Here we go – wish me (and Winnie) luck..

After more than a decade of avoiding the surgeon’s knife they finally managed to pin me down – well more like force – and try to give me a life without the pain and disruption of constant Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.

Almost a month has passed since they tore out my large bowel and left me with Winnie* my Poo Bag! And after a couple of weeks of feeling depressed, sorry for myself and down right disgusting, don’t forget out of my mind stir-crazy bored, I have decided to embrace my bag of well crap and leap into life filled with adventure and new experiences.

I suppose I am a medical marvel. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s/ UC (they have never quite decided which one as I have so many weird and wonderful symptoms) when I was 13-years-old after almost driving myself to an early grave by living with enormous blood loss and crippling diarrhoea for over a year simply because I was too embarrassed to tell anyone or get help. People simply assumed I had an eating disorder – and that is one of those horrible stigmas that has followed me around ever since due to closed-minded people’s disgusting judgements!

Twelve years later – and millions of needles, pills of every colour under the rainbow, scans and x-rays, tubes being shoved where the sun doesn’t shine, and hospital admissions that leave you black and blue and so thin you are almost see through – I have had my bowel removed after deciding, if possible, I never want to feel the pain associated with Crohn’s/ UC ever again; stay in a hospital ward / have a toilet as my best friend and second home / or have a rather embarrassing accident while stranded away from a toilet in town.

So far it hasn’t been plain sailing…but despite going crazy because I’m not at work (I’m a workaholic local newspaper reporter) and feeling pretty damn unhappy about my once flat stomach being covered in scars and bags, this is the best I have ever felt and it is, if I’m going to be honest with myself, pretty bloody fantastic 🙂

Now as my legs turn from quivering jelly and regain some of my tiny childlike muscles to allow me to walk to the coffee shop and local supermarket, and I have finally taken off my trakkies and pjs and stopped living like a permanent member of a sleepover club, I have decided to embrace my new life and try to do everything I have every wanted to do before but not managed because of my illness which (as much as I always said it didn’t) ruled my life.

So here it is the list of all the things me and my new fr-enemy Winnie have to do in the next five years. WHY five years you ask – because I will be 30 and 30 is the stereotypical movie / trashy book landmark for any wish list and I don’t want this to be a morbid “do before I die” bucket list.

And why am I doing this you may ask? The simple answer is WHY THE HELL NOT!!

I am sure that many of the things in this 101 challenge are simply impossible to achieve but I am going to give them all a really good shot, and who knows, like some (not naming any names) celeb bloggers I might even get a book contract/silly TV show out of this.

And on a less selfish note – I truly want to show others facing surgery or who have had it that you are not alone and that just because you have a Winnie (or an Oscar or Priscilla) or whatever silly name you give your bag, that your life isn’t over – in fact embrace it and you might realise that you are finally living for the first time!

As my friend said “it’s just a bag of shit, that’s all”…and that’s exactly what it is, my literally attached to me “friend” Winnie is a big bag of poo! I have realised f I don’t see the funny side when it farts and makes weird noises at the most embarrassing and intimate moments I will spend the rest of my life disgusted with myself.

SO HERE IS THE CHALLENGE – starting today Wednesday, May 29, exactly four weeks since my surgery I will try to complete these 101 challenges before I reach my 30th birthday in five years time ! So wish me luck 🙂

THE BIG STOMA BUCKET LIST

101 adventures of a bag lady 

SKILLS/ JOB

  1. Learn to speak (and write) French fluently
  2. Run a small business
  3. Write a poem and read it at an open mic night
  4. Take a night class in something random
  5. Learn to play the guitar
  6. Get nominated for an award and go to the ceremony in a show stopping dress
  7. Work for the BBC
  8. Get 1,000 Twitter followers
  9. Learn to say hello in 10 very different languages
  10. Write a column
  11. Learn to parallel park and do it on a main road (thanks Andy!)
  12. Live and work abroad
  13. Host a radio show
  14. Learn to draw a tree properly
  15. Write and illustrate a children’s book
  16. Learn about the economy and stock market
  17. Write a blog with worldwide followers
  18. Work for a national newspaper
  19. Have a novel/ short story published

TRAVEL 

  1. (20) Eat snails in Paris
  2. (21) Go to Disney Land and wave a wand in Hogwarts
  3. (22) Visit Prague and see a concert
  4. (23) Walk on the Great Wall of China
  5. (24) Pose for a picture in Times Square
  6. (25) Drink a whole pint (yes a whole one) of Guinness in Dublin
  7. (26) Go to Wales hiking and rent a cottage with hot tub and roaring fire
  8. (27) Get on a random plane to a random place at the airport
  9. (28) Climb the millenium Dome
  10. (29) Take a trip on a gondola in Venice and sing Just One Cornetto
  11. (30) Have a night out in Birmingham/Liverpool/Edinburgh/ Manchester
  12. (31) Go to an outdoor cinema
  13. (32) Camp at a festival
  14. (33) Complete 30 Visit England 101 things to do before you die (can’t be in this list)
  15. (34) Go on a really scary roller coaster

CRAFTS

  1. (35) Design your own clothes/ accessories and make them
  2. (36) make a funky and a sexy stoma bag cover
  3. (37) take a life drawing class
  4. (38) sell a piece of art
  5. (39) make a Christmas present – which is a quality gift
  6. (40) take a professional photograph
  7. (41) learn to cook – take a cookery class

FOOD

  1. (42) make a perfect cake (three tiers)
  2. (43) eat at a Michelin starred restaurant
  3. (44) throw a themed dinner party
  4. (45) make the perfect souffle
  5. (46) host a fondue and cocktail party
  6. (47) go strawberry picking and make jam

SPORT and GAMES

  1. (48) Sit on Murray Mound eating strawberries and drinking Pimms
  2. (49) Go to a basketball match and eat a pretzel
  3. (50) Ride a horse
  4. (51) Play a round of golf
  5. (52) Complete an army assault course
  6. (53) Run the Santa Dash
  7. (54) Learn the perfect serve
  8. (55) Cimb the three Peaks
  9. (56) Learn how to play chess
  10. (57) Play a full set of tennis
  11. (58) Learn how to skip
  12. (59) Shoot a gun
  13. (60) Drive a classic car
  14. (61) Learn how to play poker
  15. (62) Walk the Sandstone Trail
  16. (63) Compete in the Chester to Liverpool Bike Ride
  17. (64) Go Fishing
  18. (65) Learn the off side rule
  19. (66) Go cheese rolling

CHALLENGES

  1. (67) Volunteer for charity
  2. (68) Raise £1,000 for NACC
  3. (69) Sell something on Ebay (I know lame that I have never done this)
  4. (70) Read a book every week for six months
  5. (71) Do something just for the hell of it (more outrageous the better)
  6. (72) Go skinny dipping
  7. (73) Get a tattoo
  8. (74) Take part in a protest
  9. (75) Blag your way into a VIP section
  10. (76) Be an extra in a tv show or film
  11. (77) Sunbathe topless on a beach
  12. (78) Wear false eyelashes (I know pathetic but my lashes are falsy virgins)
  13. (79) Bounce down a road on a space hopper
  14. (80) Sleep under the stars
  15. (81) Live off £10 for a whole week (no cheating)

EXPERIENCES

  1. (82) Be part of a TV audience
  2. (83) Sit in the Commons for a debate
  3. (84) See Michael Buble (I know needs accent) live
  4. (85) Buy a designer handbag or shoes
  5. (86) Wear a stunningly expensive piece of jewellery
  6. (87) Stand for election
  7. (88) Rent a must-have designer handbag
  8. (89) Join a book club
  9. (90) Drink a whole cup of tea (how I go through 25 years without doing this?)
  10. (91) Milk a cow
  11. (92) Read Pride and prejudice (I never have!!)
  12. (92) Have a 24hr movie marathon
  13.  (93) Wear a onsie in front of others!
  14. (94) See a Broadway show (I know should be in travel)
  15. (95) Jump out of a plane (arrghhh obviously with a parachute)
  16. (96) Ride the London Eye (probably should be in travel)
  17. (97) Get a pen pal – write for a year and then meet up somewhere really cool
  18. (98) Read 50 autobiographies in a year
  19. (99) Campaign for something that matters – and win
  20. (100) Do something that scares the shit (sorry mum) out of you!
  21. (101) And FINALLY this one has been left open to you guys – think of something cool – not too dangerous please 🙂

Sorry for how horrendously long and tedious that was

Anyway…here we go the challenge has officially begun – WISH ME LUCK!!!

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6 thoughts on “Here we go – wish me (and Winnie) luck..

    • Ohhh which ones????

      I’m excited!!!! How about the tattoo? I’m thinking a semi-colon next to my bag LOL (smelly Crohns and Ostomy joke) 🙂 or pretty butterflies leading down to the stoma to make it look prettier 🙂

      I know lets do the bouncing down the street on the space hopper in retro clothing – lets see if we can raise some money together !!!!

      See you later Laura – much love xxx

  1. Hi,
    As said above your blog is truly inspiring and I admire your attitude, I had an emergency colostomy for bowel cancer last May and a reversal this April so I do understand how you feel and I’m glad the pain you felt has gone and that life can now be lived.
    In August I am going to have a tattoo covering the Stoma scar like a cutaway of my gut but the tubes etc will be coloured like metal with a clockwork theme! Will post a pic when it’s done. From experience make sure you use a good barrier cream as the skin around ” Winnie” can and will get very sore! Also try experimenting with Haribo,
    Good luck and good health
    Eddie

    • Thankyou Eddie what a kind thing to say. I just want to help people, you sound like you have also been through some really rough times. I hope this helps in some small way, even if it just brings a smile to your face how ridiculous it all is 🙂 please keep reading and commenting love Rachel

    • wow that tattoo will be amazing – send me a picture when you’ve had it done 🙂 I love Haribo so experimenting will not be an issue 🙂 Keep reading and let me know how tattoo goes I am about to set about designing one for me and my friend 🙂

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