I spent a very long time being poorly and adjusting to life from a preteen being exhausted and thinking about where the nearest toilet was. Most people that now have an ostomy for whatever reason I’m sure have experienced that as well. Even though after my first surgery I had a little bit of remission I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my life as I went from having constipation to diarrhoea. I wanted to appreciate some of the things I can do now with toilets being the least of my worries!
- Enjoying time with my kids; okay so Button came along after my ileostomy but Ra-Ra didn’t and she didn’t have much of a mum for those 2.5 years. She would sit next to me singing to distract me whilst I was rocking on the floor waiting for 00Steve to come home so I could take my morphine and go lay by myself. Since my ostomy I have been able to go on days out, have holidays and actually participate in their lives.
- Time with friends; this is something I think people take for granted or at least they did before we experienced lockdown! I’m still generally late but it isn’t from sitting on the toilet for ages before hand so I could feel empty and not need to rush to the loo once I got to my friends. Be it trips out to garden centres (I swear I’m early thirties honestly) or nights out; my ostomy allows me to spend time with those I care about and not be distracted with pain.
- Running; even though I have a full on mental block after getting tendonitis in both legs/ankles I now am slightly paranoid that I’m going to injure myself but that hasn’t stopped me from run/walk the Great North Run Solo which is 40 runs in 78 days. It is just something that takes perseverance I guess and I will get back to where I was in time. 11 months before my ostomy surgery I was running upwards of 20 miles a week but then I started becoming unwell and 2 months before my surgery I didn’t think I would ever run again although 4 weeks after surgery I did run a good chunk of the race for life!
- Spending time alone; I often worried about going for walks or activities by myself in and around the woods near my village in case I passed out or that the pain would come out of nowhere after I seemingly felt fine. Even if I was conscious 00Steve might not have been able to work out where I was or I might not have had signal. Although just being at home and trying to have the attention span to read or listen to music without falling asleep.
- Going on holiday; since having my ileostomy I’ve comfortably travelled to Edinburgh, London, the Lake District, Cornwall, Cardiff and even flew to Paris. Before my ostomy I would panic about when could I stop and go to the toilet and even food as I had a lot of trigger foods that I didn’t know exactly what they were. I still have trigger foods but I have since been able to identify them and that is something to appreciate as I’m a big foodie!
- Spending time with 00Steve; before my stoma surgery I was barely any company at all and even though he could appreciate the fact I was in a lot of pain we found it difficult to be intimate as he was often terrified of causing me more pain. Recovering from surgery allowed me to think outside the box when it came to intimacy. Now we try to spend some time alone without children (or at least we did before the pandemic hit) at least once every couple of months – which is generally when there is something I fancy watching at the cinema.
What things have you been able to appreciate again after your ostomy surgery?