Uncategorized

I Have Been Nominated For The WEGO Health Awards!

As a chronic illness patient and sufferer, blogging my journey has really helped not only me but many people in various online communities. Being nominated for the WEGO Health Awards is amazing!

There are so many great bloggers and support groups such as GetYourBellyOut, within different communities who also have been nominated which is fantastic. I am so honoured for the support from each and every one of you and thankyou so much, thankyou to those who nominate me in advance too.

It’s so important to make chronic illness awareness in a positive light but also to let people know that it is OK not to be OK. We have more bad days than good but making the best of the good stuff can really help. It’s also important to remind other chronically ill patients that you DO have a choice in your care and who cares for you. It’s also important to find support, friendships and a doctor that you have built trust with.

If you would like to nominate me please click here!

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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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Awareness, Life With A Stoma, Uncategorized

Colostomy UK Events!

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The Colostomy UK charity supports and empowers people living with a stoma. This year they have some fantastic events for ostomates to attend and the best part…? for FREE! Yes you read that correct! Ostomates can gain confidence and be active without the worry of funding it themselves.

A little more about Colostomy UK;

As mentioned above, they are a charity who help and support people with stomas. They also have a support group on Facebook with over 7,000 people, which you can find by clicking here and is run by volunteers. They also have volunteers on a 24 hour phone line which is 0800 328 4257 if you would like to talk to someone.  Their website which is linked at the top of this blog has so many resources such as a blog which shares people’s stories, to view my story on their blog please click Alannah’s Story, The Tidings Magazinea link to your local Colostomy UK support group, Open days and films!

So what events is available to take part in this year?

For Swimming Locations and Dates:

Rugby League Matches: 

Bigger chair yoga activity Locations and Dates:

  • Chester hospital open day April 24
  • Stoke Mandeville hospital open day June 8th
  • Bristol Ostomy support open day June 1st

 

The activities are run through a project called Active Ostomates and carried out through support groups. You don’t need to be a member of the support groups to take part but it means that people are carrying out these activities with people they know, in an environment they know.

Hopefully you are close by and can take part!

 

 

Uncategorized

The Purple Wings Calendar Photoshoot!

Myself and The Purple Wings charity would be so grateful if you could sponsor me for the 2020 Ostomy Calendar Photoshoot!

This will be my first photoshoot with my Ileostomy also known as a stoma! I have been fundraising for this charity for a short period of time and I really hope I can get sponsors and fundraise, so that ostomates can regain their confidence during and after surgery for a stoma.

About The Charity:

“,17,100 people need stoma surgery each year.

Purple Wings is Here to Help

Recover, Adapt & Overcome

The vision of the charity is to help ostomates regain confidence through our Time for Me Grants. This is a tailor made service and is very much based on a relationship built between the person applying for the grant and all of us here at the charity. It might be that a person really…

View original post 121 more words

Uncategorized

My Favourite Places to Visit in Scotland!

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If you live in Scotland, there are some amazing places to visit. There are still some other places I would like to visit too!

Here’s a list of my favourite places to visit!

Cullen.

A sea-side town with an amazing beach and the ice cream shop there makes the most amazing ice cream I have ever tasted! Not to mention the fresh fish at the chipper!

 

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Oban.

Another seaside town, going at the times where tourists aren’t around is better as it’s more quiet. It is next to the Isle of Mull (where Ballamory the kids show was filmed, in Toblamory.)

Ullapool.

A little town where people use the ferry quite a lot, one thing I am still to experience! Again amazing fresh fish. There is a restaraunt I adore right next to sea across from the gift shop, just down from the campsite.

Dufftown.

A small village with amazing views! If you like photography then Dufftown is like a dream for scenery. It also has Dufftown Fairy Village where in the forest, someone has made a little village with miniature houses and they are so stunning. It is also where the Glenfiddich Distillery is located, that makes Glenfiddich whisky.

Pitlochry.

A little town with more stunning scenery but the town itself looks like it’s from a movie! If you go around October time, you can attend The Enchanted Forest. We went in 2018 and I want to go every year for as long as it is running! It was absolutely magical and it’s fun for all the family!

And lastly, Gardenstown.

A very small little seaside village that is really quiet but stunning. There is a really, really old graveyard with skulls and crosses on the gravestones!

Awareness, Uncategorized

The Purple Wings Calendar Photoshoot!

Myself and The Purple Wings charity would be so grateful if you could sponsor me for the 2020 Ostomy Calendar Photoshoot!

This will be my first photoshoot with my Ileostomy also known as a stoma! I have been fundraising for this charity for a short period of time and I really hope I can get sponsors and fundraise, so that ostomates can regain their confidence during and after surgery for a stoma.

About The Charity:

“,17,100 people need stoma surgery each year.

Purple Wings is Here to Help

Recover, Adapt & Overcome

The vision of the charity is to help ostomates regain confidence through our Time for Me Grants. This is a tailor made service and is very much based on a relationship built between the person applying for the grant and all of us here at the charity. It might be that a person really needs some ‘me’ time by relaxing at a spa, going on a shopping trip and attending a photo shoot for example.

Sometimes the service can provide outings for families and couples as we all know how hard it can be on the people around us at a time of illness. The charity has sent people for meals with loved ones to ensure that ‘us’ time is catered for. We have also sent families for days out. Whatever it is we do for you, it really based on your individual needs and proving that you really can ‘live’ not just ‘exist’.”

To sponsor me, please click here! Thankyou in advance to every single person who sponsors me!

– Alannah, A.K.A Glitterygutsx 💜

Chronic Illness Blogs, Uncategorized

Home Remedies

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I have experienced and noticed many issues people can have such as a sore spot or sore skin after a bag leak, which leaves us wondering what on earth to use when these things happen. So, I am passing onto you what has been passed onto me that has worked, from items that you may have in your home.

Sore skin after a bag leak 

Calamine Lotion is fantastic for soothing sore skin after a bag leak along side plenty oxygen for a couple of days, at each bag change. I use a cotton wool pad and soak it in the lotion and dab it gently onto my skin then air it out with the window open for around 5 minutes. I use this as well as my skin barrier spray.

Spots or puss spots 

Tea Tree Oil helps to dry up the spots and draw out any infection. I find it’s best to put this on before going to bed at night after washing your face. You can also use toothpaste and let it try, it too is good to dry up spots.

Dry skin 

Coconut oil mixed with sugar is great to exfoliate and get rid of dry skin either on your lips or face and has no chemicals to irritate the skin. It also smells super good!

Cleaning body piercings 

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to clean your body piercings, simply get a mug and pop in some boiling hot water from the kettle and lots of salt and put the piercings in for a few hours. Not only are they sterilized but also super shiny!

Sore throat and cough 

You know when you have a cold in the works when your nose starts to run and your throat starts to get sore with a cough, taking paracetamol appropriately is good. At home you can find things to help in your kitchen to help too. Simply boil the kettle and in a mug put in squeezy honey and some lemon juice, I add in 1 sugar to help sweeten it up! You can also gurgle salt water too before hand.

Sleeping issues or insomnia 

There is information to say that melatonin can help with sleeping troubles which is mostly found in Milk. However Lavender can help if you have the essential oils lying around, drop some on your bed sheets, making sure to avoid where your face would come into contact.

Migraines and Headaches 

If medication isn’t a possibility to help with your Migraines or sore heads, I have found some things that help me when the pain just won’t budge or medication hasn’t worked. Ice packs on the back of the neck and forehead really helps relieve the pain. I also open the window for fresh air to help keep the room at a suitable temperature.

Swollen, Puffy or Sore Eyes

For sore and swollen or puffy eyes, cucumber is really good at taking that down, along side antihistamines. Cut into slices and place one on each eye and leave for around 10-15 minutes,

Blocked sinuses or Stuffy Nose

Peppermint oil combined with Eucalyptus oil is really good for clearing blocked sinuses or if you have a sinus infection and have a lot of pain. It’s great for stuffy noses too as it helps you breathe. I put some drops into a bowl of boiling water or menthol crystals and have it sitting next to me, before bed I make sure to have one at my beside to help me breathe throughout the night.

Toothache, Gum or Abscess Pain

Clove oil is great for toothace, gum and abscess pain in the mouth. Pop some onto a cotton wool stick and dab onto the affected area!

Joint Pain or Swelling and Muscle Pain

Having a nice warm bath can soothe those aches and pains. I found that the Radox Bath Salts were so good on my sore joints, the lavender also helped me to relax and smelled lovely!

Wound Healing or Soothing Wounds

Again, a warm bath with just salt can really help with wound healing or itching. I usually put in a couple of table spoons.

 

 

 

Chronic Illness Blogs, Uncategorized

Coping With Grief

Grief is an unimaginably painful thing to go through and live with on a daily basis. It’s a pain you can’t describe in great detail apart from a piece of your heart is just gone, dark like an empty room with no lights on.. when nobody is home.

Like many, grief has happened in my life and still to this day I struggle with that. I also struggle to accept change in cases where people change or a place I once went to is knocked down; that sort of thing. When my life changed due to being unwell and having surgeries it was hard. Yet somehow as surgery and illness is part of my daily existance, I have managed to accept that but I still find myself asking the question of “why?”.

When my granda passed almost 12 years ago that crashed my world and has brought so much change to my life and family as I once knew it. I remember his prickly mustache as I kissed him goodnight before I went to bed when I was staying over at my Grama and Grandas and how it itched. I remember him and grama watching casualty or the ice cream floats he made us with moray cup whilst watching The Lion King. Or the hot chocolates with cream on top and getting it half way accross my face. The hot summers where we would make dens in the garden with blankets or playing in the paddling pool whilst he worked away in the shed. My granda adored fish and I remember watching the beautiful Tetra’s swimming around in his fishtank and now having my own fish tank and fish it reminds me of him and on a day I really struggle, I sit and watch them.

The truth is we all suffer from grief. It’s always in the back of your mind. In times where I was on my death bed dying, I wished my granda was there to hold my hand or comfort me. There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief, it’s such a personal thing that what works for you and helps you cope may be different for someone else. Some people like to visit graves and pay their respects with a bunch of flowers or candles. Others just cannot bare to look at a persons grave. This is OK!

Many people who become ill grieve for the life they once knew of and had. The huge change in working full time and being out of the house and doing things whenever they had the time, to then being ill full time and trying to get through the day with pain, sickness and fatigue can be mentally just as challenging. I often dwell on the life I once had (when I was well) and it literally eats me up when I look back at old photos on how I used to look. There was no dark circles under my eyes, my face didn’t swell and I was pretty much care free. I partied with friends and enjoyed going out in cars or taking pictures of scenery. How can you explain the grief of loosing yourself? You just can’t.

At some point we have to realise that living life whilst always looking back won’t take us forward. Letting go of grief is extremely difficult. I’m lucky that the people around me have accepted that I will never be able to let go of loosing my granda. I still cry about it and I am lucky enough to have dreams where he is there like nothing ever changed but this does come with over whelming grief when I wake up and it takes me a few days to get myself together.

Do things that would make your lost loved one proud and something you too can be proud of. No matter how small it is. Be ambitious and strive for great things. Thanks to my granda for always believing I would do great things, I found love and passion in writing and doing my blog. Doing blog pieces for other companies and raising awareness is so joyful I couldn’t explain how it makes me feel, even if I tried!

It is hard living life without that person you loved or respected. Honestly all I can say is that when you are surrounded with people who accept your grief and do not question it, it makes it easier to cope with and continue each day. My most important advice to you is if you are grieving – don’t hold it in and don’t bottle it up. Talk to someone about it, be it a doctor, councillor or friends and family. I only talk to my partner about it and for the first time I am writing about it to help others who are going through this pain.

Just know that every little step forward that you take is a big and powerful thing. In doing so, you are doing so well in trying to cope and continue with the daily chores of life.♡