Personal Blogs

Pregnancy At 19 Weeks

I can’t believe I have reached 19 weeks already! Time whizzes by! Only feels like yesterday that we announced our rainbow baby.

Firstly, pregnancy is HARD guys! Not even 10 years of chronic illness, surgeries etc has prepared me for this whirlwind. Having said that, I am getting really excited! Last week, I started to feels kicks after having felt butterflies from around 16 weeks. Let me tell you – it’s a bizarre feeling! The baby likes to kick right where my butt used to be! (Not even outside my belly and it’s causing trouble already!) We have started to gather baby items too which makes it that even bit more exciting to see everything in the babies room.

Yesterday, we went to Cullen Beach with my in-laws and their dog Zak, it was SO lovely! There was a fab wind so even though it was warm, the wind kept me cool enough to enjoy a walk on the beach – watching the dogs play and paddle in the water. Biggie took a plunge and even went for a little swim!! We also enjoyed a lovely ice cream and then went back to my in-laws place where a big box of baby stuff was waiting for me!! I could have cried as it was such a lovely gesture and jaimie’s mum got me the most beautiful Disney baby changing bag, pictured down below! I am obsessed with Disney!

Last week I went past to visit my mum who got me these gorgeous aristo cat pyjamas that I had spyed in primark just 2 weeks prior when I had my Blood Pressure attacks in Primark and had to leave as I could barely walk from passing out! The baby also got a little comfort blanket attached to a cute little sheep! I have had some lovely gifts from other people too, which I will be doing a video on at my virtual baby shower, to thank everyone on.

We have our gender scan on the 15th of June and so, have been asking what people think it may be! To my surprise, it’s totally 50/50 on the votes! So we will just have to wait and see. My Pelvic Girdle Pain is beginning to get worse as the physiotherapists had said would happen however I am relying less on antisickness some days and my migraines aren’t as severe but I do unfortunately get them daily. My blood pressure drops are also beginning to happen almost every day but I am not letting any of these things stop me from trying to continue my daily life, some days I am bed bound but totally make up for it on the days I am able, like yesterday.

A few things I have noticed so far are ; increase in thirst, heart palpitations, restless and sometimes very little sleep, fatigue, feeling of a small dog being carried on my stomach!, breathlessness, dizziness and increased hunger. My hair also seems to be in better condition and my nails grow like no tomorrow! My skin is also doing really great and my weight hasn’t done too bad either as I try to keep a balanced diet and my cravings are mostly healthy stuff too! (Weird.)

So at this point, I am 50/50 of enjoying pregnancy but also still finding it super tough! So hopefully it keeps going on up from here and next time I update you all will be after my 20 week/gender scan! Lots of love from bump and I x

Personal Blogs

We Are Expecting!

Proud Big Brother To Be! Mr.Biggles!

Super late in updating my blog on all the news and changes we have had the past few months! As you can see in the picture of our proud boy Biggie, we are expecting our rainbow baby in October this year! This week I am 16 weeks (12/05) and I’m not going to lie, pregnancy has been REALLY tough for my body. The morning sickness that doesn’t just occur in the mornings (weird, right?) has been all day every day, relying on antisickness meds just so I am able to keep water down and be able to eat. Prior to us finding out at 6 weeks, life was really tough and my mental health wasn’t doing so well with a lot of stress around where we were and that in turn was making me super unwell. Just a few weeks before taking my first pregnancy test, we had went to view a house out in the country and had been accepted for it! It was SO meant to be! Thanks to family and friends, we got moved in a couple of hours about a month ago. We still have to paint our bedroom, the babies room and hallway but we have plenty time!

So for my pregnancy, I have a consultant and midwife with a planned C Section under General Aesthetic for my birth plan at approx 39 weeks, all being well. I know on my social medias I answer everyone’s questions there but just on the off chance that you didn’t see the posts, here are some questions I have been asked quite a few times:

  • “What advice do you have for other ostomates or chronically ill people who want to have a family?” – My first most encouraging advice is DON’T have the stress of trying, don’t try. Now this may seem a weird thing to say but continue reading and you’ll see what I mean! My partner Jaimie also has a permanent stoma and ken butt so you would think our odds would have been made very difficult! We had been trying for a while but I had a miscarry last November and I lost all hope and we stopped trying. The one advice I’ve always been given is not to try, it will happen when it is meant to – and that’s exactly what happened. I always found that saying so cliché but it proved me wrong! PLEASE note that this does NOT apply to those with fertility issues. If you are concerned about this being an issue I really do advise to see your GP or specialists for the appropriate referral to have a consultation and tests done to determine this.
  • ” How did you meet our partner and is he excited to be a dad?!” – Jaimie and I met actually when I was just 17 after I was newly diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease via Facebook when I had made a group for those local here with IBD because I knew nobody with it and felt very alone. We spoke for a little while then lost contact as I was in a very toxic and abusive relationship. Then at the end of 2017, we met again on Instagram and Jaimie had not long had surgery for his permanent stoma and needed advice and just someone to talk to who could relate! He was in a relationship at the time so I thought nothing more of it as helping someone who was new to stoma life, as did he! After a while, the relationship came to an end and we were both gamers, now at this time my laptop was away being repaired AGAIN (lol) and so he offered for me to borrow his! So sweet! After that, we have been inseparable. This year in November will mark our 4 years together. Has it been easy? No! We have had many obstacles to pass, a miscarry, failing to become pregnant, past people, current people, normal daily stresses, hospital stays, surgeries, moving house twice, mental health, pain and grief. But we got through it! It helps that we both have permanent stomas because we understand each other. Jaimie is super excited to be a dad but we are both absolutely shitting it too! life is by far perfect but we make the most of what we have and tackle what comes our way as a team.
  • “Why can you not have a natural labour for the birth of the baby?” – I have a permanent stoma with a barbie butt that has not healed, I had the operation 6 years ago (no nothing you advise me will work as I’ve probably already tried it!) Because of this being one of my complications from Crohn’s Disease, the wound area is full of blood vessels which if too much pressure was to be had there it wouldn’t be pretty and exposes me to some real dangers. Due to having my permanent stoma, fistulas and abscesses and the surgeries for those, I have a build up of scar tissue. I am a high risk pregnancy which means that they have decided a C Section at 39 weeks is best to avoid any complications that may occur during labour and avoid any danger to myself and/or the baby. I have severe PTSD when in hospital environments or busy and panic provoking environments which leaves me frantic, spewing, shaking, unable to stand from shaking, dizzy and sets of my asthma and I have a panic attack and asthma attack at the same time. I have nerve damage in my back as a result from my stoma and barbie butt surgeries meaning an epidural is not an option and would make my long term chronic back pain and sciatica much more worse. I have a rare type of Crohn’s Disease which is all below my belly button so inside my pelvis, my vagina and inside the perineal wound where my butt used to be. This means I have SO much fistulas all inside my pelvis going from here to there so they in themselves cause a few complications. I also have a fluid collection where my rectum used to be, this drains through my sinuses and main large fistula. As far as I know these can be prone to infection etc however I’m not 100% on what would happen with this in a natural labour but I can imagine nothing good!

Many people CAN have a natural birth with a permanent ostomy so don’t let this put you off if you are an ostomy mum to be or plan on having kids and you have an ostomy. This is the result of my birth plan that has been made for me and my baby by a consultant and 2 midwifes! Always some positives with the less positive!

The plan until the C Section is regular growth scans, monthly appointments with my consultant, check ups with my Midwife and remaining on antisickness unless that changes and the sickness goes away, which I am REALLY hoping for! I had my physio appointment this week so I have some light exercises to do which includes pelvic floor muscles, try to go for walks when I can (which isn’t often due to being so sick and in pain) and resting as much as possible. We have our gender scan booked for next month too which will be nice! I have my first face to face appointment with my midwife this week too. I am really nervous but excited too! I’ve also joined some Facebook groups that are for mums with IBD and an Ostomy which has helped me massively – there are other women there that I can relate to that has not enjoyed pregnancy either and been really unwell during. The only downside I have found is sadly that a lot of my family haven’t bothered to congratulate me, message me to see how I am or interact with me or just to see if I need anything or any help. It was stressing me out and upsetting me so much seeing them all interact with each others posts, going out together etc and I couldn’t even get one message or a congratulations so for my own mental wellbeing and eliminating stress, I deleted them out of my life. The very close family that we do have, have been amazing!! Friends too! Always messaging to check up on me, video calls, phone calls and supporting me really well. Super grateful for those that have stuck by me and continue to join me on the journey to parenthood!

Please feel free to message me on my social media for a chat if you are going through the same, need advice on pregnancy or if you have any questions that I haven’t already answered! ❤

Personal Blogs

The Many Uses For Coconut Oil

Lately, I have noticed that coconut oil has been used by some friends for different things. I also use it and thought it would be handy to share what you can do!

So what can you use it for?

  • As an additive to your animals meal – melt and pour into rubber moulds and leave to set. This is fantastic for dogs who have very dry coats and skin.
  • A hair treatment – Saturate and soak your hair for a few hours or leave over night then shampoo twice afterwards, it leaves your hair silky soft and brilliant for those natural curls
  • Cooking – instead of normal oil for frying onions and cooking meats for certain dishes such as Thai or Indian curries
  • To treat dry feet – lather onto your feet and then put on socks and leave over night, repairing your dry, cracked skin and leaving your skin super soft
  • Moisturiser for babies – if your baby has super sensitive skin and baby oil is too harsh, coconut oil is super gentle and moisturises the babies skin
  • Leaving onto split ends – put a small amount on the very ends of your hair to condition and help those split ends

Coconut oil can also be used when making natural hair and body products but not something I have ventured into! The smell is absolutely gorgeous. If you have bleached hair, I recommend you do a coconut treatment at least 1-3 months as it also a natural lightener so you get the benefit of conditioning and lightening at the same time!

You can buy Pure Raw Coconut Oil from any stores such as supermarkets like ALDI, B and M, Home Bargains and other chain stores without breaking the bank. You can also buy big jars on Amazon for £9.

What uses do you have for coconut oil that isn’t mentioned? I’d love to know!

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs

Goodbye 2020!

Ahh, a day that felt so long away.. Hogmanay!

As we sit and think about the year 2020, it’s safe to say that we are all glad to see it go behind us. It has been a challenging year for most but even more so for those who have had to isolate, fight the virus or shield. Many loved ones have passed on, many changes have happened, friendships lost and gained and lots of laughter and tears has been shared with each and every one of us! The start of 2021 certainly isn’t going to be easy, with restrictions and tiers still in place to keep us safe. Video calls and speaking to loved ones over the internet has hit a peak that many never had really interacted with before!

I, for one, am so glad to wave goodbye to 2020 and the negative people, bullies, trolls and fake people with it! Welcoming all new great things that wait for me in 2021! I hope for more than anything, to see friends I haven’t been able to see and hug for so, so long. To make lovely memories, watch people grow and also see their loved ones! Maybe even a holiday with my better half and taking lots of pictures. I am wishing all my readers, friends, family, fellow ostomates and chronically ill peeps better health for next year however unpredictable illness and life can be! For anyone who has been suffering with their mental health, I hope you find that little bit of something that keeps you hanging on and pushing forward through the daily challenges you face. I also hope for people to treat others kindly with more compassion and to be more understanding that mental health affects so many people, whether you like them or not! Being kind, less rude and less negative towards others makes so much of a difference. You don’t have to be someone’s friend to be kind!

This is also a good time for you to reflect on who has really been there for you, kind to you and supported you. If people have been unsupportive, rude, unkind and horrible to you, cut them out and really pay them no notice! This doesn’t mean to treat them the same way back though!! Look after yourselves and however you are spending the last day of 2020, I hope that it is being safe by following covid restrictions from your tier and full of happiness! Ours will be spent with chinese food, a bubble bath and gaming with friends!

I will continue to do the same raising awareness, talking about taboo subjects, highlighting areas that need light and making vlogs, blogs and tiktoks in 2021, too!

Lots of love and best wishes for 2021, Alannah.

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs

Addiction

In the last 5 years, the world has seen an opioid crisis become worse and worse. People overdosing due to building up such a high tolerance to pain medications, many don’t make it out. After my first major surgery in 2015 I was one of those people amongst that crisis, I was 20 years old.

The thing is, you think that it will never happen to you. You take it as prescribed by your doctor/surgeon and because of this, you feel that you are safe from becoming addicted. Unfortunately addiction can happen to anyone and that is a fact! Most addicts have either a background of Chronic Health, have been involved in a tragic accident or have Mental Health conditions. The problem mostly, is that people do this over a long period of time and sometimes decide the dose may not be enough because their tolerance has changed, with it being a prescription drug, they still feel safe to increase the dose, thinking there will be no danger.

My addictive side of life with drugs started before I got seriously ill when I was in my teens, dabbling in Cocaine, Marijuana, Ecstasy, Speed and Legal Highs. I would drink as normal at the weekends like most teenagers. At that time, it was seen as “the norm” for most people my age to be doing this. I had an addictive personally, a need to be lively and enjoy life and wanted to do that at any cost.

However, my journey with prescription pain killers started before surgery just taking when I was in severe flare ups with my Crohns Disease. After surgery I needed a PCA pump, oramorph and oxytocin on top of what I was already on. I did really great after surgery pain relief wise and had the PCA pump removed just a couple of days afterwards, the oxytocin started to pass straight through my Ileostomy so was taken off of that from the get go on that happening. Being completely honest, I didn’t even know I had an addiction, after all why would I? I was taking it as prescribed. As time went on, my pain seemed to become worse and I couldn’t understand why. One night, I had to call out of hours and a home visit was arranged due to being so poorly. A practitioner nurse visited me and had explained what she knew it was after working in a prison and watching the same thing happen there. I was terrified and didn’t want to be alone, so I went to stay with my mum to detox, I went cold turkey – a term that’s used, meaning you come off everything all at once without weaning off.

After months of sweating till my clothes were soaking through, my stoma going non stop like a firehose (bag changing was an absolute nightmare!), sleepless nights, sleepless days, struggling to eat, losing weight, nausea, intense stomach cramps and my entire body feeling like my veins and skin were crawling, I got better and managed to go back home. I had a lot of support from doctors during this time and it is really important to always communicate with your doctor. Doggy cuddles helped tremendously too! I mostly survived on smoothies made by my mum and water. My dad would come past to check on ey every day and took me to the beach often, it’s my favourite place to go when I am struggling.

After sharing my story on Instagram, many followers commented and messaged me to thank me for talking so openly about this. It made me realise there is not enough awareness about addiction to prescription medications. There needs to be more talking about this, supporting others who have been though it or are going through it! I am not ashamed that this happened to me as it actually taught me quite a lot and helped me understand addiction on a whole other spectrum and why it can happen and take over peoples lives. The pain of withdrawal is unbearable, it makes you feel as if you are dying and the only thing that will take the pain away is to take the one thing that’s causing it – it’s a vicious circle. So if you were given the choice to have no pain, 9 times out of 10 you will. It’s an awful place to be in and many suffer with this for most of their lives.

Luckily there are many charities and organisations that help with addiction and substance misuse. One that is very well known for this is a charity called MIND,

Addiction can happen to anyone but it can also be overcome by anyone. You truly never know the strength you or someone else has until they go through the hardest times of their lives and come out the other side!

Life With A Stoma

Can’t Wait Card from Bladder and Bowel


Fellow stoma buddies! I have my Just Can’t Wait card, do you?.

Many stores are now accepting Just Can’t Wait cards, which is a huge improvement to a few years ago! I have been one of those affected by not being allowed to use toilets in stores before AND after having my stoma. Many have suffered much worse where they have been refused with a very full ostomy bag, resulting in a bag leak and soiled clothing. Bladder and Bowel have made a Just Can’t Wait card for ostomates to show that you need the toilet, in a much more discreet and private way. Perfect if you don’t want to cause a fuss or let anyone else around you know about your stoma.

This week is stoma week, which they have dedicated this week to talk all things stoma!

“We’re always looking for ways in which we can support the community, and this week we have a few little surprises for you! You’ll have to join us on social media to find out exactly what we’re planning. 

They will be sharing patients stories, asking for ostomates opinions, running new exciting events and starting conversations and giving support for anyone who lives with a stoma. Below you will find links to their social medias to find out more!

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

Easy Med at Superdrug

Superdrug is the UK’s first major high street retailer to offer this free service which can be used when you order your NHS repeat prescriptions online with Superdrug. It’s such a fantastic service which I’m sure will benefit so many people!

Each month, your medication is sorted for each day of the week, so you know exactly what to take without forgetting or having to organise it yourself. Their packing is eco-friendly and they have various online services for men and women’s health! This is especially good if you take multiple medications daily. They also offer men and women’s health services via their website such as :

  • Gut Health
  • Cough, Cold and Flu
  • Allergy and Hay fever
  • First Aid
  • Eye Care
  • Pain Relief
  • Skin Treatments
  • Diet and Fitness
  • Vitamins and Supplements
  • Foot Care
  • Stopping Smoking
  • Stress and Sleep
  • Home Test Kits for COVID

I have to say that I found their new pouch system for your monthly prescriptions really impressive and helpful, much so for anyone who has medication to take every day. It’s super hard to remember what to take every day! Not having to organise this yourself saves you a lot of time and stress. To look at this service or to find out more information, please click here.

Thankyou to Superdrug for talking to me about this service. It can really benefit so many people out there!

Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs

What To Watch This Winter?

As winter draws in, the nights are getting darker and the cold is creeping in more and more. We also find ourselves in part 2 of the pandemic with the majority of the south of the UK shielding and the days are beginning to merge into one and before you know it, you have no clue what day of the week it is and it is BORING. I’ve been shielding since the first lock down started earlier this year, with the exception of hospital appointments, shopping and getting out for the odd walk here and there, so I know how the lack of activities is beginning to get on my last nerve! Apart from working out, I can’t deny how much I love a good NETFLIX binge especially on the days where it’s too cold to go outside or I’m simply just not well enough to. Looking through NETFLIX and amazon prime, I thought I would get everyone filled in on what you can watch and watch you will be able to watch later during the last of 2020.

Some Amazon Prime films mentioned may cost so do keep on mind do avoid those if you are on a super tight budget like us, as with NETFLIX the monthly fee is as what you pay for it (we don’t pay for ours.)

  1. Emily In Paris : If you love a chick flick you will absolutely DIE and go to chick flick heaven with this series! A girl finds herself getting a job promotion from America, to Paris and her journey there is tough but totally heart fluttering.
  2. The Tiger King : I think by now we have all heard of Carole Baskin! I you haven’t watched this gob stopping documentary about a guy who wanted to live a celeb life whilst raising tigers, lions and whatever else at his animal park, you need to. It all comes to a crashing end with SO much drama.
  3. The Ted Bundy Tapes : If serial killers, murder documentaries and evil people is your thing, you’ll love this. Following Ted Bundy the serial killer in America of the 60’s to late 70’s before being executed in 89′, how his brain worked, his background and how he managed to deceive multiple communities before being caught.
  4. Sex Education : A hilarious comedy featuring a young teenager who’s mum is a sex therapist. Being a not so popular guy in school, love is tricky for him and doing the old tug of the chicken is as non excitant as his love life. He finds the girls of his dreams but will he see it through?
  5. The Witcher : I can’t lie, THIS is my ultimate favourite watch this year! If you love Lord of The Rings and Game of Thrones, this is right up your street. Dragons, Mages, Witches and a Witcher who tackles huge monsters.
  6. Stranger Things : An absolute belter of a series! Based back in to the 70s/80s genre, a group of kids and their parents/guardians tackle the most evil and biggest monster the world has never even dreamt of. Main character Eleven who can open the porthole for all unruly monsters escapes a scientists lab after being kidnapped as a child, finds herself fighting the evil monsters to save her friends, family and the world.
  7. The Last Kingdom : This epic series dated back in the Viking times has so much of a story line I can only sum it up as best I can! Uhtred being an outsider Saxon (a rouge tribe) seeks to make England a better place following the death of the king and doing his best to support the new one leaving his Saxon life partly behind, whilst finding his brother Ragnor and his sister – on the opposing side as Saxons.
  8. The End Of The Fucking World : A dry and dark comedy that sees two young teens with troubled home lives and mental issues, not popular at school, develop a friendship after murdering a podophile in his home after breaking into his home and being caught, thinking nobody was going to be there for a long period of time.. Their love story has many off and ons and during this time, they go on the run together.
  9. The Corpse Bride : A childhood classic! A man dreaming to make his arranged marriage just perfect, ends up married to a corpse bride!
  10. A Cinderella Story : An updated and new version of the classic Disney story, featuring Hilary Duff at high school, working for her evil step mum after her dad passes when she is a little girl. She texts a boy named Justin and is falling for him, but there’s a catch – he doesn’t know who she is.
  11. Easy A : A hilarious film featuring a young teenager in high school who somehow has it spread round she lost her virginity, instead of trying to deny it, she goes with the flow and there is a storm before the calm!
  12. Blades of Glory : An amazing comedy featuring Will Ferrell, known for his active roles in comedies, is a champion ice skater teams up with another after they become disqualified. They hate each others guts but it’s about to get up close and personal…
  13. The Innocent Man : From being charged for a murder he didn’t commit, you see how his life is turned around and he gets justice – a true story how a man is made innocent and set free.
  14. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina : A new take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, seeing Sabrina a normal 15 year old at high school (mortal) leading up to her 16th birthday which happens to be on Halloween – her dark baptism. She has to sign her name into the book of the beast, giving the dark lord her soul in exchange for her life as a witch and her powers. So many twists and turns happen and after refusing to sign the book, she is left with no choice at one point. Leaving her mortal life behind and starting her new life a witch and MUCH more. New season coming December 2020.
  15. Riverdale : Ah, the charming Archie Andrews. Living in a small community things get rocky when drugs, murders and gangs start to rival in his small town. He has a mission to stop who is leading these terrible crimes and is confronted with his lovers father. Can he stop him and save his friends, family and town?
  16. Shadow Hunters : A young Clarissa finds herself bumping into someone who usually can’t be seen by anyone, unless he wants them to. She soon finds out that she was born with abilities, wiped from her memory as a young child to protect her from her real father, who seeks to avenge her mother and the community that banished him.
  17. American Horror Story : If you love horror films, this series is perfect. Each season see’s the same actors playing different roles as each season has a different story line. (My personal favourite is Season 3 – The Asylum.)
  18. The Lovely Bones : Only available on Amazon Prime at £5, this chilling docufilm follows the life of a young 14 year old Suzie who is lured and killed by their neighbour. It shows her watching her friends and family in the “in-between” which is the place between Earth and Heaven. Will they get justice for Suzie? I can only say that the ending gives me great happiness.
  19. Knocked Up : A comedy featuring a E star employee who finds herself getting a promotion to be on the TV screen interviewing celebs, has a one night stand and ends up getting pregnant – with not the guys she initially anticipated to have a baby with.
  20. The Invention of Lying : Featuring comedy actor and writer Ricky Gervais, our world is full of honesty without one person ever lying. Harsh and critical honesty, turned around when he invents lying for the first time!

These are all my favourites to watch! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Personal Blogs

One week post-op!

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Found this old blog post just one week after receiving my stoma in 2015! I thought it would be great to get it published for any new or upcoming ostomates can have a read! 

So as all of you are aware, I received surgery a week ago and now have a permanent stoma (ileostomy.) I have recovered so well so quickly! I was walking the next morning and was off my PCA pump on Saturday morning! I am on regular pain relief and got home on the following Wednesday! It’s great being able to eat foods I couldn’t before and not feel so ill with constant toilet trips! I am settling in at home great too! The only thing I am struggling with is doing the housework and sleeping.

 The operation went extremely well and was done via keyhole. The doctors, surgeon and nurses are amazed at how quickly I have recovered from this, as are my family and friends. I am still sore and weak, I also get tired so easily but being able to do my own washing and have the comfort of my own tv and sofa is amazing! Spending time with family and friends  isn’t spent in the hospital for once! My scars are still quite purple and sore to touch but I am so thankful to be alive, writing this blog right now. I know that if I didn’t have the surgery, I would be dead, the sepsis and infection in my large bowel was really bad, my surgeon said during removing it, my large bowel was disintegrating inside me.

A bag on my side is such a small price to pay for my life. There is still so much that I want to do and achieve in my life! When I have healed completely which will be in 3 months time from now, I hope to be getting the house finished and get my passport sent away and start saving up for my first holiday! A brilliant Facebook page I am a member of has changed my life completely, called #GetYourBellyOut. Everyone has been so supportive to me and my mum and I have made some AMAZING friends there! I couldn’t have went through the surgery without my friends on #GYBO, friends, family and my amazing doctors. I really want to say thankyou to every single one of you and I have so much love for you all! This blog is dedicated to all of you! One friend in particular who is more of a sister to me called Levi has been there day and night and we have so much in common! I love her to bits and wouldn’t be where I am without her!!! So I now leave the end of this blog as my takeaway is being delivered to my door and away to put on a DVD!

Alannah 🙂

Super sweet to read back on this blog piece and to remember exactly how I felt that night too. As for my friend Levi, that still goes! Crazy to think that had I not met her when I was newly diagnosed at 17, I wouldn’t have come across GetYourBellyOut when I did. Since then, just recently, I raised £100 pounds for the charity to say thankyou for all that they have done for not only me, but the entire IBD and Ostomy Community.

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, People's Stories!

What’s Your Story? Meet Dan!

Dan (38)

During 2004 I suffered with abdominal pain, leading to bleeding and weight loss. This went undiagnosed for months and the belief was that it was due to something as simple as haemorrhoids. After significant weight loss and bleeding I was taken in for further testing (colonoscopy, blood tests and scans) and was admitted to hospital in November. They diagnosed me with a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis. I was put on various medications to try and treat the Colitis and was sent home. I started to see some recovery, but during some very cold weather in December my health deteriorated again. I was admitted early Jan and remained in hospital until March, this time I had surgery for an Ileostomy, only weighing 6st.

My recovery was very slow and I had no support groups or advice around me at the time. After 6 – 8 months I took it upon myself to go down my own fitness route and try and build my own mental and physical strength. The medication was holding the Colitis at bay in what remained of my large bowel, but it was still a daily struggle. After approximately 18 months, I requested a different surgical team. This was due to me wanting the remaining bowel removed and the current surgical teams reluctance to do so. My reasons for wanting this was due to being so young and I had no children etc and the surgery would or could reduce the chance of me being able to have a family, but it was a risk I was willing to take to be better with my health.

My care was transferred to the RVI in Newcastle and I met with a surgeon who immediately agreed to perform the surgery at my request, as he believed my reasoning to be good enough as it was all about my health and wellbeing moving forward. The Colitis was slowing and hindering progress. So, in April 2007 the surgery was scheduled and took place! I was discharged within days. My recovery was only hindered by an MRSA infection in the wound, which has left additional scarring but still gave me no regrets.

By August 2007, I was back on my fitness journey, through gym training, running & Jujitsu training. In 2008 I gained 3 grades in Jujitsu and moved onto different forms of self defence and Martial arts, as well as boxing. In 2010 I ran the Great North Run (half marathon) and continued to push my limits. Again in 2011 but with added weight. For the next few years I started focusing on weight training and did sustain various injuries along the way, my outlook was trial and error to learn about my body. To start trying new things but to understand what was good/bad for me. I rarely had any issues and rarely suffered from flare ups. But when I did they were quite severe, forcing me to stop training and at times seek further medical help via my GP or even A&E. I learned that some training aids such as proteins powders were affecting me. So again I started to consider what or how I was taking these supplements and worked out what was the right balance for me.

2014 was when I first reached out to the IBD and Ostomy community, this was due to an incident in the local gym. I had always been reserved and quiet about my stoma, never discussing openly or letting anyone outside my close circle even know it existed. One evening my sparring partner heel kicked me in the stoma and I dropped, this was the first time I had shown pain and he had no idea, so when I showed him, he took a picture and it ended up online and then contact was made with various people. Some of which are great friends of mine now! Since then I have been much more open, showed a lot of awareness of the disease and my stoma. I even posted a picture of myself the year before to now on the anniversary of my surgery (stomaversary.) In 2016 I competed in a 13 mile Tough Mudder in aid of Crohn’s & Colitis UK. I continue to support and show awareness to this day.

My training now is different and I have pushed so many different boundaries that I feel able to do, I also help and even advise/create training plans for anyone wanting to learn various techniques or goals with or without chronic illness/ostomy. My current programme is for size and strength and have safely gained almost 2 stone in 2020 as well as dropping 8% body fat. I was asked to be part of a local calendar this year and have recently taken part in the photo shoot with all profits going to charity, one being an ostomy related charity called The Purple Wings Charity (you can information about them here.) I have a much higher social following and will reach out to anyone I see struggling and speak to many in the same boat as me daily. I have made a lot of friends for life and will continue to do so.

Since surgery to put it in perspective, I have climbed the professional ladder, I have done a variety of roles, both external and internal and continue to climb. But most importantly to me, I have 3 beautiful children, all of whom know and understand my illness and support me every day. My eldest daughter Ruby (12) always shows support for me on occasions via her Instagram page. I am divorced, however my ex wife remains my best friend and biggest supporter to this day.

Isn’t Dan’s story absolutely outstanding?! A huge thankyou to Dan for sharing his story.

You can find Dan on his Instagram @dannycally82