Personal Blogs

The Enchanted Forest Cosmos

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Last year we went to The Enchanted Forest event to celebrate our first year anniversary of being together. This year we wanted to do the same and make it a yearly thing! This years theme was Cosmos with lots of outer space sounds and visuals.

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This event is held in Pitlochry, a scottish town near Perth. As we are in the North East of Scotland it takes is around 3 hours to get there depending if traffic is OK so this year we left early to get there during the afternoon and explore the town as last year we didn’t have time. We had a little walk around the town and went to a little candy store that had lots! We also had to make a stop into the hardware store as silly me forgot the memory card for my camera! Once we got that sorted we headed back to the hotel where the coaches picked up people for the event, had our complimentary tickets scanned and our hands stamped.

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Once we got onto the coach, they had a recording with cute music playing alongside a voice over, to let everyone know the rules such as not to litter and explaining to children to be careful etc. It took around 5-10 minutes to get to the forest where the event is held and we stepped off and headed towards the beautiful coloured lights. The weather wasn’t exactly on our side but the trees sheltered out most of the rain! Firstly, we went for a bite to eat at the burger stall. Jaimie had a cheese burger meal and I had a hot dog with chips and cheese (my favourite!) The chips were just as amazing as last year but sadly we were both quite disappointed with the hot dog as when tasted, it was just two normal sausages with herbs in them which didn’t taste too nice, I didn’t care too much as the chips were so so good!

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We walked around the lake and viewed all the beautiful displays such as the water light show and these beams that lit up and played music when we touched them! We then got some hot chocolate (just me as Jaimie doesn’t like chocolate) and headed back to the coach. By this time it was really, really cold so we headed back to the car after getting off and put the heated seats and warm air conditioning on!

 

Down below are some photos from the event ;

 

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Personal Blogs

Halloween Tag 2019

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It is Blogtober and that means many wonderful blogs! After being tagged by the lovely @thespooniemummy who has an awesome blog raising awareness on all things chronic illness and parenting.

I thought I would join in on the Halloween Tag 2019, here are the questions!

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1.What’s your favourite non scary Halloween Film?

Casper!! I have loved Casper since I was a little girl and how they intertwine the physic side of life into an epic kids halloween film.

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2. And your scary film to watch is?

I absolutely love scary/horror films.. but of course I can only pick one! So it has to be The Nun. It is simply terrifying and even though it is the last of the Insidious Saga of films, it is actually the first one. It was released after the last Insidious film. I won’t ruin it for you if you are yet to watch it.. if you like a good scare! What I will say is it will definitely leave you sleeping with the light on or destroying a whole multipack of crisps or tub of ice cream without realising!

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3. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

We always have a night in watching scary films or gaming, however last year we had a little switch up and bought the dogs Halloween costumes! When the trick or treaters knocked on the door, we greet them with dressed up doggies and the kids totally love the animals joining in! This year however one of my friends who owns his own bar locally is having a Halloween party on November the 1st so we will be dressing up and attending that, I’m also doing the photography for that so it will be really fun!

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4. What is your favourite season of American Horror Story?

That is such a tough decision to make as each season is bloody amazing! I’m 50/50 with The Asylum and The Hotel! I love the Asylum because it highlights such important factors within the mental healthcare system back in that time and also how in those days mixed racial relationships had to be kept hidden and if anyone knew, these couple received such awful back lash not only from the community but also their own families. The nazi doctor who did experiments at the mental asylum was also crazy, infact wacko! It was so well put together showing how each patient was mentally unwell/unstable but they were all affected differently.

There is no question as to why I love The Hotel… it has Lady Gaga as the main character! If you love vampires then this season is definitely for you. The glamour, the mystery and the deaths inside the hotel that trap their souls forever is so interesting.

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5. Favourite thing about Halloween?

E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G! What isn’t to love about Halloween?! It gives me the excuse to snack on absolute crap for one ha ha! In all seriousness though, I love the creativity that flows within people – the makeup, home made or bought costumes, families coming together and taking the little ones trick or treating and all the fun Halloween games such as dookin’ for apples!

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6. What Halloween costume will you or your children be wearing this year?

This year I’m breaking my Zombie Nurse costume that I used to wear every year and I’m going for an eco-friendly costume that I bought from Ebay which is a Skeleton bodysuit and skeleton tights. Halloween costumes are so great and the less plastic we use for costumes each year, the better. I don’t have any children as of yet however the dogs have a variety of costumes to choose from such as a shark, jester, pikachu and much more!

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7. Has anything spooky ever happened to you?

Yes, quite a list but I won’t bore you with the entire list! I always have to remember that not everyone shares the same views or beliefs however, the scariest thing that happened to me was when I was 17 when I was newly diagnosed with my illness- Crohns Disease. At this time I stayed with my mum and was very unwell. One night I woke up to people standing around my bed and it was so terrifying, I screamed and cried. I eventually cried myself back to sleep and when I woke up there was noone there.. I later discovered the people I saw were passed over. Since then, I have seen a lot of non living people and have had dreams where my Granda and another person I knew called Gav who visit me.

It is quite terrifying to  be able to see the unliving and I try to ignore it as much as possible as I’m not quite ready to live my life being comfortable with it and having them around me more.

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8. Who is your favourite fictional serial killer?

Damn, just fictional! It definitely has to be A from Pretty Little Liars! As it was originally a book. It first starts off as Mona then as the series goes on, it turns into CC being A!

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9. What’s on your Halloween playlist?

I actually don’t have a playlist dedicated to halloween as my music taste is full of variety! Mostly Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Disturbed, Slipknot, Nirvana etc. But if I had to pick some then they would definitely be The Cranberries – Zombie, Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper and Bad Wolves – Killing Me Softly.

Now I have to tag other bloggers to continue the Halloween tag 2019! I have chosen;

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crohnsfighting 

Colitis and Me

Have a lovely Halloween and make sure to give these bloggers a follow!

 

 

 

Life With A Stoma, Personal Blogs

5 Years Today I Was No Longer Homeless!

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Today, five years ago I finally got the keys to my permanent home after being in homeless accommodation for 7 months. Aberdeenshire Council were so helpful in finding me a permanent home and I am still to this day very grateful. The rent was crazy expensive at almost £90 per week in homeless accommodation, so by the time it was time to move I was in quite a bit of debt.

I moved in on the 16 of October 2014 and had no idea just what was about to happen just a few months later. By January 2015 I fell gravely ill and was hospitalised with the biggest Crohn’s flare I had ever had from contracting a bacteria called Campylobacter. From January until June 2015 I spent those months in and out of hospital and at the beginning of June, I had surgery to have a stoma placed and my entire large bowel removed due to sepsis. It was stressful as I wasn’t in my new home for very long at periods of time and when I was able to go home, I spent some weekends at my mums just to avoid having to do anything tiring like changing my bed or lifting a kettle. Again this repeated in September where my rectal stump had become septic and I needed that removed too. The operation was the easiest one I have had and I got home just three days later.. until the wound got infected.

For a few years I struggled with the infections, losing blood, vomiting, pain and fatigue. My home changed over the years from colour, furniture, flooring etc but I really struggled to have a feel of the house being ‘home’. I struggled financially and was never happy with what I had because it was all I could afford at the time and I wasn’t able to upcycle anything due to being so poorly. However now sitting here in my comfy, cosy bed on a lovely Autumn night I am really beginning to love what I have achieved. Most things have been left to break before replacing them such as kitchen essentials. Slowly I have been replacing the old with the new and making it fresh and bright. All I have to replace now is the dressing table! As it is fast approaching to winter the garden will have to be redone nearer summer time.

I have paid all my debts off that I had from back then but of course we know that life is not cheap!

I have also learnt that you really don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy things in life. A wedding doesn’t need to be so expensive that you spend the rest of your life paying it off or for a honeymoon that will really break the bank. Special days, memories and moments can be priceless and cost not one penny. When you are chronically ill, the littlest things can mean the most and we appreciate life as it is.

Being in a happy home that feels like home is something not everyone is so lucky to have and I think that makes us appreciate it even more.

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

How To Pass The Time On Bad Days

It may seem a strange to blog about how to pass time when you are having a bad day, but in reality time really does go slow when you are having a bad day, for example with pain or mental health. Many of us are guilty of trying to pass the time by scrolling through social media and find that it can sometimes make you feel worse or if it’s really late and no one is online, it can make you feel quite lonely.

So how can we pass the time during these difficult times?

  • Apps such as Pinterest, the Kindle App, YouTube, Sky Go and games that you like or may like to try.
  • Gaming on your laptop, PC or gaming consoles (for cheaper prices on games visit cdkeys.com)
  • Colouring in or diamond painting (you can get these cheap on eBay)
  • Picking a new hobby such as photography or walking if able.
  • Doing D.I.Y projects that are within your limits such as revamping an old mirror or old furniture.
  • Visiting the beach if it isn’t a cold day! The sea air smell and sounds are so relaxing that you don’t need to walk around the beach to enjoy it, just sitting with a flask of tea or coffee watching the sea is lovely.
  • Doing crafts, many people make beautiful things such as hats, scarves, sculptures and scrabble pictures.

For more ideas on what you can learn to do, visit google or Pinterest where there are so many ideas to choose from!

Please also remember that should you need to rest and sleep a few or many hours a day, do not feel guilty! I spend a lot of hours per day sleeping or napping and I always remind myself that listening to your own body is so important. On the good days, make the best of them! After a day of sleeping, I try to get my housework done and if the weather is nice then I like to go for a little walk with my pooches. Each day is very different, if not every hour so do what you can when able and try not to be hard on yourself.💕

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

Looking At The Positives

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Hello all, it’s been a while hasn’t it! I hope you are all doing well and my apologies for being so quiet this last little while.

So what’s new? Not much is new really! I had my implant removed finally which is slowly improving my acne. My mental health really hasn’t been good at all as it’s been a very stressful month or so and I have taken quite a bit of time out for myself to focus on family and friends. I have to admit that I’m not quite 100% and need to revisit my GP for a referral to get more mental health help but I have fantastic support from Jaimie, his parents and my parents. Having the dogs around has been my cushion when I fall, when the world feels like all hope is gone- there they are with a lovely soft cuddle and lots of kisses. As for moving house, I have decided that it just isn’t the right time due to the stress moving causes so I’m happy to stay where we are. It gave me the push I needed, though, to declutter my wardrobes etc! Biggie had his operation to remove his manhood and has recovered well and is now a little water baby and it is so, so cute!

Now, it’s about trying to get more into N.O stands for ‘Next Opportunity’ and focusing on the positives. A break from things like social media (and if you are a blogger, then blogging too) does you the world of good. I had a few issues with others trying to shed me in a public negative way and after so long I told myself that enough was enough and I deserved better and to only surround myself with good people who care about me and my wellbeing and what a lovely bunch they are! Even people that I don’t know who follow my blog and social media’s have been incredibly supportive and I thank you all so much. At the moment I will be doing some blogging here and there and remain to write articles for the Stoma Tips Magazine and possibly work on some blog contributions in the next few weeks.

Health wise i.e my Crohn’s Disease etc hasn’t been ideal but I’m coping. The Chronic Migraines has been the worst alongside Chronic Sinusitis and Arthritis but I have listened to my body and rested when I can, mostly watching Harry Potter! I also binge watched the new season 3 of 13 Reasons Why and Euphoria which were brilliant. Things can only get better and I will do my best to make sure of it! I also need to start watching That Crohns Chick more, if you aren’t subscribed to her Youtube Channel you can do so by clicking here to check it out!

A big thank you for reading and supporting me.

-Alannah

 

 

Awareness, Life With A Stoma

Purple Wings Ostomy Calendar

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Earlier this year, back in March, I took part in a photoshoot with The Purple Wings Charity and some other lovely women for the Ladies Ostomy Calendar for 2020! This photo is of all of together after our individual photos with the lovely women from The Purple Wings Charity, Lauren and Paige.

I flew down from Scotland on the friday and stayed until the sunday and flew back home on the Sunday too. Louise A.K.A Crohnsfighting was a super ostomy Mom and picked me up from the Airport! The weather stayed good too.

It was such a lovely day! All of us ladies got to meet and have a chat and had our makeup done by the lovely Jasmine Stacey (you may remember her from her ostomy underwear line The Jasmine Stacey Collection), beautifully made buffet food which I definitely had too much of! and then we had our photoshoots done by Lisa the photographer who was so relaxed and kept everyone super calm as a lot of us were quite nervous!

Here are a few of my favourites from the photoshoot;

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If you would like to do it for next year or any of the years to come, go for it! It has given us ladies a much needed confidence boost and it’s an opportunity of a life time, full of memories I will never forget!

Uncategorized

Stoma Products Review: Confidence Be Soft Convex Stoma Bag

Today is Wednesday the 3rd of July and I have finally received the Confidence Be Soft Convex black drainable bags in the post! As today is bag change day, I am going to be trying the bag sample out!

First impressions of the bags are great! Very soft, lightweight and aesthetically pleasing! Putting the bag on was very easy and being completely honest, it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a bag! It doesn’t crinkle on the skin or rustle like most bags do when there is movement. The flange sticks very well and it feels soft and light with no indications of leakage from the product itself.

However, after emptying the bag I found that when I went back to empty each time, there was leakage of the contents of the bag at the opening at the bottom. No matter how much I tried to clean and put tissue inside the bottom, the same thing kept happening. I also found that it was messy and it made emptying the bag quite difficult due to mess and getting well basically, poop on my hand. The type of fabric that is used also makes it difficult to slide your hand down when in the process of emptying.

I think this range of bags are more for late ostomates rather than new because of the leakage issue when emptying. If you are a new ostomate with this bag on in hospital and on pain relief, tired and learning about having a stoma, the mess is going to make accepting of the stoma a bit more difficult and also very messy. For us more older ostomates (those who have had their stoma longer than 6 months) it isn’t so bad as we know what to expect and how to deal with the mess as such.

That being said, if you don’t mind a little bit of mess which is easily cleaned up and want a bag that will give you that confidence boost with the colour range, making the bag blend in with your clothing, then this is absolutely the bag for you!

Mental Health Blogs, People's Stories!, Uncategorized

What’s Your Story? Meet Lisa!

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Lisa (37) was diagnosed at age 21 with Crohn’s Disease.

During Lisa’s time with Crohn’s Disease, she has had to endure 7 surgeries, 3 abscesses, 1 drain, numerous hospital stays (longest one being 5 months) and many complications, infections and procedures all whilst working full time as a nurse. For the past 10 years Lisa has not been able to work but spends her time doing her favourite hobbies such as art. After 2 years of taking a medication called Humira which suppresses the immune system, Lisa still suffers from active fistulas from her stomach which leak out the abdomen!Lisa was also diagnosed with Anxiety, a mental health condition which can be quite commonly ‘hand-in-hand’ with a Chronic Illness, which has been getting worse for her over the years. Lisa said “I personally think unless you’ve actually experienced anxiety, on any level, you have no idea what it feels like!”

“I felt so alone, I honestly didn’t know how strong I was until I had to go through this roller coaster.”

During her first hospital admission, Lisa had an Appendectomy which confirmed she had Crohn’s Disease and this came to no surprise as being a nurse meant she had already studied Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the nursing programme. It still left her with feeling scared, alone and worried. Lisa had a good life until the age of 19, where luck was always on her side with a bright future ahead but this changed after her diagnosis which meant she was no longer in charge of her life or ahead of the game. For the next ten years, Lisa tried to live her life as normal as possible doing things she loved such as partying, going to concerts and working hard and hid her suffering from all those around her. One positive that has come from having Crohn’s Disease and the experiences surrounding being chronically ill is that it had benefited Lisa in her career as a nurse which meant she had more empathy and was able to be patient with people.

“The craziest part is that I’m the happiest human all the time…constantly trying to do anything to make others smile.”

Relationships were a big worry for her, due to severity of the disease and how unpredictable it can be, accidents can happen and dashing to the toilet becomes the ‘norm’. “I was going for the broken type of guys (the ones who needed ‘fixed’) The broken guy who needs to rescuing, aka the single dad or the guy with no job.” Luckily, Lisa soon realised that relationships like that just don’t work, it isn’t anyone’s job to fix someone else. During Lisa’s time being poorly, her mum was a huge support to her.

“I’d never have thought that my mom would be helping my sick, limp, malnourished body from a wheelchair to the bathroom chair in the hospital, and washing my hair for me when in my early 30’s. My mom was right there beside me, rubbing my back and helping me with getting me a clean basin for being sick.”

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Albert (8) in picture above

The next part any Chronically Ill person gets quite often is the dreaded question of “when are you having kids?” Due to having treatment for Crohn’s Disease, Lisa was never in a position where she was well enough to try for children then the issue of most medications being used to treat IBD, you cannot get pregnant whilst on them. Now at 37 years old and on Humira again it is advised that you don’t get pregnant on this medication so it is very difficult. For Lisa, her dog Alfie is her kid! Albert short for Albert, is an eight year old Shihtzu. “It’s a cute little story how we got put together, I wasn’t looking to buy a dog!…. When I first saw Albert, he was about 3 months old. I was supposed to take care of him while friends of mine went for a tropical holiday for a week over the winter holidays. When they returned, I knew they saw how much albert and I were meant to be! I still remember my friend yelling “Merry Christmas!” as she left my place! My favourite Christmas gift of all time!” The joy, love and laughter that Albert brings to Lisa daily, keeps her fighting through and continues to give her strength.

Stoma Products Reviews

Stoma Products Review: Salts Adhesive Remover Spray and Wipes

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When I first had surgery for my Ileostomy in 2015, one of the first products I had at home was the Salts Adhesive Remover Spray. Over the years I have tried many different ones and then at The Purple Wings Charity Photoshoot in March this year, I ran out and my friend Annie gave me a spare bottle that she had which was the Salts one.

 I went onto the Salts website and ordered another sample so I could use it more than once and review it so other ostomates can read about the different products that are available. After calling Salts they also asked if I would like sample of the Adhesive Remover Wipes which also smell of peppermint and of course I said yes!

So now I will talk about using the products. Salts recommend using the Adhesive Remover Spray to peel the edges of the flange and then to use the Adhesive Remover Wipes to remove the pouch itself. The first thing I noticed about the product was the lovely smell of peppermint! Usually when changing my stoma bag there is always a slight smell which is totally normal but with this spray, there was no smell present at all. After using my other stoma products, I put them all into my stoma wash bag and tied up the disposable bag and put it in the bin, usually after changing my bag a smell lingers for a while. However when I went into the bathroom afterwards, the only smell was of peppermint!

Throughout the day, my skin felt so refreshed from the peppermint and it was really pleasant. I even have gotten my partner who also has an Ileostomy to try it and he absolutely loves it! I asked him what he thought about it and this is what he said:

“It is really refreshing and made my skin around my stoma feel really fresh. It made taking off my pouch really easy and quick, whilst being pain free with no irritation to my skin.”

The wipes took off any left over adhesive from the skin completely pain free and quickly too. I would highly recommend these products and if you would like to order a sample or take a look at their products, then please click here. You can also follow them via Instagram @saltshealthcare and twitter @SaltsHealthcare.

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Uncategorized

Where Did HIV and AIDS Come From?

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After watching the documentary about Freddie Mercury and the film Bohemian Rhapsody, I wanted to find out more about where the diseases HIV and AIDS came from. The impact that these two diseases have brought to people in several countries was and has been catastrophic.

Let’s talk about HIV and AIDS – 

HIV broken down is Human Immunodeficiency Virus which attacks the immune system and becomes AIDS, was first discovered in America in the 1980’s. At first people didn’t know what to call the disease and referred to is as ‘gay’ due to the fact that gay men were reporting to have rare diseases such as Kaposi’s Sarcoma and a lung infection called PCP which were linked to this unknown disease.

AIDS broken down is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and is the most advanced stage of HIV.  Someone with AIDS has both HIV and at least one of a specific list of ‘AIDS-defining’ diseases, which include tuberculosis, pneumonia and some types of cancer.

In 1983 the death rate from HIV was 16,500 which raised in 2006 when the death rate went up to 2,000,000. In 1999 scientists found a strain of SIV in a chimpanzee which was very similar to HIV which affected humans and it was then proven that HIV had come from chimpanzees after contamination from chimpanzee to human. But how did the chimpanzee get SIV? Scientists conducted even more research into how the monkey’s got SIV in the first place and soon realised that a chimpanzee had eaten two other similar and smaller monkey’s, in which each monkey had a different strain of SIV. Due to this chimpanzee eating two monkey’s with a different strain of SIV each, combined this turned into a third virus which can affect humans known as HIV.

So how did humans become contaminated with HIV from chimpanzees?

It’s thought that humans killed and ate the infected chimps or their blood got into contact with a wound or cut. There are 4 different types of HIV which include the groups M,N,O and P, the main strain that has spread throughout the world and is responsible for the highest rate of HIV infections is group M. The earliest that this was detected was back in 1959 where a blood sample was taken from a man in the origin of Congo. From this, we know that HIV first developed in Africa (Kinshasa to be exact) so the next question to answer – how did HIV spread from Africa? In the area of Kinshasa, there are many transport links such as the roads, railways and rivers. It also had an increasing sex trade around the time that HIV was beginning to spread which is believed to have largely contributed to the spread of the disease. This has resulted in racism and discrimination to those who live there.

People only became aware of HIV in the 1980’s when it was officially discovered as a new health condition. In 1983 the disease was given more research by researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France which discovered by the end of 1983 that the unknown disease was finally acknowledged as AIDS and that HIV was the cause of AIDS. It was also concluded that those who were higher risk of the disease were haemophiliacs (a rare condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot) and heroin users. HIV stays in the body for life, however treatment is available and can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. Without this  medication people with HIV can develop AIDS and is life threatening. If HIV is caught early and treated with medication, it will not lead to AIDS.

How can you can you get AIDS?

  • Vaginal or anal sex without a condom
  • if your partner has an unknown HIV status, a detectable viral load
  • Sharing injecting drug equipment
  • Oral sex

Treatment for HIV is a medication first started in 1997 which increases a person’s CD4 count and reduces their viral load. This means that those who caught HIV before 1997 developed AIDS and as a result passed away. Treatment is now so effective that it reduces someone’s viral load to undetectable levels within 6 months, maintaining them to have a healthy immune system and this means that they cannot pass on the virus.