Here’s to a healthy and happy 2014 – my New Year’s resolutions

Today on the first day of 2014 I’m suffering. But I can’t really complain as it’s mostly self-inflicted and the result of having far too much fun (if totally harmless) waving goodbye to one of the most chaotic and unpredictable year’s of my whole life. It’s safe to say that so far this year has been miserable, mostly due to the howling winds and non stop rain pounding against our flat’s windows, and the banging headache and dry throat from my hangover which is coming in peaks and troughs throughout the whole day and clinging to me like a small child.

Exhausted but happy before midnight

Exhausted but happy before midnight

Today is meant to be about turning a new leaf, getting fitter, healthier and leaving behind bad habits we’ve been unable to cast aside for the past year. I’m full of good intentions about improving myself this year, about becoming a more well-rounded, better educated, more generous, more adventurous person. I’m determined to stop eating sweets (I’m addicted), to keep in touch better with friends and to get back into running. So far that’s not happened, and I’ve spent the day gorging on anything I can get my hands on, in fact I’ve made it my mission to clear the house of sweets in time for tomorrow. After all everyone knows New Year’s Day doesn’t count towards New Year’s resolutions….I think that’s an unspoken law.

2014 is going to be my year. I know I must have more surgery to get rid of my bowel forever, and I know I will have to be admitted to hospital and live off dry tuna sandwiches and be nil by mouth (blah blah blah) all over again. But this time it’s going to be different, I can feel it. This time I’m ready and know what to expect. By the end of this year I’m determined to have Winnie (ostomy) as a permanent fixture in my life; I’m determined to be rid of my horrible fistula; and determined never to see blood in the toilet bowl ever again. I know it’s a lot of expectation but I feel after around 14 years I will really have made a massive leap forward by the end of this year – I know it because it has to happen, otherwise I don’t know if I can carry on.

Amazing friends

Amazing friends

Last night was an evening filled with love, laughter and good friends. I celebrated the end of one of the most emotional years ever with my best friend, her boyfriend, my adoring boyfriend Andy and a lot of other friends. I spent the evening surrounded by some of the most amazing people I know, playing games, chatting and generally catching up. At midnight we popped champagne on the balcony and hugged each other. Apart from too much alcohol the evening was perfect, and as per usual being only upstairs we managed to stumble home and to bed without even having to face the freezing cold – which has to be a bonus.

Anyway, enough rambling, here are my resolutions for 2014, let’s see how many I can stick to:

1) I will have my surgery – even if I have to fight tooth and nail I will have the rest of my colon removed. I refuse to be abandoned by my GI team and surgeon (which has happened) and be ignored despite the fact I am still very ill. I will have the surgery to feel fully better by the end of the year, and recover fully and be able to live my life fully without any interruptions from a horrible fistula or Ulcerative Colitis.

2) I will give up sweets and fizzy pop for the whole of January:
This is my equivalent to dry January. Believe me giving up Haribo and diet Coke is far harder than wine. I’ve done it before for months on end so it is possible, but I have to prove to myself I can do this without having to because I’m recovering from surgery or in hospital. I think I will be the grumpiest cow alive for the whole of this month, but my teeth and health will be jumping for joy after it – if I succeed.

3) go to the gym three times a week and swimming once a week:
This is it people. If my surgery goes ahead in March as I have requested I have three months to prepare, so that means getting über fit and healthy to give my body the best fighting chance. Last time I was fit but I was horrendously ill. This time I’m ill but in a more manageable way (if that makes sense), so I can really help myself. I’m determined to be able to swim 50 lengths in our gym pool (full-sized pool) non stop (no stopping whatsoever) by the time I have my surgery. I used to be an amazing swimmer, like a little fish, zipping through the water doing 120 in a much smaller pool in 40 minutes, now I’m still fast but nowhere near as determined or dedicated – that’s going to change.

4) get cracking with my challenges:
I’ve let my challenges slide a bit. I totally failed on my 6 month reading (read a book a week) challenge. I managed five months of doing it properly, but then started missing the deadline. I’m going to start this again. Starting this week I will read a book a week and let you know what I’m reading and what I think. I read dozens of amazing works of fiction and autobiographies last time, this time I can’t wait to get cracking again.
Tomorrow I’m going to restart my French which had been ‘in progress’ for the past five months…meaning I can say ‘the boy eats an egg’ etc. By the end of 2014 I will be able to complete a GCSE workbook, with the AIM of taking the exam in 2015… Tall ask I know, but that’s why these are challenges.
I will learn how to play my new guitar. So far I know two cords, E and E minor, by the end of this year I will be able to play a whole song.
Of course there are many more challenges and I hope to do many this year, including some of those incorporated into a massive trip to America, some stunning trips around the UK, and hopefully doing the Liverpool to Chester bike ride.

5) be committed to being a Ostomy and IBD advocate:
This year I want to spread the word about Crohns / Colitis and being an ostomate on an even larger scale. I want to resume my video blogs, write more articles, tell more people and set up a support network. I want to help others and raise awareness. And I want to create a website for this blog, where people can share hints, tips and ask questions.

6) be more organised and stay in touch with friends and family:
I have one incredibly organised friend, Laura. Without her I often think I wouldn’t leave the house. But I really don’t put in enough effort with my mates. Some I haven’t seen in months despite them living just down the road, and I’m fed up of making excuses. It’s time to become more organised and start making an effort. I need to start visiting some of my best mates from Uni who I promised to keep in touch with, organising nights out for my mates, and even planning a girls short break. These people have stuck by me through thick and thin and it’s time I made the effort, I’m well enough to really give it my all now.

7) spend more time, me and Andy, doing amazing adventures of a weekend:
We are getting better at making the most of the weekends. But sometimes they seem to be over in a flash without us even having done anything. This year at least one day every weekend will be special. Either by doing one of my challenges, visiting somewhere new, going somewhere special, visiting friends or going on a long walk in the country. I never want to go to work again and say ‘yeh we just watched tv and went to the supermarket’ again.


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