An Interview With… Jamie Pearson

Through blogging I have met some incredible and brave people.  During the course of me appearing on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show, I met Jamie.  He lives not far from me which was an obvious starting point for a conversation.  He has become a good friend and is always there for a chat and check in.  I asked Jamie if he would answer some questions about himself and his diagnosis/surgery from a male perspective.  He kindly agreed and so here we go!

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Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your diagnosis?

My name is Jamie & I am living in Derby. I am a massive football fan & love teaching it and playing. I an a laid back person who is ambitious. I was told I have Ulcerative Colitis over 8 years ago.  All the symptoms started with me injuring my toe nail & being on a long course of antibiotics. The bleeding & constant toilet trips all happened a few weeks after my toe nail surgery.

What surgery have you had as a result of your IBD?

I had my surgery October 5th 2016 for my stoma & left my rectal stump in, in case I wanted a j-pouch created. My surgery was planned after all medications were tried & failed. I was at the stage where I couldn’t go on with the pain and was bed bound.

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How did you feel when you were told you would need a stoma formed?

That first moment I was told I would be having a stoma, I just didn’t take it all in & I felt so scared.  I was thinking does it stink and how will I live a normal life? Then the stoma nurse explained everything and I felt so much better.  Of course I was still scared but at the same time I was now prepared for a new life with my stoma.

Do you suffer with nay other health problems connected to your IBD?

I suffer with depression from IBD & surgery for my stoma. A month in hospital with 2 operations & not getting answers just really knocked me down.  I am now on anti-depressants which are helping.

What do you think are some of the issues men face when dealing with this illness/surgery?

The issues I feel for myself & other men with a stoma or illness is confidence in going out places.  For example  – can anyone see my bag & what do I wear? Also dating is scary. Explaining you have an illness or a stoma & getting into a sexual relationship is difficult to navigate.  The first time you have sex after surgery is a big step.

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What advice would you give to others facing ostomy surgery?

Advice I would give for anyone having surgery is it isn’t the end of the world having a bag. You still can be normal & achieve anything in life. It won’t be easy, but in my case I have become a much stronger person & my confidence is so much better. Also, good support groups are around online. The IBD & Ostomy Support Show I think is amazing on YouTube, as well as the group on Facebook.

You have more surgery planned.  What is next for you?

I have surgery planned for June which is the rectal stump removal to make my bag permanent.  I have been told if I have a J-pouch made it would just collapse.

Have you continued doing the things you did before surgery since having your stoma?

Since my first surgery it took some time but I’m basically doing most of the stuff I did before.  Playing football was a big one but I did that & was so happy.  I would advise whatever you do just rest after you have done it. But yeah, I can do anything I used to do since surgery. I started my blog from seeing yourself & others share their stories. I just wanted to share my experiences and what I went through & if it helps just one person then I am happy.

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Thank you for answering these questions Jamie, I am so grateful!  Jamie can be found on Instagram and he has started documenting his journey through his blog – The Stoma Guy Blog

Please get in touch if you have a story to tell.  I would love to share other Spoonies and parents stories over the coming months, just fill out the form and I will email you back as soon as I can

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

What Is Body Confidence?

I was in a relationship for years with a man who I believe may have narcissistic tendancies. A man who emotionally abused me. First, came the love bombing. The constant adoration, the you are so amazing and look, so am I taking you on expensive holidays and dates (which to be honest, are not really within our budget but later on I will blame you for us being in debt anyway). The butter wouldn’t melt, tell me your deepest, darkest worries so further down the line I can rip you apart using the things I know make you feel most tormented and insecure. I was never beautiful, never pretty, never even looked nice. If I wore make up it wasn’t because he knew how much I love and enjoy it, it was…well who have you been seeing while I’m at work dolled up like that? I dropped heaps of weight off an already skinny frame but he wasn’t worried, it’s your own fault, what have you eaten (Crohn’s flares by the way, are NOT triggered by anything you do to yourself but by an auto immune disease which ravages from your mouth right through your digestive tract to your anus).

Fast forward to now. It’s almost two years since I broke free of that relationship. Life has changed considerably, and the same man continues to hurt me, now using our children against me, but that’s a story for another time.

I’m with someone new. We have actually been dating for over a year now and he’s the most amazing and gorgeous human I have ever met. You could throw me David Beckham and Ian Somerhalder and I would say thanks but no thanks – I have met my soulmate.

Onto the body confidence thing, you can imagine, spending pretty much my entire twenties with a man who once told our children that ‘Mummy looks better than she did on our first date’ when I was going for a meal with his Mum and Sister (apparently this was supposed to be a compliment) it has been pretty low.

My body has taken a battering over the years from my various ailments. I have numerous scars, an ileostomy bag, my elbows don’t straighten, my face is swollen from Pred (steroids) and my bones are now disintegrating inside me (luckily pretty slowly for the amount of steroids I’ve been on and the amount of time I’ve had arthritis – small victories hey?!).

Reaching 30, many women have an epiphany don’t they, it’s supposed to be the years you come into your own and free yourself from the doubts that overshadow you in your twenties, be it your appearance, your career, your friendships. I spent my 30th birthday in a hospital bed, awaiting a central line being fitted, which then got cancelled as I was told I needed an ileostomy. Happy birthday to me! This was something that needed time to adjust to and gain confidence in in itself.

But I’m pleased to say I’m now there. I’ve accepted and am proud of my ileostomy, as well as my numerous scars. Yeah I’ve a bit of a mum tum which I would like to tone up a bit but I’ve had two babies, abdominal surgery three times and I love food too much, so there! A charity called Purple Wings (check out their Facebook page here) helped me no end in my road to accepting and gaining confidence following my ostomy surgery and I can’t thank Lauren enough for the tireless work she does.

I’ve also got a man who compliments me. I know it’s supposed to be all about how you see yourself, but when you see yourself through someone else’s eyes, that can really help shape the way you feel. And when that person is someone you love and respect, and they say these things, you may start to believe them. My man doesn’t use just generic compliments either. Some days I just look beautiful or pretty. Some days he tells me he likes the way I’ve done my hair. Some days he likes what I’m wearing, he notices when I wear something new (and not just to point out the money I’ve spent on myself), he tells me when he thinks it suits me. Some days I smell nice. It means it seems more real, more honest and I believe him. I value his opinions as I want to look pretty and be sexy in his eyes. I want to appear attractive to him. That’s all part of being in a relationship isn’t it, you fancy each other? I don’t want to lose that spark of lust with time like so many do. Yes we are more comfortable with one another, I might not shave my legs as often as I used to and I will burp my bag (although I still try and do it only when he is asleep but thanks to my confessions on here he now knows the smell isn’t the dog) but I want him to want me still, just like he did at the start.

So I’m now 31 and a half and I feel like I’m finally starting to understand what people mean about being in your thirties and the body confidence that comes with it. It’s not all about the man either, but that’s helped. My body has been through a battle, every scar depicts a different story, be it my hip replacement, my c-sections or the chicken pox scar I itched right in the middle of my forehead when I was four. My stuck-bent elbows and swollen knees show a fight I’ve been in pretty much since being born. But I’m still here, I’m happy and as healthy as can be, I’m looking forward to the next adventures and what life has in store for me and my family. What will I achieve sat pouring over and picking fault with every photo of myself, trying to starve myself and feeling miserable to lose that bit of a mummy tummy. These faults are only in my own head and aren’t even noticed by my loved ones. I think it says more about someone else if they are willing to judge me based on my hamster pred cheeks or because I need to use a walking stick sometimes.

I, instead, am choosing to enjoy life and all that comes with it, and will do it all with my head held high and with all the 30 something year old sass I can muster, even on a no makeup and comfies day like today!

 

Dressing With An Ostomy Week – Jasmine Stacey Collection

Well, where does any good outfit start…with the underwear of course!  Jasmine Stacey has Crohn’s disease and aged 20 was operated on giving her a permanent ileostomy.  After her operation she tried to seek out sexy, pretty underwear that she used to wear prior to her surgery and struggled.  She was determined to help other women in her situation.  Jasmine was accredited by the London College of Fashion in 2011 and designed her first underwear collection in 2013.

 

Her vision for her brand on the Jasmine Stacey website sums up her brand completely –

Flattering while being sexy, provocative without being flimsy – Jasmine Stacey is the
ultimate lingerie for those who need a little more confidence in their underwear. 

Whether they have the challenge of scars; ileostomy, colostomy or stretch marks; or simply prefer
more tummy control, our stunning collections empower women to be who they want to be.

 

Following my ileostomy surgery in April 2016 I was lucky enough to be visited by Lauren from Purple Wings Charity (https://www.facebook.com/Purple-Wings-Charity-1395856707348227/).  Her charity aims to support people with stomas through IBD regain their confidence.  They offer grants to help people accomplish this.  I was lucky enough to be the recipient of one and was given a Jasmine Stacey Collection voucher.  Lauren knew one of my biggest fears surrounded clothes and what I could and couldn’t wear with the bag and having come out of a marriage only a few months before was pretty newly single, so this was perfect for me.  It also gave me something to do while I was recovering in hospital, perusing the website for what I wanted to order!  I settled on two sets of bras and knickers and when they arrived I was absolutely thrilled with how beautiful and what good quality they are.  This is me just under two months post surgery in my Black Classic Highwaisted Briefs and I also ordered the Ivory Classic High Waisted Suspender Brief too.  The ivory pair are crotchless so perfect for intimate moments if you are still feeling a bit worried about having your bag on show.

 

The underwear offers amazing support without feeling too restrictive.  It flattens out your tummy so you can wear dresses and things much more confidently without feeling like your bag is sticking out.  I feel absolutely amazing when I wear mine, they make me feel beautiful and confident for any occasion.  I was lucky enough to get a grant as I said, otherwise the range is a little on the pricier side.  I do think the price reflects the quality and design of this underwear though, and if you purchased just one or two pieces they would be well worth the money.  It’s probably not something you would want for every day but is perfect for special occasions or perhaps date night!

 

You can check out the Jasmine Stacey collection website at

https://www.jasminestaceycollection.co/

and on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/JasmineStaceyCollection/

Feel free to message them too as they are extremely helpful with sizing and other available options.  Happy sexy shopping!