Top 10 Best Things About Getting My Stoma

Good morning and happy Friday!  If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen my apology about not getting a post up on Wednesday.  I have been working hard on my university assignment this week.  I am pleased to say it is complete and has been submitted.  Now I just get to worry about the score!

I know when I was diagnosed with IBD I felt like my world was ending and that I would end up with a bag and that was it.  I did end up with a bag, but thanks to the support of the fantastic IBD and ostomy communities I was much more accepting of it by the time of my surgery.  And in fact it was one of the best things that could have happened.  Today I wanted to share a list of ten things that have changed for the better for me since ostomy surgery.

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THE PEOPLE I HAVE MET

This has got to be one of the best things that has come out of my surgery.  I had already been an active member of the IBD community when I had my surgery but my ostomy has bought so many more wonderful people into my life including Ste, the Purple Wings charity, Jasmine Stacey and my co-hosts on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show.

NO MORE LONG VISITS TO THE BATHROOM

I used to spend so much time in the bathroom and would even get bruised, marked legs from the amount of time I was sat there.  As a mum you can imagine this really wasn’t convenient and trying to get out of the house was a nightmare – I would always be needing a toilet trip five minutes before I left the house.  It would limit the amount of time I wanted to spend at places and often left me deciding staying in was the better option.  I still have to visit the toilet pretty regularly to empty my stoma bag but it takes less than five minutes and no sitting down!

GIVING ME THE PUSH TO START BLOGGING

I actually started my first blog while I was in the hospital but once I got home my focus was on recovery and the boys so I didn’t continue it.  I have wanted to do something like this for so long but never took the plunge.  Once I was feeling better though and I felt I really could help people with what I have been through and am still experiencing, I signed up and the rest, as they say, is history!

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GETTING HEALTHIER

Since my ostomy surgery my health has been so much better.  If you still have your large intestine, this kind of surgery gives that area a break and often puts it into remission.  I had a flare at the beginning of last year but it was so much easier to manage with the bag and luckily the doctor’s got on top of it quickly.  I had just moved to Derby so was off a lot of my medications until I could get to see my new consultants which contributed to this flare.  Since then, aside from the odd blockage my Crohns has been very well controlled.

GAINING WEIGHT

To some this would sound strange but I had dropped to just over seven stone during my flare and was suffering with deficiencies in things like potassium and protein.  Once I had my ostomy formed I was able to eat more normally again and started absorbing the things I needed from food.

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NOT HAVING TO WORRY WHEN GOING OUT

As I mentioned in my first point, going out often felt impossible due to the constant toilet trips.  I would end up running late for things due to being stuck on the toilet and often stopped making plans to do things as I just couldn’t manage them.  I have never been a fan of using public bathrooms but the sheer amount of times I would need to go, the speed at which the feeling came on and the possibility of an accident was just too much to cope with.  After stoma surgery there are still concerns – what if I need to empty my bag, will there be a toilet, the possibility of a leak etc.  This ease the longer you have your ostomy.  I find most people are concerned about the smell but there are things that can help.  You can see the post I wrote about ostomy smell here

IF I CAN GET THROUGH THIS I CAN GET THROUGH ANYTHING

The flare I was in prior to my surgery was pretty horrific.  I lost a lot of weight, felt constantly sick and weak, the pain was immense and I was feeling lower and lower.  Getting through that, surgery and my recovery gave me such a boost and if I can cope with all that, I am pretty sure I can do anything I want to set my mind to.

BECOMING A CO-HOST ON THE IBD & OSTOMY SUPPORT SHOW

Getting to become a co-host on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show was an amazing opportunity for which I was truly grateful.  Not only do I get to help others with advice and support, I have made the best friends in my co-hosts who are all brilliant and inspiring people.  The show is live every Thursday at 8pm GMT on our YouTube channel and you can also see all the past shows on there too.

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GETTING SOME CONTROL OF MY LIFE BACK

Not being restricted to the toilet for lengthy periods has definitely helped me feel more in control of my life.  I am now more confident and enjoy seeking out new opportunities and experiences.  I am able to be the best parent I want to be now and can do so much more with the boys and my step-daughter.  I am once again enjoying food and cooking, which has always been a passion of mine but I struggled with when flaring.

CONFIDENCE AND MENTAL HEALTH

My confidence has soared since having my surgery.  I had also got out of a bad relationship a couple of months before being admitted but I literally felt like a new person.  Every one commented on how well I was looking.  I have been able to wear things I still enjoy and often share my outfits on my Instagram page to show that you can still wear your favourite outfits with an ostomy.  Check it out here.  My mental health also received a boost.  Being so very poorly for six months had really taken it’s toll.  Not being able to enjoy going out and doing things I really enjoyed was soul destroying.  I am now living and enjoying a much healthier and happier life and am so very grateful for what having my ostomy has contributed to this.

I hope this list will show you the positive sides of having an ostomy, especially if this is something you are facing soon.  I received some great support from the ostomy community online and that really helped me to accept my stoma and become more confident with it.  Could you add anything to my list?  let me know in the commetns below!

Top 10 Blog Posts 2017

As I am still rounding up last year, I thought I had better share with you my personal favourite and most successful posts.  I am so grateful for everyone who takes the time to read, comment, share and message me about what I write, it really makes a huge difference to know I am inspiring, entertaining, educating and helping others.  So thank you, lovely readers, and I hope you enjoy revisiting or seeing these for the first time!

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The Worst Day Of My Life 

Definitely the hardest post I have ever had to write but I am so immensely grateful for all the support I received, and equally saddened as I found so many parents who had had the same happen to them. Being a parent with chronic illnesses is hard, but you can still be excellent at it and this is one of the reasons I started my blog.

December Goals

This is a pretty recent post but I wanted to add it to the list as it has really given me a boost and is a great way of managing things I want to achieve in the coming month.  I feel much more motivated and likely to succeed with a list to work from.  Ticking those goals off gives me a great sense of achievement.

Am I Confident In The New Salts Confidence BE Ostomy Bags?

I feel like I am really getting to grips with writing reviews now and this was great to do as it was from the same company whose bags I already use.  They got in touch and were pleased to read my review and asked me to share more information on the issues I had had (which were minor).  It was good to know they listen to the people who use their bags and are always striving to improve them.  They even shared it across their social media which was great!

Methotrexate

This was something I was often messaged about as Methotrexate is a drug I have been on for over fifteen years so have a lot of experience with.  I tried to include as much information as possible and personal tips I have found that help with the side effects.  It has been one of my most popular posts I have written and is still regularly viewed now, months later.

Coping With A Stomach Bug When You Have An Ileostomy

Not only was I proud of this post but I was really proud with how I dealt with this bout of D & V, managing to avoid hospital.  Lots of horrible stomach bugs have been flying around over Christmas and they can be really dangerous for ostomates.  I had a lot of feedback thanking me for the information in this post so it had to be included!

Dressing With An Ostomy – My Story With Clothes Since Surgery

I was really proud of how my ‘Dressing With An Ostomy’ week went and was so glad that so many people got involved!  I still regularly post my ‘Outfit Of The Day’ and hope people considering surgery and new ostomates see that having an ostomy does not restrict what you wear at all and you can still dress as you want to.

Contraception and IBD/Arthritis

This is a topic I am pretty passionate about, as so many women are given no information about what effects their IBD in particular can have on their choice of contraceptive.  I even had a close friend asking me about it recently, who didn’t realise that as she was in a flare, her body may not properly absorb the pill which resulted in an ‘accident’.  The emotional side of dealing with chronic illness is bad enough, but when your GP or doctor does not give you the pros and cons of a contraceptive, taking into account your condition, it can cause even more heartbreak and unnecessary suffering.

So What Is A Spoonie?

This was a really important post, as it amazing how many people don’t know the meaning of my blog name, even when they are technically a spoonie themselves!  I know some people aren’t sure about the analogy, mainly due to the use of spoons but it is just what the lady had to hand when she first explained the spoon theory to a friend.  I think it is a great way of helping people understand the debilitating effects of our illnesses, especially the fatigue which people just don’t seem to understand very easily.

10 Things I Hate About Pred

This post still makes me smile and I am pretty proud of my little poem.  I am now finally starting to reduce my pred dose but it is going to take a while as I have been on it so many years.  The effects it has had on my body have really taken their toll but it is an amazing drug that can work wonders for both Arthritis and Crohns Disease.

A New Chapter

This post is special to me as it marks a turning point with my mental health and the start of Natalie coming back, after a traumatic few months.

I hope you liked the trip down memory lane.  Please let me know what your favourite post from The Spoonie Mummy was in 2017 and if you agree with the ones I have chosen in the comments below!

BlogMas Day 1 – Top Ten Christmas Movies

So for anyone who doesn’t know what BlogMas is… it means I am going to be posting a blog every day between now and Christmas.  I may have gone slightly mad thinking that this was a good idea!  Let’s see how I keep up!  I hope everyone is well and ready to enjoy all these festive posts.

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So I thought I would start with some of my favourite Christmas movies.  Some of these are super popular but I hope you find something you may never have watched, or not in a long time and will dig it out to get you in the Christmas mood.

My Top Ten Christmas Movies

Elf

This is just hilarious and one of my all time favourite movies.  It reminds me of my youngest brother and I am sure we will get together at some point in December to watch this together. ‘Hi I’m Buddy The Elf, what’s your favourite colour’ is often how we answer the phone to each other!  It is a great one to watch as a family too and I think Will Ferrell is a comedy genius, there are so many of his films I really enjoy.

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Home Alone 1 and 2

These two are all time classic Christmas movies.  Me and my brother Adam have been watching this over and over for years.  The first probably slightly pips the second for me but I do love the setting of New York for number two.  Perfect again to watch as a family, as long as your kids don’t get ideas for pranks!  These films help make Christmas for me as I have been watching them every year since I was little, it is like part of the Christmas tradition now.

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Love Actually

This film I will watch all year round as it is an all time fave, but it is essentially, a Christmas movie!  I love all the different stories, it has love stories, sad stories, funny stories and everything in between.  It has such a fabulous cast including the late, great, Alan Rickman.  I especially love the moment on the doorstep, I think it is so romantic even though completely wrong, and also when Colin Firth proposes.  I am a soppy romantic at heart!

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The Family Stone

This one isn’t as widely known but it has an amazing cast of actors.It is very relatable to many I am sure, trying to prove yourself to your partner’s family but there are laughs as well as some extremely touching moments along the way.  I will be definitely be digging out my DVD and catching up with this one this month, as I haven’t watched it for ages.

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Miracle On 34th Street

Controversially, I prefer the updated version of this to the old one, although they are both great.  One I will be introducing the boys to this year as they haven’t watched it yet.  I know Leo has just turned nine and is wavering on the whole Santa thing this year which breaks my heart, but at the same time I am lucky to have got this many years out of him I suppose!  Looking forward to a movie night or three with the boys and this is sure to be on the list this year.

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It’s A Wonderful Life

A completely beautiful Christmas time classic!  Such a wonderful story, a lovely message and a must see!  It always tends to be shown over Christmas on the television so if you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check it out.

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The Polar Express

A beautifully made Christmas movie and perfect for little ones!  I know our local cinema often runs screenings of this close to Christmas, so perfect for a festive day out when the children are out of school.

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The Snowman

This is another memory inducing Christmas movie for me.  I also have the story book and the CD with the story being read for the boys.  The film is different as it is a silent movie, no talking, but I generally think the kids seem mesmerised by that and they love the idea of a magic snowman.  Walking In The Air is also a classic Christmas song and gets me attempting my opera singing (which no one wants to hear) but luckily only at home!

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Die Hard

A Christmas movie question mark, you say?  If you have watched it you will know the movie is set at Christmas time, therefore making it eligible to be on the list!  I absolutely adore the first three Die Hard movies. The two that have been made more recently are also good, just not as good as the original three.  Can’t wait for a marathon watch this December of all three, I must set aside some time for that one! And Bruce Willis in a dirty, white vest… do I need to say more??!

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The Holiday

Another movie I adore and watch all year round.  Yes I am a total romantic at heart!  Love the cast, love the story and the fact that it is set at Christmas time makes it have that extra sprinkle of romantic, magical goodness.  I watched this only a couple of months ago but will be certainly watching again before Christmas, maybe more than once to be honest!

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I hope you have enjoyed my Christmas movie round up and got some inspiration to start your Christmas viewing with them.  Let me know in the comments below what your all time favourite Christmas movies are, I am intrigued to know if there are some I haven’t seen!

Leo And Riley’s Sunday Night Takeover

So this evening me and the boys have been talking about our favourite movies and thought that we would share them with you! We decided on our top 10 and they are:

First up is Guardians of the Galaxy 2. We went to see this when it came out and it’s now Leo’s favourite of all! He described it as ‘awesome’ and says Gamora is his favourite character as she’s cool and the best girl warrior in the universe. Riley said he ‘liked it in the cinema’ and that Baby Groot was his favourite as ‘he is little’. He also made us laugh when he called Drax ‘Steve from October’ meaning the lovely Steve Cartmail who is Mr October in the Purple Wings Calender! Me and Ste both loved it too so definitely one for all the family.

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What do you think?

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Next up is Boss Baby. Leo said it was ‘real’ good – both funny and sad’ and Riley said ‘he watched it with Daddy’. I haven’t watched it all the way through yet but the trailer looked funny and the bit I saw was very good.

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The third pick was Diary Of A Wimpy Kid – Long Haul. We went to see this at the cinema during the holidays and I have to agree with the boys – it was very funny! Leo has also read some of the books, including this one, and has really liked those too. Riley said it was ‘cool’ and his favourite part was ‘when the pig pooed in the potty in the car’. Leo thought the funniest part was when Roderick thought he had been shot. The funniest bit by far for me was not exactly a part of the film. There was a part where some birds dive-bombed the family car, and Ste, being scared of birds jumped out of his seat and ten foot in the air. I know I sound like the world’s worst girlfriend in the world but I could not stop laughing while he buried his head in my shoulder. I laughed so much I had tears rolling down my face! We both really enjoyed the film aswell as the kids though. Riley sat still through the entire thing and stood up at the end and announced ‘i loved that film’s which made us all smile!

I’ve probably seen this movie a hundred times this year but the kids next choice is Trolls. They both enjoy this movie and have learnt all the songs. I filmed them both a few weeks ago and thought I would share one with you!

I have videos of them doing all the songs and they are excellent and so funny! We had so much fun that night!

Last week the boy’s watched the new Ghostbusters. Leo was a little worried at first but then soon got into it. He said it was ‘funny and very cool’ while Riley said ‘its scary and funny’. It was the first movie me and Ste went to see at the cinema so will always be a bit special.

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The next film we watched a few weeks ago before bed and I enjoyed it as much as the boys. Leo actually wanted to watch it again the next night too. Riley said ‘I love it’ and Leo said he ‘really liked it’. The message of the film is lovely too, about not giving up on your dreams. Another big hit!

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Another one we have probably watched over a hundred times is The Secret Life Of Pets. I took the boys to the cinema when it came out and since then Riley has been obsessed with it! He loves animals, especially dogs so it’s perfect for him! Here he is talking about it!

Leo wasn’t too sure about this next one being on list but relented as he said ‘I suppose Emma Watson is in it’. Riley wanted it on the list as he said it was ‘cool’. I have to agree with Riley but it’s my favourite Disney film of all time so I don’t think I could have disliked it!

Our number 8 made Leo remember some of his favourite films which we have watched over and over again and will probably continue to do so forever more – The Harry Potter series! Here he is chatting about it!

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Last but not least is another recent watch. Leo’s favourite films used to be the Tim Burton ones. He loved Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline! I realised Riley hadn’t seen The Nightmare Before Christmas before so we watched it the other day. He was so excited and said it was ‘very funny’ to which Leo replied ‘it’ was basically scary’! How times have changed.

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Well that’s their top ten, I hope you enjoyed it! What’s your family favourites? What do you think of our list? Let me know in the comments!

Leo And Riley’s Saturday Night Takeover Part 2

LEO AND RILEY’S SUNDAY NIGHT TAKEOVER

My Top 10 Pokémon by Leo

1 – The one that I like the most is TORCHIC. He was the first Pokémon I ever caught in my first Pokémon game.

2 – Got to say POOCHENA. He was the first Pokemon I ever battled and I beat him.

3 – Number three has to be PIKACHU because he is really strong and he is cute!

4 – Next is SQUIRTLE because he is really cool and his final evolution is a big tortoise with cannons on its back.

5 – RAYQUAZA is next because he is a really powerful dragon Pokémon.

6 – I’m going to say EEVEE because she is cute and can evolve into different forms including Flareon, Jolteon, Vaporean, Espeon, Umbreon, Leafeon and Glaceon.

7 – FROAKIE is next because he is a cute little frog.

8 – FENNIKEN because she is a fire Pokémon that looks like a fox and is cute.

9 – AIPOM because he is a cheeky little monkey!

10 – ZYGARDE is a giant snake and really cool! He has different collectibles and when you get them he will take different forms for you.

Here is a photo of me on a Pokémon hunt at Elvaston Castle with my family and my PIKACHU plushie!

Leo 💜

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