Top 15 Blogs/Vlogs I’ve Loved in 2017

So to round up 2017 I thought I would do a few ‘Top 15’ posts on different things I have enjoyed from the past year.  It has been a tough one but I have also had some great times, memories and successes.

I started my blog in February and it has really made me happy.  I have decided to make my first list about those bloggers who have inspired me, that I have enjoyed reading and that I have discovered during my first year of blogging.  I have included people from across all different forms of social media and hope you enjoy checking them out.

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Colitis To Ostomy

My beautiful and very special friend, Stephie runs this blog.  This was one of the blogs I read before I started blogging and she was a definite inspiration for me to start.  She is extremely knowledgeable and writes so honestly.  She has introduced me to so much this year and I will be eternally helpful for the help she has given me and also for being a wonderful friend.

Rocking2Stomas

Rachel is another blogger who I am now lucky enough to call a friend.  We met when we were both asked to participate in The IBD & Ostomy Support Show and her continued support has been immensely helpful this year.  Rachel is a ‘double bagger’ as she has both an ileostomy and a urostomy.  I have learnt so much from reading her posts.  She has some fantastic ideas and a real drive and commitment to raising awareness which is so inspiring to me.

CrohnsFighting

I was so honoured to be invited to be part of The IBD & Ostomy Support Show by Louise.  Her idea was brilliant and unique, and doing the show has been a passion and a driving force for me this year.  Her blog is honest, informative and witty.  She has a lot of experience due to the things she has been through which are very helpful to people.  I am so thankful to have met Louise and that she has supported and stuck by me this year with everything I have had going on.

Holzie Loves

This is a blog I have pretty recently come across.  I love the conversational style of her posts, like you are talking to a friend.  She is also very caring and likes to check up on people across social media which is lovely.

Jenna Farmer

Jenna runs two blogs. She also has Crohns disease but her tips and information about running a blog have been amazing help to me this year. Jenna is super knowledgeable and extremely kind for sharing all her experiences and advice to help others succeed.

Visit her Facebook group for bloggers here

Vegan Ostomy

A pretty big name in the ostomy blogging world, Vegan Ostomy is definitely someone I look up to as a blogger.  He gives great advice and is a fountain of knowledge.  His posts are always well written, informative and respected and I hope that my blog can be as well received one day.

Burnished Chaos

I came across this blog on  Twitter and am so glad I did. I love her posts and her monthly bucket list posts inspired me to start setting myself monthly goals and be accountable for them which will be a great addition to my blog (and life) this year. She also helps run a linky post which has been a great help, connecting me with some other amazing bloggers.

Mamas Scrapbook

This lady has been one of my favourite ‘finds’ of the year. Her Instagram stories keep me amused every day and her posts about mental health are honest, helpful and inspiring.  I love her writing style and she comes across as friendly and approachable.  I was excited to receive my Christmas present to myself – Blom Cards – which she created so will be filling you all in on how I find them in the New Year.

Mrs Meldrum

This is a great channel I have found on YouTube.  Mrs Meldrum is a mum of three adorable girls and the whole family vlog on The Meldrums channel which I follow too.  I love her posts about all things mum and the whole family just seem really lovely!

You can check out The Meldrums channel too

This Mama Life

Sarah is another inspirational find of the year.  I follow her YouTube channel and her Instagram.  She is extremely honest about the highs and lows of parenting and I love her posts.  Any working mums will find a great deal of comfort and solidarity with her as she posts often about the work/life balance and her little ones are adorable.

Check out This Mama Life on Instagram here

Kalyn Nicholson

I have followed Kalyn for a while on YouTube but it was her Vlogtober posts that really got me super interested.  She seems super lovely and I love her organisation and routine posts which inspire me to be more organised myself.  I also love the quotes she put up at the start of her videos.

Lisa Kate Ostomate

Lisa is a fellow ostomate and one person I really looked up to when getting my ostomy.  She had hers a little longer than me and her positivity about it all was brilliant to see.  She now runs an Instagram account which is all about what she wears with her ostomy bag, tips and tricks to keep it covered up and shows you can still wear what you want.

Stoma Stella

Amy runs this blog but I also wanted to mention the amazing Osto-Colledge which she launched this year.  It is a great service for new ostomates, offering support and lots of help with different products and things to try.  Each Osto-bag is personal to the recipient and Amy sends a lovely letter along with offering continued support to the ostomate which is fantastic.

Guts, Giggles and More

This is a relatively new blog launched by my friend Surak.  It has so much potential as she has a lot of different experiences under her belt and is a great writer.  I am sure it will go places in 2018!

Me, Being Mummy

This blog is all about the journey to becoming and being a mummy, by the lovely Lucy.  She also runs a fab Twitter linky post every week which is always great to join and get to see so many more posts from other great blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

My Periods and IBD by Guest Blogger Louise A.K.A. Crohnsfighting

This week I wanted to do a series of posts about periods and contraception.  Often, our chronic illnesses can affect these but it isn’t an area that has been looked into and a lot of doctors do not understand how much our lives can be affected by them.  I asked for people who could share their stories and the lovely Louise offered to share her experiences with you all.  Louise is an amazing friend and fellow host of The IBD & Ostomy Support Show.  You can visit her blog here and it is worth checking out her honest and informative posts.

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Hi, I’m Louise aka Crohnsfighting and have been asked by the lovely Natalie aka The Spoonie Mummy to write a guest blog to talk about the impact my periods have on me and my daily life.

I will also be writing about contraception methods used over the years to try and help me with what I call PMT week once a month.

I was a late starter with developing and periods. I didn’t gain boobs or periods until after I turned 14. Now this may have been a late start but until the age of 18/19 I never had an issue with them. They were fairly light but lasted the full 7 days and from the age of 15/16 I was on an oral contraceptive which was oestrogen based and I never had a problem with that. Apart from forgetting to take the blasted thing, it wasn’t an issue and because I was not sexually active until 17, the pill was just controlling my periods and not a lot else.

Contraceptives used

When I turned 18 I was in a long term serious relationship and to protect myself I was placed on the depo-provera injection. This was administered every 12 weeks so I didn’t get unwanted babies. This is when the fun and games started, it caused havoc with my cycles and periods. I would spot on and off for six weeks at a time and then have a full-on flood. The floods tended to happen at the most inappropriate of times and one of them happened whilst having “adult shenanigans” in a car.  I flooded the seat and his jeans and he spent the best part of 5 hours trying to get menstrual flow out of the car seat and had to throw the jeans he was half wearing at the time. The problem I had with the shot was that it caused huge weight gain and mood swings. I gained a stone and a half in a year and my moods were erratic.  The mood swings were caused by a hormonal imbalance but I wouldn’t discover this until 7 years later. Once coming off of the shot my weight returned to normal within a year, my mood swings stopped and my normal cycle resumed.

I was diagnosed with Crohns disease in 2003 and due to the extent of this I was unable to take oral contraception to help with the heavy periods as it was advised it wouldn’t work. I either had to have the implant or practice safe sex.

In 2009, I had my daughter Maisie and six months after having her I had the implant put in. The implant was a godsend as it stopped my periods completely but yet again 18 months later I had to have this removed. The reason being for this is because I punched my then partner in the face in bed because he pissed me off, and I couldn’t control my moods. He frog marched me down to the GP’S and said I had to have this removed as he couldn’t handle the moods I would suffer from. I would go from happy to black moods in the flick of a switch. Now this may have been because he was a total arse but hey, who am I to judge?

Due the reactions I had with these types of hormone contraception’s I was tested for hormonal imbalances and both the implant and the shot stop your bodies progesterone hormone and means your body thinks it’s in menopause and my body doesn’t like it. It was decided after that that I would no longer be allowed to have these due to the mood swings. At the time, I didn’t qualify for the coil and I needed to be safe. I finally, after much fighting, got the copper coil placed in 2014 as the mirena coil may have resulted in my falling pregnant.

My periods

My periods have always been pretty horrendous since the Crohns diagnosis. A week before my period I always feel like my tummy and uterus are going to blow up. The pain is excruciating and not to mention the swollen, sore boobs and the joint pain I get with it. My mood is rather testy as well and I want to sleep more. The diagnosis from my boyfriend and daughter is Mummy is being a bit short and please do your best to not piss her off.

I’ve been banned from using a hot water bottle as due to the amount of surgery I have had done, I burn my stomach as I can’t feel it on a regular basis.

I go through 6-7 packs of the always night ultra in a week. So, I average anything up to 80 sanitary towels in that week.

I have tried tampons but they make me feel sick and make the period pain worse. They also are not man enough to handle the monsoon that is my monthly period.

On average, I can flood my jeans 3-4 times in a day during the heavy period of that week. I make sure I stay close to home and wear dark colours.

Do I feel that IBD has affected my periods?

I can honestly say that yes, they have affected my periods. Due to the amount of scar tissue and adhesions in my womb and on my fallopian tubes, I have had consistent heavy periods since 2009 and they drive me insane. I feel women get it slightly worse, especially with IBD, as the hormones and the swellings impact our insides even more than if I was without the Crohns disease. Especially when your sat there wondering if it’s your period coming or a major flare up.

I have had some respite since November of last year as I had most of the scar tissue removed. However, the last month or so the periods are yet again becoming more like Niagara Falls and that normally means the scar tissue is making itself known again.

So this is way too much information to read on a guest blog but it’s something that isn’t commonly discussed and I feel that IBD does impact periods for those of us diagnosed .

Many thanks for reading

Louise xx

You can also follow Louise on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.  Be sure to check out her delicious Thai Tuesday recipes over there too!

#bagroulette – My review of the Pelican Platinum Convex Stoma Bag

WARNING – You can see a bit of output (poo) in one of the photos featured in this post

So hopefully you have read all about the challenge that the girls from The IBD & Ostomy Show and I are doing this month. We have decided to try out each others brand of bags for a week and then write a review of how we got on with them. Hopefully this will help people see what kind of things they should be looking out for in a bag, as well as proving the point that there isn’t one bag to suit all! Rachel has a prolapsed ileostomy so is ordering samples and trying out different urostomy bags instead. She is reviewing the sample ordering process of different companies as well as the bags themselves.

So for our first week we have been roadtesting Louise’s bags, the Pelican Platinum Convex bag. I don’t usually wear convex bags (the only thing we hadn’t really thought about prior to our ‘experiment’) but I decided to give it a go. Convex bags should only ever be ordered and used under your stoma nurses advice and supervision. When ordering samples any good company should always pass on this information and ask when you request them.

pelican 2

So onto my first impressions. Louise sent two sizes of the bag and the larger of the two was most similar to the size of my usual bag. I was a little unsure of the texture of the bag as it seemed it may be a little rough. I did like the look of the baseplate. It felt like foam which I thought would probably be really comfortable and was looking forward to seeing how I got on with that. It is also a petal shape which I am used to with my Salts bags and I like as it seems to move better with my body. The opening at the bottom was also the same as the Salts bags I use but it was see through.  I don’t mind this too much but it was a shock to see it looking down on the first night!

 

 

I did my first bag change into the Pelican on Saturday night after my shower.  I went for the bigger one as we had eaten later (takeaway treat) and I didn’t want to be up and down to empty all through the night.  I decided not to use my Brava Protective Sheet as it was my first go with the Pelican bag but did put a couple of the Brava Elastic Tape flange extenders on just in case it decided to pop off in the middle of the night!  It was easy to cut and put on.

The bag stayed on securely through the night but the following afternoon I suffered with a lot of itchiness.  I thought I may have started leaking but when I took it off that night there wasn’t any leaks.  My skin was a little red so I think maybe it was my skin reacting slightly to the different baseplate.  Although I had been worried about the texture of the bag it was surprisingly comfortable and stayed feeling pretty cool, even in the warm weather.  I wore it on the outside of my shorts and don’t know if this would be any different if I had it tucked into high waisted trousers.  The foam style flange was very comfortable but the harder ring (I’m assuming this is because of the convex element of the bag) was quite uncomfortable and seemed to make the bag more visible under my clothing.

Sunday night was my first attempt with the smaller bag.  I like the idea of this and I am sure it would help when wearing certain outfits etc. but I would have to empty much more regularly which wouldn’t be so much fun and would consume more of my time.  Unfortunately it didn’t like me and within an hour the flange just peeled away from my skin!  The bit around my stoma from the ring inwards remained intact and still seemed pretty secure but I didn’t want to risk sleeping in it so popped on a normal bag for the night.  I hadn’t put on any flange extenders as wanted to try it without and see what happened.  The flange extenders are great but I find wearing them frequently makes my skin very dry so only normally use them when really needed.  The following night I went back to the larger bag but unfortunately I had the same problem, the petals of the baseplate starting lifting one by one until half of the bag was hanging off.  My skin by this point was really struggling too.  I had a 1 x 2cm sore patch underneath my stoma so I decided to call it a day on this week’s test and go back to my normal bags to help my skin heal.

pelican

Overall I thought the Pelican bag had some great features and wasn’t overly dissimilar to my usual Salts bags.  The baseplate didn’t seem to agree with my skin, that may have settled with time but I don’t know.  My main concern was the unpeeling of the baseplates petals within an hour of me putting it on.  As I was just lay in bed after my shower I wasn’t doing any major physical activity which may have caused this either.  Without the ring structure around the convex I would have had major blow out leaks from this.  If the flat bag’s baseplate is the same all the way across  it would have exposed my stoma completely.

I am really enjoying this challenge now we have started and it really is interesting to see how very different people are and how they react to and get on with different bags!  It definitely proves a point that although we can all give our recommendations, people are very different and your choice of bag is personal to you.  Next week Louise and Stephie are testing out my brand of bags, Salts Confidence Natural Advance.

To check out the products from Pelican or order samples you can visit their website at http://www.pelicanhealthcare.co.uk/

To check out the products from Salts or order samples you can check out their website at http://academy.salts.co.uk/United-Kingdom/Home.aspx

Stephie at Colitis to Ostomy’s review of the Pelican Platinum Convex Stoma bag can be read at http://colitistoostomy.com/products/pelican-bag/

Louise at Crohns Fighting’s review of the Pelican Platinum Convex Stoma Bag can be read at http://crohnsfighting.com/my-review-of-the-pelican-platinum-convex-stoma-bag/

Steve who has been guest starring on the show for us has also done a review which you can read over on the show FB page at https://www.facebook.com/theibdandostomyshow

My week three review of the Coloplast Sensura Mio bag

https://thespooniemummy.com/2017/07/21/bagroulette-my-review-of-the-coloplast-sensura-mio/