I wore purple for World IBD Day! Did you? 

Hi readers,

Yes, I wore purple for World IBD Day as you can see! 🙂 My Dad wore a #GetYourBellyOut wristband for the day, my Mum wore purple to work and quite a few of my friends painted their nails purple! I also wore my Crohn’s Awareness badges and mentioned the fact that it was World IBD Day at work and explained to people what this was if they didn’t know. It was very touching to get such positive feedback off people I work with and a few of them made the comment that if they had known more about it in advance they would have worn purple for the cause, so next year, I’ll be making sure the purple message for World IBD Day gets to a lot more people as much as I can! 🙂 I also had a few people ask me about my badges that I was wearing so they too helped to raise awareness. It always amazes me these days just how many people have now actually heard of IBD when it is mentioned and sadly, how many people actually have a relative or friend who suffers. It’s also nice knowing that I have some great friends who will do their bit to support me by just doing something as simple as painting their nails and donating £3 for the day like some of them did.

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You can do still donate to such a good cause at any time of day or night & of course you can also purchase one of the lovely purple #GetYourBellyOut bands!

I hope you are all okay & please do not hesitate to email me at: ostomismnotpessimism@yahoo.com if you need someone to talk to or have any questions to ask about IBD. Also, feel free to leave me a comment about what you did for World IBD Day! 🙂

I’m appreciating the rest this long weekend and I’m not back in at work until Tuesday so I’m enjoying a few days with my boyfriend & I went to Sheffield with my Dad on Friday night to see The Smyths, a tribute band, for the second time who were excellent! I’m struggling at the moment with fatigue, mouth ulcers, joint pain (especially my hips) and keeping myself upbeat. Everyone has their down times though no matter how strong they may be, and my boyfriend keeps reminding me that sometimes it is okay not to be okay. I am so lucky to have such an understanding and caring other half.

Sometimes, she thought, courage was simply a matter of putting one foot in front of another and not stopping.

—   Anita Shreve, The Pilot’s Wife

Until next time,

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Paint the world purple for World IBD Day!

Hi readers,

So as many of you may already know, tomorrow is World IBD Day.

Worldwide, around 5 million people live with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and it seems to be becoming more common and/or more talked about as time goes on. In the UK alone, there are around 300,000 of us who have IBD. It also seems to be becoming more evident about the vast span in ages that people start showing signs and/or are diagnosed with IBD. For me, I was diagnosed at age 7 and I am now 23, but I started showing symptoms before my diagnosis for a good number of years.

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Symptoms are not just the things that make it a “toilet” disease. IBD can take over the whole body in different ways and in different severities, and even when somebody is not classed as having active inflammation (also know as being in a “flare up”), they can still suffer from long-lasting symptoms, for example, from the effects of medication on the body that has built up over the years. I do not have active Crohn’s Disease, but I do suffer from the effects of what steroids have done to my body, and I find stress extremely hard to deal with at times, alongside having quite a poor immune system down to being on a lot of immuno-suppressants for getting on thirteen years. Fatigue, joint pain and mouth ulcers are something that are really proving to be troublesome at the moment. Joint pain mainly occurs in my wrists, knees and my hips. I get recurring mouth ulcers as soon as I start to feel a little bit run down. I also have the on-going problem of my stoma having abdominal spasms which cause narrowings behind it, sometimes for up to weeks on end with little or no relief. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is by no means a short-term thing or something that should not be taken seriously, & something I find myself wanting to repeat time & time again on behalf of all the other sufferers is that just because we look okay on the outside, it does not mean we are okay on the inside. Many of us have become experts at maintaining face when we are actually falling apart inside and struggling to see the light. It is exhausting.

Even though Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a frightening & challenging disease, the expanding awareness that it is receiving is fantastic and the support that the IBD community gives to others in similar positions is so inspiring and warming. I have made many friends due to this illness and even though it is not something that I would ever wish on anyone else, it is nice to know that you are not alone and that people do actually understand. I have found that a lot of people with this illness would do anything to make others smile, maybe because they know what it is like to have been in a bad place and may have been alone with little support or understanding from those around them at one point. This in itself is so amazing and inspiring that even people who feel like they do not have much strength themselves can find it within them to help those others.

Nationally, there are a number of landmarks that are going purple tomorrow in support of World IBD Day which is a huge and great step for the IBD community. These landmarks include Blackpool Tower, Gateshead Millennium Bridge and Leeds First Direct Arena as a few examples.

So what can you do to raise awareness and/or money for World IBD Day?

  • WEAR PURPLE! 🙂 I will be wearing purple to work tomorrow, as is my Mum and my Dad will be wearing one of the #GetYourBellyOut awareness wristbands in support.
  • Share World IBD Day related info and get involved on social media such as Twitter – #WorldIBDDay and #PurplePower.
  • Donate as little or as much as you want to Crohn’s & Colitis UK. It’s as easy as texting “IBDA99 £(insert amount here)” to 70070.
  • Do your #GetYourBellyOut selfies and join in with showing the belly support! You don’t have to have IBD to join in.
  • If you have a stoma bag, maybe ask those around you to wear one of them for a day so they can gain some insight into what a day feels like for you. This is something my boyfriend did with me recently, which meant more to me than words could ever say.

    My boyfriend wore a stoma bag for the day to get an insight into what daily life is like for me & to show his support ♥

    My boyfriend wore a stoma bag for the day to get an insight into what daily life is like for me & to show his support ♥

  • Obviously with more time and planning, you can plan a fundraiser; this could be anything from a sponsored silence to a sponsored run, or a sponsored read to a sponsored skydive for those who are really daring! This does not have to be done on World IBD Day; anytime is as good as any to raise money and awareness.
  • I will also be painting my nails purple! 🙂
  • Have a collection box at work.

There is currently no cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but we will not stop hoping or fighting. Raising awareness and funds can help contribute towards many vital elements in the IBD world such as funding medical trials and research, helping to train IBD nurses and support services, and helping to get medical supplies such as stoma bags to less fortunate people worldwide. These are just a select few that need continued support so that the IBD community can carry on moving forward and hopefully one day find a cure and beat IBD for good. Having severe IBD myself which led to my life-saving operation and having lost my Uncle due to complications with IBD, it is as clear as ever that we should not stop raising awareness and fundraising until we have better treatments and finally get that cure. I would not wish on anyone what I have gone through and what I go through, and I would not wish the pain I feel through losing my Uncle on anybody either; I miss him more than I could physically ever explain and he is a major part of the reason why I carry on fighting as I do now. Even though he is not with me physically, his love and inspiration always lives on in my mind.

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We are warriors. We do not quit. We will fight. We will support one another. We will let the tears flow then half an hour later in public, bounce back with a smile. We will cherish every moment where we are not in pain. We will cherish a good night’s sleep and enjoying food when we can. We will cherish life… We will cherish life purely because we know the true harshness that can be reality of having no quality of life due or having experienced our lives hanging in the balance.

We will face our fears, because are fears are not going to stop us facing our future ♥

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Got to keep on pushing through!

Hello again readers,

Thought I’d just do a post to basically give you an update of how things are with me at the moment – things have been rather busy, but a good busy, which is great! 🙂

Job wise, my job is going really well & I’ve been studying towards my next exam which is coming up this Thursday (yikes!). I’m feeling more nervous about this one but I’ll keep my head in the books this week after work and hopefully the hard work will pay off.

Health could be better, but it could be worse! 🙂 Have been having issues with my stoma again and burning skin issues around my stoma. I saw my stoma nurse last week and she gave me some adhesive strips to put on underneath my bag over the area which was irritated by stomach acid to protect it which seems to be working well so far. With my stoma bags, I have always had to cut them a little bigger to allow my stoma to be free to function a little more than most people that have stomas as I get an aggravated and narrow stoma more easily due to the muscle tightening. This is only made worse if I have a really snug fit bag around my stoma. Going to see my surgeon on Friday morning to discuss having another little procedure to potentially cut/widen the muscle where my stoma leaves my stomach at skin level again as I have been suffering with more pain and episodes of swelling/hardness increasingly recently. Talking to my stoma nurse, it seems that this may have to be done as a more regular thing alongside me still continuing to dilate my stoma myself to keep it comfortable. Alternatively, if much improvement hasn’t been gained after a few times of this procedure, then last resort would be having to create a new stoma on the opposite side of my stomach, but I aren’t worrying about that yet as it isn’t necessary and, fingers crossed, this procedure will be able to help get things under control again. I have also noticed recently with the stoma issues that trapped wind has become more regular and troublesome, which is painful and gets quite tedious. Sometimes eating meals I also feel very sick and windy not long after on a number of occasions recently, today at lunch being the last time. It’s no fun & games but I’ve been through much worse so I will get through this too fighting.

Last Sunday, I did the #GetYourBellyOut Sponsored Humber Bridge walk with some of the amazing, inspiring ‘bellies’ from the #GetYourBellyOut support group. We had fun and a laugh despite the cold and blustery (to say the least) weather and all for a good cause, raising around £1400 for Crohn’s & Colitis UK. Well done bellies!

#GetYourBellyOut visits the Humber Bridge!

#GetYourBellyOut visits the Humber Bridge!

Life otherwise is pretty fantastic! Family life is good, have had some fab times with friends recently and have also started a new chapter in my life regarding somebody special. I tend to keep my private life from my blog but I feel that he definitely deserves a mention. All I will say on that note for now is that it is absolutely amazing to find somebody who loves me for the person that I am – bag, scars, faults & all. Also, somebody who sees me as a person, not my condition or stoma, & appreciates me all the more for it & helps me to embrace it, who helps me to grow and properly supports me in such a selfless way ♥ So, if you’re reading this & worrying about nobody ever accepting you or loving you for the person you are after your surgery, or with your condition, then please have faith, that it does happen & you will find somebody who loves you for everything that you are. Of course, you might find a few frogs before you find your prince so to speak, but anybody who cannot support you or accept you for the warrior that you are quite honestly doesn’t deserve your time or effort 🙂

Until next time,

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Ostomy odour – what to do?

In this post I will be explaining what to use to combat the smell when emptying your bag; particularly useful for staying away or for making emptying your bag in a public toilet for example less of a worry.

Let’s face it, it’s waste from our bodies, so ostomy or not, it’s not going to smell of roses! But this is something that worried me when I had my operation. I was worried whether the smell would be worse, and if I would actually be able to stay at a friend’s or away without being worried about emptying my bag and leaving the smell behind.

In my experience since my surgery, I’ve generally found the smell to be stronger than before surgery, especially with certain foods. Certain foods contribute to causing a lot of gas and/or odour as a result of eating them. Everyone is different, but I find that fizzy drinks, indian food and anything with a lot of rich flavour in increases the amount of gas I get. Fizzy drinks are the worst for me, sometimes to the point where it makes me uncomfortable and causes my stoma to make quite a lot of noise, so I usually save myself the hassle and leave fizzy drinks out. I also find eggs, onions and a lot of frozen processed food such as fish fingers can give me an increase in gas. Odour wise, it’s pretty much the same foods as what I have mentioned regarding gas. I avoid eggs as a rule and only have those others mentioned once in a while when I feel I can cope with it 😀 Foods that give me problems because of my narrowing which cause me discomfort I tend to just avoid altogether and the ones that come to mind right now are; beans, lentils, most vegetables unless they’re soft and without skin, steak or casserole beef, nuts, too much of stodgy food such as wotsits and mash potato, and wholegrain rich foods.

So what do I use to help minimise/get rid of the odour in my bag when I empty? I use Salts No-Roma Ostomy Appliance Deodorant. I put a little bit into my bag when I put a new bag on and after each time that I empty my bag. The product is handy as I use the 227ml big bottle for at home, and the small 27ml bottle to take in my handbag when I go out or when I stay away from home. The different product sizes are great for convenience. I just leave the big bottle next to the toilet at home for easy use when I empty my bag, and put the small bottle in the inside pocket in my handbag. I have used this product for most of the time I have had my ostomy and I find that it works brilliantly and 99% of the time gets rid of all odour. This definitely boosts my confidence dramatically and enables me to go places without worrying about having to empty my bag and leaving a smell behind. The 1% that I have found it does not work in every single time is if I use the drops overnight in my bag, but the odour that is there when I empty my bag is nowhere near what it would be without usually, so this does not really phase me. I’ve been told by family members for example that if you can’t leave a smell in a toilet, then where can you?! Which is true, but I’ve found a lot of people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease for example and those who have an ostomy feel a lot more conscious about leaving a smell behind, me included. If I could have found a product that helped me keep odour to a minimal or get rid of odour completely before I had my bag and I still had my large intestine, that would have been great but the only things I found accessible were air fresheners which never worked in my favour. This is why in a way I find having my ostomy more convenient, as you can treat the smell before you empty the waste.

I hope if you are reading this then you are well, and feel free to drop me an e-mail at: ostomismnotpessimism@yahoo.com or leave a comment if you need any advice or a chat and I will do my best to help! 🙂

Before I finish this post, I’d like to recommend another blog for you to check out by the lovely Hattie. This is the link to her latest post, which I feel really brings home the message that we really have to listen to our bodies and keep pushing for medical help if we feel something really is not right.:

http://morethanyourbag.com/2015/02/27/why-young-woman-need-better-medical-attention-stop-blaming-womens-troubles/

Sadly, it seems cases like Hattie’s have become increased or we have been made aware of them more. It is vital that research and awareness carries on enhancing so that cases like this can decrease.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

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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Video #2: Preparing for Planned Ileostomy Surgery

**Update: My new e-mail is ostomismnotpessimism@yahoo.com as I could no longer access the e-mail included in this post/video further down**

Hi readers!

Today I did my second video: Preparing for Planned Ileostomy Surgery.

You can watch it below:

Please remember that the video is from my experience only and what I have learnt from others, so your experience might not be exactly the same! It’s different for the individual. Also, please consult a medical professional when necessary as this is just my own point of view and take on it from what I have been through in my life with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

I hope you enjoy watching & please leave any comments/questions you may have either at the end of this post, on my YouTube or by e-mail at: ostomismnotpessimism@outlook.com! 🙂

Until next time,

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The Inspirational Blogger Award!

Credit to nuggets4nobles.com

Credit to nuggets4nobles.com

A HUGE thank you to the lovely Chloe from Dazed Fashion for nominating me for the inspirational blogger award; it means a huge lot to me! Please be sure to check out Chloe’s blog! She has some great reviews of products and some fab outfit ideas ranging from casual to outerwear, and from cute to well put together outfit ideas for nights out. Chloe’s blog also has some great beauty posts and useful make-up reviews and tutorials.

UPDATE (08/05/2014): Another MASSIVE thank you to the amazing Carrie from Cup Of Tea as well for nominating me. It means such a lot to know she nominated me too and enjoys reading my posts. You can see my nomination for this inspiring and lovely lady below.

I have been blogging for nearly 3 years now and I love it. My older blog is http://www.staceystoma.wordpress.com. I love to help others and provide support for those affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease and/or bowel surgery and like the fact that despite all my suffering, I can perhaps make somebody else’s IBD/surgery experiences a little easier (whether that be the person themselves or a relative/friend).

 Here are the rules:

  • Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate fifteen other amazing blogs and remember to comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them. (provide a link to your post)
  • This rule is optional you can proudly display the award logo anywhere on your blog e.g. on your sidebar and also follow the blogger that nominated you.

Seven Facts About Me

  1. I am not really a huge chocolate fan unless it’s Milkybar 😀
  2. My favourite bands are You Me At Six, Young Guns, 30 Seconds To Mars and Mallory Knox.
  3. We have 2 dogs called Suzie & Bobby.
  4. My brother is younger but a lot taller than me!
  5. I love medical programs; anything from Holby City to 24 Hours in A & E and so on…
  6. I have an obsession with floral print.
  7. “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” is one of my favourite quotes.

My nominations

I do not know 15 blogs well enough in detail to nominate so I am just going to nominate the blogs that I know well enough and enjoy reading at present.

1. I obviously nominate Chloe, who I have mentioned above & why, who nominated me.

2. Carrie from Cup of Tea – I find her posts a great read and find that her journey with Ulcerative Colitis is very inspiring!

3. Thomas from The Chronic Adventurer – he is very inspiring.

4. Hayley from BedEleven – she is one of the loveliest people I have had the pleasure of speaking to since my surgery & is very inspiring.

5. Emma from My Beautiful Messy Life – I really enjoy reading her posts about being a journalism student and having Crohn’s and an ileostomy.

6. Meranda from MerandaRoben – I love the IBD posts she writes & the awareness work she does.

7. Nicholas from Osto Life – Really inspiring and good awareness blog.

8. Last but not least, Beth from Polished Couture – I adore her shopping haul posts especially & think her blog is really well put together in general. I love her ‘haul’ posts and beauty favourites.

So there you have it guys! My nominations for The Inspirational Blogger Award. Thank you so much to Chloe & Carrie once again.

Until next time,

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