Right now I’m sat on the sofa wrapped in a blanket wearing my Christmas pjs and feeling very content. It’s Boxing Day evening and I don’t feel like I’m going to explode through over indulgence, throw up or gripping onto my stomach through agonising IBD pain. I simply feel happy. I honestly can’t remember a single Christmas where I have felt this good before. It’s amazing.
For a long time I’ve not really appreciated the joy of those few days off over Christmas. Not because I’m a Scrooge, and not because I hate turkey, but because I know that I will be ill. Something about the festive holidays sends my body into meltdown, and it doesn’t matter what I do (not drinking, exercising and having early nights) I always end up so ill I need to go to hospital – I think its the excitement of Santa coming.
This year Christmas has been perfect. I’ve enjoyed every second, I even managed the drive between families without a hiccup. For the first time I can remember since being diagnosed with Crohn’s/Colitis I’ve been able to sit through the whole of Christmas dinner without having to rush to the loo in agony ever other mouthful to pass bucket loads of blood or throw-up the food my poor mum slaved hours in the kitchen making me. I even made it through the board games and managed to spend time with the kids first thing in the morning without needing to rush back and forth to the loo to avoid any embarrassing accidents.
Ok it wasn’t all plain sailing with my Stoma. Some of Christmas dinner really didn’t agree, but there again what does it matter if I see my sprouts and stuffing a second time – it was worth it. Lying in bed in my childhood room on Boxing Day morning the pain was pretty bad as nuts from the stuffing and cranberry sauce attempted to force their way out of Winnie – it hurt pretty bad – while my fistula kicked off and leaked again – but that happens all the time so what the hell I can put up with that. I also had to constantly empty Winnie (ostomy bag) today, she wouldn’t stop. I’m sure that’s the luxurious food but she really really wants to remind me she’s still here – I guess she’s saying STOP EATING…JUST STOP!
On Christmas Eve I finished work and me and Andy raced off to Barnsley to see his sister Abi, her husband Rob and the kids Jake and Isabel. I’ve never spent Christmas with kids; never seen the excitement I felt as a child trying to sleep on Christmas Eve; never been woken by a little person peeping their head around the doors bouncing with excitement about Santa having come. It really has opened my eyes…children remind me that Christmas is magical.
We all curled up on the sofa and watched the Grinch in our festive pjs. I avoided the popcorn – which I’m sure would be even more painful than sprouts swallowed without chewing at the work meal. Then, once we’d tried to get the most excited child I’d ever seen get to sleep, we got our tea down us and started to help Santa deliver his presents. It was awesome. I won’t let you into all of Santa’s secrets, but let’s just say he brought in an awful lot of sparkly snow on his boots when he came down the chimney in the night.
I drank too much wine and woke to a little head peeping round the door asking to come in. In the past I would have been too ill to comprehend anything let alone to cope with the most excited child I’ve ever seen… She was pretty much shaking with excitement. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she got down the stairs and saw mountains of presents with big snowy footprints all around them – it was the look of pure joy. The part in bed was pretty bemusing – she recited the whole of Goldilocks And The Three Bears – totally random but with fantastic enthusiasm.
We spent the morning in our pjs unwrapping presents and playing games, and for the first time ever I didn’t miss a second by being stuck on the toilet…It was a dream come true. We then headed back on the motorway to my parents house in sunny Rawtenstall. We were both shattered. I honestly don’t know how mums and dads across the county get through Christmas Day – it’s exhausting. I seriously don’t know how my folks did it, it’s admirable really.
Arriving at my house I was excited but smelly. After a shower we unwrapped our presents in true Flint style – me tearing into layers if wrapping paper at the speed of light like a frenzied animal, while my sister took each one out carefully and examined, read, played with it! My parents got me everything I wanted and more, but the stunning coffee machine stole the show – complete with hundreds of coffee pods and all lactose free for me and Andy to enjoy (from now on it’s going to be very sophisticated at our flat). They also made us and amazing hamper full of dairy free goodies, smellies and homemade wine etc – I’m going to be massive if I’m not careful! My sister got us everything we need for our 24hr movie marathon – the complete Lord of the Rings blu ray box set and loads of alcohol.
Andy stole the show with a beautiful guitar. I had asked for one so I could start learning for my challenges, but I never expected he’d get me one. It is stunning. I’m afraid I know nothing about guitars, but my dad was really impressed, so it must be good. He also bought me the Harry Potter box set – another one for our movie marathon – I’m overwhelmed – I’ve obviously been a very good girl this year.
Anyway dinner was everything I hoped for and more – delicious food, amazing company and so much warmth it was almost stifling. My mum is an amazing cook, the sprouts were made with chestnuts and bacon (she even cut them in half so they didn’t block my Stoma). And she made quails egg scotch eggs for Andy – delicious! Pudding, a dairy free sticky toffee, was heavenly, and for the first time I left the table after Christmas Dinner full but not sick and about to explode.
It was a magical day, made better by seeing the whole family, both mine and Andy’s. I would go as far as saying that as an adult it was “the best Christmas ever”. I hope yours was to…
Tomorrow – boxing day and horses: