majorly affect lives.

For those who have been newly diagnosed, have been diagnosed for a number of years, or even for those who haven’t yet had a diagnosis, IBD can be an extremely difficult, excrutiating and exhausting disease to deal with. Even the simplest of tasks can become extremely difficult and any aspects of having a social life can also disappear considerably, if not completely. It can be a very devastating disease for many and many of the things that we may take for granted without IBD such as having an appetite and having energy are some of the things those with IBD do not have.

Because of my Crohn’s Disease, I have had the pleasure of being introduced to many inspirational people who amaze me everyday with their positive attitudes and how they fight and refuse to be beaten. Even those who struggle still continue to inspire me as they do not give up regardless. Personally, I still get my down days after having ileostomy surgery and for having Crohn’s, but it has made me stronger and it has made me who I am… Without my operation I would not be here. That’s what I remind myself when things get tough and I struggle to see the light. In an ideal world, nobody would want their anatomy changing and having to pass waste through their stomachs, but we have these operations to help us, not hinder us. Some operations save us, just like mine and it is important that people realise what a huge thing that is, whether we had a choice to have the operations or not. It may seem quite obvious to some reading this, but even myself, I had the choice between having my life saved or losing my life. Some people might say “well, that’s not exactly a choice is it?”, well let me tell you, that is the biggest choice I have ever had to make, and at the time and the many years before my surgery, I did not have the energy to continue anymore or the strength to put up with the severe pain and misery and every day being an extreme drag. It is also common for people to get depression with IBD. To find that strength to undergo such an operation and continue fighting in an even weaker position took every piece of me that I had left and meant I had to create and find the strength.

IBD doesn’t just affect the person that has it as well, it affects those in their lives and those around us and can be just as devastating for them in other ways regardless of whether they feel that person’s pain or suffering. It is important that those who know people with IBD have patience and find out all that they can about the disease to help those who have it who are close to them cope. It isn’t just something that can come on one day and pass the next, and it isn’t something that can be simply fixed by medication or surgery. Even after having surgery, people do suffer from the other symptoms of it even if the abdominal symptoms aren’t present, such as joint aches and fatigue, or finding it hard to put on weight, as I do.

Tragically, and one of the most important points to remember from this post, is that people do lose their lives from IBD. It is a cruel disease which even if you have the strength mentally, for some people their inspiring journeys are tragically cut short through no control of their own. I know people who have been cruelly taken by IBD and they were some of the nicest, inspirational and kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of having in my life. My Uncle passed away from complications related to IBD, and he is my inspiration every single day, especially when I struggle. He had a heart of gold and never complained, no matter what health problems or life problems he faced, and always found the strength to smile and help others and live life to the full as best as he could. I fight for him and always will, and I will take steps such as these to spread awareness and find that cure that he deserves, just like many others do in this world whether still with us or not.

So what can you do to help raise awareness and raise money?

  1. At the top of the page there is a simple way to donate money by text, even £3 can make such a difference if we all group together and donate.
  2. Take part in the #GetYourBellyOut campaign on Twitter! You don’t have to have a stoma or IBD, it’s all about raising awareness and taking part for those who do! I love this campaign, it’s had such good feedback.
  3. Help to share IBD stories on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter if you see them.
  4. Make an IBD story sign and take a photo/selfie with it and upload it to the internet to spread awareness such as Facebook, or your blog.
  5. Get relatives and friends involved! People who I know I have asked to wear ileostomy bags for World IBD Day so they can have an insight into how it feels for me and many others to wear one on a daily basis.
  6. Wear purple or an IBD/Crohn’s Colitis UK t-shirt if you have one.
  7. Start writing your own blog if you’d like to and share the link so others can read into your experiences.
  8. Talk about it & let people ask questions.

Obviously, with more time to plan in advance, there are a lot more things you can do, but those are some last minute ideas.

Here is my Crohn’s Colitis short story card for the MyCCUKStory hashtag that I did on Twitter and Facebook and here also is my brother wearing a bag and getting a feel of how it is for me to have to wear one on a day to day basis. So thankful for his support alone as well as those close to me.

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Go ahead & raise awareness & funds & donate if you can for World IBD Day tomorrow everyone! 🙂

Here’s to you all, stay strong! ❤

Until next time,

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Busy week!

Hi readers,

I’ve had a busy week sorting things for university and travelling there and back amongst sorting other things and being away so apologies for the lack of posts & videos.
Had a bit of a struggle recently with one thing and another so have also been trying to sort myself out.
Fingers crossed I’ll have a new video up this coming week although I’m not sure on what topic yet! If you have any IBD/ostomy topic ideas that you want me to cover let me know.

I’ll post again soon!

Until next time,

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