What I’ve Learnt and Achieve in the Last Twelve Months with my Ostomy
Year One with a stoma came and went with great highs and terrible lows. I started Year Two by saying this:
But what did the next twelve months have in store for me?
- I would be admitted to hospital a few days later, in horrific pain which turned out to be my bowel twisting. That’s what I’d been experiencing all summer long; four admissions and countless pleas ignored…
- I would restart Vedolizumab for the third time, because my disease could not be controlled without medication.
- I’d have the following two months off work, recovering and getting mentally stronger.
- I became part of the IBD Patient Panel at the hospital; consulting on the social media side of things.
- I’d pass my probation at work at the end of the year!
- Vedolizumab gave me some side effects; which we decided were part of the risk and continued the treatment plan AS WELL as treating the side effects. I would go on to see a Dermatologist, a Heptologist and a Gynaecologist; as if having a GI wasn’t enough!
- I made a conscious choice to spread more good IBD and ostomy education online – creating several blog post series in the process.
- Not long into 2018, I would experience crippling anxiety and depression which resulted in antidepressants and CBT.
- In February I was beginning to exhibit some IBD symptoms, which leading to some procedures; I came away with some nerve damaged and inflammation of my stump. It took a long time to settle down!
- Friendships became a corner-stone of my recovery from not only my IBD issues but from my mental health issues too.
- I turned 30 and made a solid commitment to myself – to love me as I was, without judgement – it’s a daily challenge!
- My partner and I started looking for a place together; only to be stumped by my fatigue.
- I battled through several periods of bad mental health; resulting in needing to take time off work to heal.
- I attended a few research sessions, including the PPI Involvement Day with Crohn’s and Colitis UK in May.
- I learnt how to take care of myself; in a way that motivated me to embrace the glorious mess that I am.
- My Coloplast Care article on Returning To Work was published in July.
- I admitted some defeat and reduced my work hours, taking some control back of my health.
- I am a work in progress.
- My stoma has been a giving of life not a taker. I’ve been able to focus on me and my life, not my stoma life, this year. And whilst this has been a challenging year, it is nothing compared to life pre-ostomy. I’ve not had a moment this year when I felt like I was without options, without a choice and without a future. My stoma is just part of me, and whilst it becomes a deeper, more ingrained part of my life as the days, weeks and months pass by; I will always choose it. Time and time again.
Here are the “living with an ostomy” post highlights:
To New Beginnings – 19.09.16
One Year On – 28.01.17
My Love for you, Dear Stoma – 14.02.17
Waking up with a Stoma – 23.05.17
he Reminder that I’m not Normal – 13.06.17
When Does Having an Ostomy Feel “Normal’? – 04.07.17
Happy Stomaversary – 23.08.17
Six Years On: Diagnosis – 10.09.17
The Return of.. Everything – 19.09.17
Open Letter to my Stoma – 17.04.18