Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs, Pregnancy and Baby

Healthy Eating With An Ostomy

Recently, my partner and I have been calorie counting and eating much more healthy. If you are new to my blog or didn’t know, my partner also has an Ileostomy and we both have Crohns Disease.

Six months ago, I had a c section to have our son Odin and since then, I have put on weight whereas before my son, I struggled to keep any weight I put on.  I’ve not only struggled with fitting into my clothes and body confidence, but also my skin. It’s not unknown that skin conditions associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease can creep up on you at some time in your life and for me, this started three months ago and I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to leave the house, I made very minimal effort but whenever I did have to leave the house, I tried to cover my red and broken out skin best as I could. It was also extremely painful and washing my face hurt and, it would smell really bad some days. Like others with IBD, I need to have a low fibre/low residue diet which can mean a lot of fatty, processed and sugary foods because most healthy foods cause pain, wind, diarrhoea, blockages and vomiting.

As I said at the beginning, we started healthy eating and calorie counting. Now, we had zero idea how this was going to go because throughout and after my pregnancy, I kept getting really bad blockages and severe constipation. Every time I had any fruit or vegetables, my stomach and stoma played absolute havoc! So far, it has been two weeks since we started our weight loss journey with an app called My Fitness App, recommended by two other ostomates on twitter. To start, I put in the current weight I was at, my height and what my goal weight is that I would like to be. It then calculates how much calories you need per day and it has a diary section where you put in your intake for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks and water intake.

Meal planning has been much easier than we expected. The app has a recipes section, with lots of amazing recipes to choose from. When it comes to eating healthy and following recipes, you need to adapt them to your needs and so, in this instance, I know I cant eat anything wholemeal at all. So for each recipe that uses wholemeal for example, rice, I use white rice because that’s what is safe and best for my stoma and Crohn’s. It’s been so much fun making everything from scratch at home together! My favourites are the banana and almond smoothie and the potato and carrot latkes. There is also a section for workouts such as yoga and videos showing you how! I haven’t ventured into these yet but I do plan on doing that next week as at the moment I am trying to go for small walks each day to get steps in but I find that difficult due to my mobility issues so I know the home yoga may be good for me.

So, to current date (6th April) I have lost 8 pounds! My skin has also become so much better as I don’t eat a lot of processed foods that I had previously of eaten a few weeks ago. Food somehow tastes a whole lot better and so much more fresh. We are enjoying it so much so, that takeout isn’t very appealing anymore! I’m looking forward to fitting into my clothes and just feeling better in general. I have noticed how much better mentally I feel by cutting out crappy foods and snacks, not fully, because obviously I have mental health conditions (which are caused by chemical problems in the brain and gut) so they will never fully go away but any improvement is better than none in my eyes. I have surgery to remove all my wisdom teeth in May, which means I will be on a liquid diet for a couple of weeks. There are lots of high calorie but healthy things available on the app, so I can find lots of recipes to help. There is also Google, so these will make sure I don’t loose too much at once.

If you want to loose weight, you have to make the start! Adapt the diet and recipes that you know, to suit your body and chronic illness. That ensures you don’t cause any issues for your health by triggering any flares etc. Good luck to anyone on their journey or if this has given you motivation to start then I hope it goes well! ❤️

Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs, Pregnancy and Baby

Travelling

Waiting for the train. 15/03/21

Travelling for the first time on my own since having Odin has felt so strange. I’ve missed him from the minute my partner drove away in the car. Finally, after being on the train for a half hour, I was able to relax and enjoy the Scottish scenery we are so lucky to have here in Scotland!

We were up at 8:30 am. I got showered and packed the last of my things after changing Odin whilst my partner fed him and let our doggy out for his morning business! My train was at 10:13 am so we left the house around 9:40 am to make it there in time for me to print out my train tickets. It was bloody freezing, so I quickly dug out my hat and gloves from my backpack (pictured above, which is from Hype.) Once on the first train, I popped in my wireless headphones and put on my rock playlist. I was feeling pretty down from missing my boys, but after coming off the first train, I went and got a coffee and a maple pecan plait (which is my favourite bakery food!!) And back to listening to my playlist on Spotify, I feel a lot better. It sounds super strange, but it definitely helps to pick some really chilled out rock when I feel anxious.

So what are my tips for travelling with a stoma? In my previous blog from when I flew with my stoma (you can find by clicking here.), I haven’t blogged about travelling on the train with a stoma! Here are some tips that may help you;

  • Apart from the main things you need, it’s handy to bring a backpack with your essentials in there, for example, medication, juice, snacks, hand sanitiser, and a phone charger.
  • Empty your bag when you can, especially when you feel it getting near halfway. This will help you not only avoid leaks but also panic! If you suffer from frequent leaks or eat anything high in fibre the night before and are a little worried, take some spare stoma supplies in your backpack. Eating low fibre foods if you are sensitive to those also helps and drink plenty of isotonic drinks to keep hydrated, for if you have a long journey, it can be quite warm on public transport.

Thanks to Scotrail for having WiFi on the train, I was also able to video call with my partner, which helped my anxiety A LOT. I got to see Odin and my dog, Biggie, and see how they all were doing. The views on the train from Montrose were absolutely stunning, too! I forgot there was a bridge and freaked out a little being on a train above water, haha! Once I arrived in Glasgow, it was onto busy and exciting things! Which I can’t reveal just yet (which also means when I do, my social media will be private for a little while). After my slightly busy afternoon, I came back to my hotel and nipped to tesco for some makeup remover wipes because I forgot to take my Elemis cleanser with me, then ordered some food from Tofu Asian Fusion Partick (a place that specialises in tofu but is highly recommended by people I know and me!)

After food, I got tucked into bed and started to watch the new Jeremy Kyle documentary on Channel 4 via the all 4 app, (gutted it’s only just two episodes!) and relaxed for the night. In the morning, I had a fabulous relaxing shower, a coffee, and lounged around in my towel whilst doing my makeup and continued to watch the second episode of the Jeremy Kyle documentary. Once ready, I popped off to go the shop for some isotonic drinks and a quick look in the charity shop, in which I managed to grab a bargain; a top for just £2.50! Then, a quick dash to my taxi and then the start of a busy and exciting day! After an exciting and emotional but fun day, I had to make a quick dash back to the hotel to check out. I then picked up a coffee and toastie before heading off to get my first train home (I had a couple of changes to get).

Finally, after what felt like forever, I got onto my last train home!! The anticipation to see my boys was crazy! The whole hour, I was thinking, “I can’t wait to see them and give them all a big squeeze!!” Which is EXACTLY what I did when I saw them once returning home! Odin became wide awake with excitement (he was fast asleep in the car). I ran a bubble bath after changing Odin’s nappy and popped him to bed and then enjoyed a lovely soak in the bath and then also went to bed!

Travelling can be exhausting when travelling, so it is important to take time for yourself and rest when you get home.

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

Chronically Ill Parenting

My new YouTube channel series!

A bit late to the party! However, my new YouTube series is now up and running after months of wanting to do it!

Once a month, I will be interviewing chronically ill parents, ostomates, those who suffer with mental health and also interviewing those who have struggled and do struggle with fertility. My first live stream was this evening at 7pm and will be edited and posted onto the channel to view at any time.

I thought it was important to highlight the struggles and achievements that chronically ill parents have throughout life! I know whilst I was pregnant, that there just wasn’t that support available and I’m hoping this can help other chronic illness sufferers and ostomates when planning to have a family, even if it is only just questions before thinking about conceiving. I also hope to help any mums out there who are pregnant and those who are already parents but just struggle with feeling alone in some aspects of their life.

I am aiming to do 10-15 interviews for this series, I will be kept busy! If you are interested in being interviewed, pop me a message on my instagram page.

I look forward to seeing how this goes and hope it helps some of you out there!

Personal Blogs, Pregnancy and Baby

Turning 27!

My first birthday as a mama!

Oh my gosh, I’m now 27! Mentally I don’t feel so old, physically I feel much older (ha ha.) However it’s my first birthday as a mum and although I’m not all too eager to celebrate as it’s super cold, from having a rough time recently and due to not being so well, It’s something sort of special. A milestone, if you like.

Its almost 8am and Odin’s first nappy change and feed of the day is done so I’m taking the time I have now to post for my birthday and to also wish everyone a belated Happy New Year! Hogmanay was really lovely and we had a lovely time bringing in the bells with family and watching fireworks on the TV! Today, we plan to get a little foodshop, my dad is coming over to see me and then we are having Chinese.. yum! I also noticed there are quite a few things off of my wishlist, some that have arrived and others that I am so, so excited for them to arrive! I am so very grateful to friends and family for this. Although it is my birthday, I have gifted one of my friends over in America something for her little girl, off of her wishlist and I cannot wait for it to arrive! I also donated to a family over in America who have been struggling with their medical bills, more information is down below.

So, as it is my birthday, I’m asking anyone and everyone to donate to the families GoFundMe. Their little twin boys were born at 32 weeks, one with his bowels formed outside of his body and has undergone lots of surgeries and medical interventions as he has been so poorly.. I’ve followed their journey for a while now and the family have spent so much time in hospital at a time thats meant to be filled with joy, met with the fear of the unknown and watching their baby be so sick. You can follow them on tiktok for updates and the dad does do a live stream when he can, to let everyone see the babies and update everyone who also follows their journey.

I know its difficult times so if you can please do by clicking here, if not please share. I know they will appreciate any help given especially as the Dad is a retired Veteran.

Here’s to 27 and hopefully this year brings more happy memories, easing of Covid and to watching Odin grow more each day!

Personal Blogs, Pregnancy and Baby

Merry Christmas!

My first Christmas as a mummy!

Christmas 2021 has been amazing! Odin’s first Christmas and my first one as a mummy! We were truly spoilt from everyone.

We spent Christmas and boxing day with my in laws and the doggies, watching movies, listening to music, eating good food and opening presents, it was such a fab two days! My stomach and c section scar has been quite sore and my Fibromyalgia along side hyper mobility syndrome have been causing me to ache quite a lot which has been making me super tired from the insomnia and being a mum too. Soaking in the bath helps A LOT and I rather this approach than pain relief as it makes me so drowsy and gives me such a sore stomach. I also got an electric heat pad for Christmas so that will be lovely to use tomorrow whilst relaxing! Hopefully it helps with my pain, too.

Odin got a lovely cot for his Christmas and so we will be putting it up in the next few weeks! He won’t be going into it for a good few months yet though, I love having him sleep by my bed side. He really is growing so quickly but at the same time it is so lovely. He’s starting to smile and talk and he loves to watch baby sensory videos, it’s super cute!

In terms of my stoma, each day is different. 6 years on as an ostomate and I still find my body changing, more so after having a baby! It is still numb under my stoma and it does swell from time to time but I do what I can to be the best mum to my ability and rest as much as possible. Being a chronically ill mum, the one thing I have found and therefore that is my advice to any other chronically ill mums is to rest as much as you can. Take a bath when you are able to, to help relax and for pain.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! Here’s to 2022!

People's Stories!, Pregnancy and Baby

Danni’s Birth Story

Danni, 26 shares her traumatic birth story to raise awareness for other pregnant women.

Danni is one of my best friends whom I met through the Colostomy UK support group via Facebook. We have been eachother’s rocks through our pregnancies and everything that she has been through, we have gone through together! *please note any triggers before you read about trauma, surgery and birth*

About 2:30am on the 11th November 2021 I finally had enough of feeling unwell and my gut was telling me something was badly wrong. (For those of you who know I’m a Type 1 Diabetic and have been for 16 years now) I checked my ketones and they were extremely high which is VERY dangerous for a Diabetic let alone a PREGNANT Diabetic.

Josh (Danni’s husband) immediately called for an Ambulance who said that because I was still breathing, it would be a 6 HOUR wait and that I wasn’t classed as a priority. I then rang my family who rushed me straight into A&E and even though I explained my situation to the Receptionist, I was told it would be a long wait. Knowing full well I was in something called DKA by then, which again is VERY dangerous and life threatening.

I eventually got seen by Triage about 15-20 minutes later who understood my situation and quickly got me onto a bed in the main A&E bit of the Hospital. I had NOTHING done other than bloods and my health started quickly deteriorating (throwing up black stuff with blood in it) which I mentioned SEVERAL times to the nurses. Maternity didn’t even come down to do a check on Jackson even when I told them I hadn’t felt him move AT ALL for hours.

By about 9am my amazing Diabetes Team came to see me and noticed how ill I was, they then rushed me into Resus and proceeded to work on me trying to get me stable. Maternity came down and I will never forget my Midwife’s face when she put me on the baby monitor. Jackson was in severe tachycardia and I was also in pre term labour.

DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) masks the normal symptoms of everything especially in Pregnancy. I was also in severe tachycardia so the Surgeons came down and decided to get me straight up to the operating theatre and do a Cat 1 C-Section which means a threat to life unless intervention can be done.

I had to have a spinal (where local anesthetic is injected into the spine) because it was too risky to put me under general anaesthetic, which I was kinda glad about because that meant I could have Josh by my side in theatre while they saved both mine and Jackson’s lives!  Myself, Josh and our families will be forever grateful that me and Jackson are now safe and healthy.

The reason why a full investigation is being done by the NHS and PALS is because the A&E staff should have done so much more, being busy is no excuse before someone comments that. The nurses were talking to eachother quite a lot so I know they weren’t rushed off their feet and when I was being violently sick they just stood there looking at me. I also wasn’t allowed Josh with me even when I was in critical condition.

Just wanted to share my story, I’m VERY grateful we now have our little family, I do have PTSD from the Trauma but hopefully that goes away in time.

Very proud of Danni to raise awareness of such a traumatic event in aid of helping others!

Life With A Stoma, Product Reviews

ModaVi Bag Review

This week I was sent samples of the new ModaVi bags to try from Pelican Healthcare! As promised, I would try them and write my review on my blog as well as sending feedback through the feedback link.

How do they feel?

Honestly the fabric feels amazing and soft, like suede! The flange is also super nice on the skin and very comfortable. They feel very light on the stomach when the bag is full too and the adhesive caused no issues and in fact, felt so lovely to wear around my stoma and on my paristomal skin. They are also fantastic to look at and definitely gives you a lot more confidence!

Flaws?

So for me, I found a few flaws with this bag (this is personal opinion and not the same for everyone!) I really do not like how the opening for drainage is at the bottom. Its really messy and fiddly because in order to clean it fully you have to open it at the bottom then stick tissue all inside a good few times before you can roll it back up again, a similar opening design as the Salts bags. When unrolled to go and empty, there was poo everywhere and leaking out the sides so my fingers got covered every time. I also didn’t like the flappy part at the top of the bag which is used to view the stoma underneath as it dangled around a lot. Super handy though, I admit, for being able to get a good clear look at your stoma and it also folds up for when wearing a Bikini or something similar! I also found that after showering, it peeled away but that could purely be because I am pregnant and have a lot more curve on my paristomal skin and may not be due to the actual flange itself so do bare that in mind when you have read this!

Over all the aesthetic of the bag is perfect and I couldnt fault that at all but practically it just didn’t work for me. The flange is the best part, due to how healthy it made my skin and it just felt so good whilst on!

I still definitely prefer the opening draining design on the sensura mio bags by Coloplast as they have an extra part where the poo runs down and its so easily wipeable and takes a lot less time, toilet roll and no fiddling about what so ever. As always, different bags work differently on every ostomate so please do not be put off from trying them!

Thankyou so much Pelican Healthcare for sending me them and so quickly too! The bags I have left over will be donated to The Jacobs Well Appeal.