It’s New Year’s Eve and time to take a sneaky look back over everything that’s happened during 2013. Predictable I know but it’s one of those traditional things that just has to be done.
What have I got to say for 2013… It’s been a roller coaster of a year. There have been more ups and downs than a yoyo. 2013 has been a year of terrifying operations, more pain than I can ever imagine, tears, sadness, loneliness and then suddenly the greatest happiness I have ever known. It’s been a year of love, laughter, smiling, sunshine and the longest Summer I can remember since I was a child. It’s been a year of recovery, awards, trying new things, becoming unchained from my illness and amazing adventures.
But most of all it’s been a year of hope!
This year I’ve had a small taste of what life could be like without being constantly burdened by Ulcerative Colitis. I’ve had a taste of what life will be like once my whole colon is removed – and you know what, it’s not perfect, but I like it! One of my proudest moments is year was showing my Stoma to the whole world, just jumping in there with both feet and saying ‘her she is, I don’t care what you think’…and you know what, the reaction was so positive it took me totally by surprise.
I’ve also started a blog, become an ostomy and IBD advocate and started to give advice to people in the same situation as me all over the world. I’ve learnt the importance of sharing my problems instead of hiding them; that I really don’t like tea; that I should be proud of my scars and my ostomy bag (it shows how strong I am) and that you shouldn’t give up even in the most darkest of moments.
I’d like to say that 2014 is going to be a calmer year – but it won’t be. Actually I bloody hope it won’t be. I want a new job, something exciting working for a daily newspaper or maybe even a national. I want to experience bigger and better adventures. I want to run as fast as I can, swim in oceans and take part in a something risky (nothing dodgy I promise). Next year I know I’ll have to be chopped up again and will have to spend loads of time recovering…I can’t lie, I’m not looking forward to that. But if it means this fistula (which seems to be growing bigger every day) will vanish and I get rid of the pain forever, I say, bring it on.
So here we go, here are my top 10 moments for 2013, there was a lot of good after the bad.
Let me take the chance to say HAPPY NEW YEAR – I hope it brings you joy, health and keeps you away from hospital.
1) Italy – riding in a gondola in Venice with my Andy, eating dairy-free ice cream in Florence and watching the locals dancing in Rome. One of the most magical moments of this year and my first trip abroad with my ostomy. I will never forget this EVER!
2) Award winning journalism – I’ve never been so proud and shocked. Being presented with the Young Journalist of the Year award 2013 for Trinity Mirror was the proudest moment of my life. I love my job, but I never imagined I would be recongised for doing what I love. I hope this opens doors and presents me with more challenges in the future. I also never expected to be named the Weekly Journalist of the Year for the North West – these two awards made the last few months of 2013 a big of an emotional high.
3) waking up alive after my operation – I know this seems fairly low down for such a big thing, but it doesn’t seem like a massive deal anymore. I woke up in agony, but I was alive. I had been dreading the op for so many years I seriously thought I would die on the surgical table, I didn’t and it was a surreal if not painful experience that I will never forget.
4) The Lion King – a stunning show given as a birthday present by Andy ( who has stuck by me through thick and thin). I enjoyed every second, we even rode the London Eye during the trip and got soaked in the London rain.
5) the longest Summer ever – this years summer was incredible. Yes, I can’t deny it caused a heck of a lot of pain and suffering for my post surgical wounds – but once I was back on my shaky feet the sunshine was incredible. I sun bathed in the garden, toasting giant marshmallows over the fire, endless BBQs and watching Andy Murray win Wimbledon – I even got to experiment with a new style of summer clothing to cover my ostomy bag
6) me and my boyfriend moving in together – once I’d recovered we bit the bullet and Andy moved in here with me. It’s been perfect and so special. And I can’t believe it’s only really been around three months.
7) Centre Parks with the girls – an amazing trip where I got to join in with the fun after what had so far been a pretty miserable year for joining in with my mates. Got to wear my massive penguin onsie in public, get lost in the forest, enjoy hours of girly gossip and enjoy a few tiny glasses of wine. Shame it ended with my trip to A&E (and I wasn’t the only one), but a holiday I will never forget for all the right reasons.
8) Art in Bristol – an awesome trip on a scorching hot day where me and Andy attempted
9) Giant bike ride – the most amazing and tiring bike ride with Andy after only riding three miles we managed around 16! mental but so much fun!
10) CHRISTMAS – Christmas this year has been awesome. After so many years of missing out because of my illness this year I managed to really get stuck in and really appreciate the magic of Christmas with my entire family. An amazing week with the people I love.
Tomorrow – New year’s resolutions 2014!!