So long 2014 – a year of surgery, loss of my backside, freedom from IBD and amazing adventures


What a Year!!!

What a Year!!!

Happy New Year. I know it’s incredibly late to be saying this (internet issues at my place), but what the hell, welcome to 2015.

As I look back on the roller coaster of the last 12 months I can’t help but wonder what craziness this year will bring. Over the last 365 days I’ve been cut open, stitched up, injected, drained, screamed, cried and laughed. I’ve seen disgusting things, met amazing people, sobbed and almost burst my stitches with laughter. I’ve come face to face with criminals, seen incredible bravery and felt humbled to the core by some of the unbelievable things everyday people do for complete strangers and those in need.

It’s been a heck of a year. Some of the most important moments of my life happened in 2014, namely me and Winnie (my stoma) became attached for life – I will never be rid of her. I had my second bag removed in a year complicated operation, bum stitched together, and finally (hopefully) waved goodbye to my Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s for good!

Looking back, I can’t believe we ( me and Andy) managed to pack so much in. With so many adventures (some of which I’ve still not had time to write about – I’m sorry I’ve not blogged I’ve been snowed under and I know I’ve been frankly crap lately), I’m often surprised I managed to have time to have the rest of my bowel removed.

Last year we headed to the USA on an incredible trip where my dreams of visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, going to see a Broadway Show (indeed the longest running one – Phantom of the Opera) and enjoying magical sunsets from a beach filled with golden sand, finally came true.

I appeared on BBC Breakfast to talk about life with IBD (Crohn’s/ Colitis – whichever the bloody hell it eventually was) and that it is not caused by junk food. I worked at a national newspaper, where I met amazing people and spread the word about IBD while having the time of my life.

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I also finally read Pride and Prejudice (while tucked up in bed suffering from flu), sat on Murray Mound eating strawberries (without the cream) after queuing for Wimbledon, watched Boyzone live in a forest with one of my best friends in the world, said goodbye and welcome home to one of my best friends, seen some amazing sights as we explored the UK for my challenges, hiked, swam and cycled.

I’ve read hundreds of books while trying and failing to complete my reading challenges – which I have restarted for the new year and am determined to finish – struggled with learning French and utterly failed to learn a single audible cord on the guitar.

I’ve thrown freezing cold water over my head, raced through the streets of York sweating to death in a monkey onesie and worn stupid jumpers all in the name of charity. I’ve stayed in stunning cottages, drunk too much beer and eaten too much meat in Bruges (will blog about this soon) and travelled all over the place seeing remarkable things with Andy, who has somehow managed to get the strength to drive me all over the place (I’m a nightmare in the car!).

My boyfriend, incredible friends and my family have made my year magical and have stuck through me through thick and thin. I’ve also been overwhelmed by the bravery of inspirational women with IBD and stomas, including Bethany Townsend whose pictures captured the nation and seemed to open people’s eyes to the fact that not all people with ostomy bags are old. I take my hats off to some of the campaigns including Get Your Belly Out for raising awareness and changing perceptions.

It’s been a magical year, but it has not all been plain sailing. This year I felt pain (not just from IBD and surgery), had horrible infections, skin problems and finished the year with a possibility of heart issues (and not the romantic ones). Through it all my boyfriend, family and incredible friends have been there. To be honest I don’t know where I would be right now without them – probably still with two ostomy bags.

Anyway I’m rambling….here’s to a healthy, happy, adventure-filled and inspirational 2015! I can’t wait!

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I can’t fart! – five things you might not know about having an ostomy this #worldostomyday


I can’t fart. That’s a fact. Well, if you’re going to be picky, I can’t but Winnie can…..and boy does she choose her moments.1157678_231106760373116_263656469_n

If you haven’t met Winnie, let me introduce her. Winnie is not my dog, great-grandmother, embarrassing friend and whoopie cushion or some sort of windy companion. She is my stoma – and we have put up with each or for the past 18 months since I had an operation which pretty much saved my life.

Today is Ostomy Awareness Day, and I wanted to share with you a few home truths about what living daily with an ostomy is really like. Public awareness of ostomy bags is next to none. Until I was faced with surgery I thought that only old people with Zimmer frames had stomas, ostomy and colostomy bags. I was sure that they were massive, ugly, heavy things that people had to carry around on stands and have emptied by nurses and carers – I’m pleased to admit that I was TOTALLY WRONG!

Having an ostomy does not make you any different from anyone else – apart from it probably makes you superhuman (in my humble opinion that is). We still poop, but only a little differently than most people. As far as you know the stunning woman sitting across from you could have a bag, the young lad riding the bike or the weight lifter at the gym. These days bags are so discreet Ostomates (the cool name we like to call our club or colon free folk) you can wear swimming costumes and tight fit party dresses without anyone ever knowing you have one – unless it fills up with air and then it’s a whole different ball game.

Most of the time me and Winnie get on just fine, but there is a whole lot to having a stoma that most people don’t realise. When Winnie decides to have a paddy she really goes for it. She doesn’t like certain foods, hates fizzy pop and rejects various bags at the toss of a hat leaving me with red raw painful skin. But she saved me from an illness which was destroying my life, and, well killing me. I can now travel the world, enjoy life, write for hours on end, and just do things most people take for granted – I used to be chained to a toilet seat and often collapsed in pain.

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1. Sprouts come out whole!!! It’s a bizarre fact that no matter how much I chew some food it seems to reform in my digestive system and come out the way it was cooked in my bag. This happens with peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn, peas and sprouts, and it hurts a fair bit when it happens, as a stoma is only a small opening for a whole sprout to fit through. Let’s just say it made for a very interesting boxing day!

2. I can’t fart – but Winnie can and she sure chooses her moments. For days Winnie won’t make a sound, but then, when I’m sat in an important meeting, in a quiet court room, on a romantic date with my boyfriend or any other sensitive moment, she will thump away to her heart’s extent. She seems to know the exact moment to speak up, and does it with such eagerness and determination I just have to laugh. I used to try to stop her with my hand, muffle her with clothes, but that just fuels her fire. I have learnt to just smile laugh and tell whoever is nearby that I have a stoma and she is having a bit of fun. I tend to find if you are not awkward about it either is anyone else!

3. I can still wear nice clothes. Yes I have an ostomy but I can still look young, hip and sexy – well as much as I ever did. I have had to change some of my fashion sense, and don’t wear a lot of body con dresses any more, mostly due to confidence! But I am not living my life in baggy t-shirts and walking around looking like I’m wearing a giant black bin bag. I can go swimming, run, jump and hopefully even skydive.

4. It can be fascinating. Having a stoma can be very odd, but also fascinating. I am often in awe of the way she works. She moves and appears to have a life of her own – she is after all a part of my bowel on the outside of my body. I don’t watch her all day, but sometimes, when I’m changing her I like to check everything is ok, that she has no cuts, and often I can’t help but laugh when she chooses that exact moment to start moving around.

5. I have no back passage. Sounds very odd, but after 14 years of agonising Colitis I don’t miss having an ‘arse’. It is now sewn up and totally inaccessible to doctors shoving cameras up it, something I could not be more pleased about! I have no colon, but am surprisingly no lighter than I was when I had it! Weirdly, despite not having a back passage I still, occasionally, get the feeling that I need to push. Obviously nothing happens, but I still find it weird.

I hope none of this has freaked anyone out who is preparing for surgery. The truth is life without a colon is far better than it ever was with one. From time to time I still get pain, and having an ostomy is not without its problems, but I have never been so free. Winnie has giving me my life back. In two days I go to America for the holiday of a lifetime – I couldn’t have done this without her, I would have been chained to a toilet seat.

So happy World Ostomy Day, my stoma is the best thing that has happened to me, and I hope that this day will help to reduce some of the needless stigma attached to ostomy and colostomy bags, and raise some awareness for those who live with them every single day.

Oozing skin, vomiting and hundreds of tiny dragonflies for VisitEngland challenge


I’m really sorry at how rubbish I’ve been recently. Everything seems to be getting on top of me. Work has been hectic, holiday planning has taken hold of every waking moment outside the office, and I have been feeling generally, well, crap.IMG_0677

I haven’t posted any photos of my skin over the past few weeks because it would have made you all violently sick. Three weeks ago my skin was so painful I couldn’t walk – my legs were covered in puss-filled boils. At around the same time my skin blew up so did the skin around my stoma, it became bright red again, like it had been burnt. I also got itchy rashes around my eyes, and my eye condition came back.

All in all I have spent the last few weeks feeling like a scale covered snake, well, a hairy scale covered snake – if that’s at all possible. I’ve been unable to shave anything, unable to exercise and unable to look after myself. I’ve felt sick, unattractive and damn right sorry for myself – and mega stressed with my job and my holiday planning.

I went to the doctors in hope of a cure – what I got was infuriating. The doctor, who is apparently a skin specialist, was gleeful at my pain. He could not have been more pleased that I was in agony. He smiled and laughed and seemed joyful that I had such an ‘unusual’ aliment. He seemed to want it to stay put, so that he could study it and poke at it – it was so insensitive, and is something that has happened far too often in my weird and wonderful years of living with the joys of IBD.

Anyway, I eventually resorted (well was forced by my boyfriend) to go to the out of hours doctors. I have no idea why anyone bothers with their real GP after that. The woman was amazing, and really listened to me, prescribed me antibiotics, and was incredibly sympathetic. I wish I could have her all the time, and, in hindsight I should have found out her name and swapped surgeries!

The antibiotics worked but left me feeling rotten. I threw up constantly, and was even on them during Andy’s birthday party. I felt awful. The weekend after I started them me and Andy headed to Milton Keynes so he could do his Spy Day experience I bought him for his birthday last year. We went down the day before, so we headed even further afield to have a go at one of my Visit England challenges – a list of challenges which feels like a massive effort but has so far had many surprising rewards.

Wicken Fen nature reserve was stunning. It was wild and raw, with never ending stretches of long grass as far as the eye could see. I was far too excited to see a dragonfly, and started peering around, shushing Andy as I tried to spot one of the tiny insects. When I finally spotted one I was overwhelmed. I was like a little child. We must have stood for half an hour watching two MASSIVE dragonflies flit about – I guess I wouldn’t have bothered if I’d have know I would have seen dozens by the end of the day.

IMG_0702it was an amazing day. We saw some beautiful insects, and even a deer, it wasn’t the most sunny day so we didn’t see as many dragonflies as we could have , but that didn’t matter it was still a breathtaking experience, and one I would never have done if I didn’t have this bucket list.

The only problem was that we walked miles and I suddenly got very sick. The antibiotics started to churn stomach acid around and I couldn’t go anywhere. I felt dreadful. Luckily I made it back to the car, but when we got to tea I was violently sick – not pleasant for anyone.

Luckily my skin has started to clear up. Which is fantastic as we are heading to America in a week’s time, and I’m so stressed I can hardly breathe. I couldn’t be more excited for the trip, but there is still so much to sort out both for the holiday and at work. I’m also (this is one for the girls) trying to figure out what to do about my bikini line now I have my stoma – should I brave it and get a wax or try the cream?

And I won’t start about the swimsuit nightmare I’ve been having!IMG_0679

Anyway I will blog again tomorrow about my preparations for the big trip! Hope you are all well.

Do you want to join in with the Visit England Challenges and find out more about Wicken Fen visit http://www.visitengland.org

How does he put up with me? My amazing boyfriend who has stuck with me through IBD and ostomy surgery


Over the past three years I cried, thrown tantrums, vomited all over the place, IMG_3925screamed bloody murder and been too tired to even drag myself off the bathroom floor. I have looked hideous; had oozing boils all over my legs; spent days without showers; dribbled like a baby, and well looked like someone waking up after having their bowel removed – enough said I guess!

But despite all my efforts to push him away, and bizarre steroid induced (and non steroid endured) mood swings, my boyfriend has lovingly stuck by my side and supported me through thick and thin– I have no idea how he does it!

Since I was diagnosed with IBD 14 years ago I have struggled to cope with relationships. It is a well known fact that during flares I become increasingly stubborn, and push everyone I love away from me. I don’t like people seeing me sick, and so I get angry, grumpy and turn into a mad raving cow as I struggle to battle with my illness. I know how it affects people around me; how sad it makes them; how much it wears them out – so I either hide it, or push them away.

When me and Andy first met I was already extremely ill. I was in the, I’m trying to pretend I’m not seeing my whole world fall down the toilet, stage, which some call denial! And so I was being my bubbly outgoing self, putting on a show, lying to the world to pretend I wasn’t ill. We had a few really fun dates together – then I fell down the stairs and broke my hand!!

From then on my health went downhill; from horrendous inner ear infections; gooey eyes; eczema; and obviously my never ending battle with Ulcerative Colitis. Less than two months after we started dating, Andy was visiting me in hospital for our dates. He came every single day, and refused to listen to my pleas that I didn’t want him to see me looking so ill and such a mess.

I think that was when I knew there was no getting rid of him.

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Since then he has coped with a dozen or so heartbreaking flares. Dealt with hearing the carefully cooked food being vomited up, and pulling out his hair as I screamed from the bathroom. He has visited me in hospital more times than I can count, given up holidays to be at my side, and spent hours holding my hand in A&E.

Even more remarkably Andy has kept me smiling through some of the hardest decisions of my life, and kept me smiling through two lots of surgery. He has helped me to adjust to life with an ostomy bag and supported me in my new life. Which is amazing – I had been so worried for so many years about the impact of my bag on my love life.

When I had low moments, mostly through boredom, on my long road to recovery, he held me when I cried, and insisted on making me laugh even when I thought my stitches were going to burst.

IMG_4687He has driven me around the country on my challenges, braved his fears and spent far to much money helping me to achieve my dreams. And we have loved, well, almost every second together, and have some unbelievable memories.

At times he can be too much of a saint, which sends me spiralling out of control when I’m angry. And he has his faults; weird meal combinations; sometimes forgetting to check ingredients for lactose; and taking pictures of me while I’m sleeping in the car!!

But I love him. He has lived on a knife-edge for the past three years. I can’t imagine what it must be like for him (or my family) to live in the constant fear that I might suddenly throw up, faint, pass out, or simply fade away to skin and bone in front of him.

Yesterday was his birthday and I gave him a photo album filled with pictures of our amazing adventures together. It was incredible to see how much we have changed, and how, no matter how ill, skeletal and sickly I got, he always managed to make me smile.

If you are reading this Andy, I don’t always say it but I am so very lucky. I love you.

Preparing for a long haul flight – me and my ostomy are going to see Harry Potter World!!!


It’s finally happening. After months of twiddling our thumbs and searching the internet we finally bit the bullet and booked ouHog2wartsr flights and tickets. I couldn’t be more excited. In just over a month’s time I’m going to be waving a wand, riding a broom and casting spells in a whole world filled with Harry Potter. It is going to be a very expensive dream come true and I am determined to enjoy every single second of it. Yes i will be the one running around in a cape and screaming wingardium leviosa to try and make screaming brats hover in the air!

There’s a long wait ahead before we jet off to the USA, but I’m already starting to think about which and what supplies I need to take for my ostomy. I’ve been on a plane before, so I know all the tricks about getting a doctor’s note about my appliances, dividing them between my hand luggage and my check-in luggage and not drinking fizzy drinks on the plane. You can check out my past blog with my experience flying to Europe last time here. But this time opens up a whole new world of questions. This time I am travelling long haul for the first time with my stoma, so who knows what’s going to happen.

The trip is going to be incredible! We eventually booked with Virgin. It was a tiny bit more pricey but I felt reassured that we would be booking the whole trip as a package, so that in the off chance that something does go wrong we will be covered. It also takes a weight off my mind to know that the flights will be clean, comfortable, there will be free, adequate toilets and we get two items of hand baggage each and cabin baggage included in the cost. They were also great about me taking my ostomy supplies on board the craft – always a niggling worry – and were great with my dietary requirements for the flight.

It’s an epic adventure. We are really pushing the boat out heading to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure; Wet ‘n’ Wild; Sea World and Aquatica. We didn’t want to do Disney (I’m into that whole kiddy animated stuff but Andy isn’t – well he claims he isn’t!) but I couldn’t go to the USA without going to Harry Potter World. I’m so beyond excited about walking through Diagon Alley it actually scares me. I had no idea I was such a geek! But when you look at what we are going to experience (see the website here) I challenge you not to go giddy and want to fork out your life savings to jump in my suitcase and run around this place in a cape and wizard’s hat too! 

We are also spending a few nights at Marco Island, to basically unwind from all the crazy running around and nausea of french fries and roller coasters! Then it’s off to New York city for shows and sights. 

I’ve been to the USA before – but that was pre 9/11, so I don’t need to say that I was very young and that an awful lot has changed since then. I went to Orlando, to Disney and Universal twice as a kid, it was magical. But so much has changed, there are all these new theme parks, rides and massive advances in technology – I think I’m going to see it with new eyes. I almost think that as a kid I was so overwhelmed by the magic that I didn’t appreciate the details, I guess I was far too busy chasing adults dressed up as cartoon characters around the parks trying to get autographs to notice some of the details  – as an adult I’m sure to notice, and experience things so much differently, Andy has never been, not even to the USA, and I can’t wait to show him everything, from the massive burgers and crab shacks to the amazing theme parks and stunning beaches. It is going to be the best trip ever and I’m starting to try to sort out my supplies so that I don’t get any nasty surprises a few days before we go.

Ok, so there are already a few things that are bothering me. I’m trying to find a bikini that fits. I want a high waisted vintage style one, preferably polka dot, if anyone can point me in the right direction I would be sooooo grateful. I also need a sturdy, yet flattering swimming costume – I’m seriously worried what the impact a day at the water park might have on my ostomy; will I need to change my bag all the time; keep drying it; wear a hernia support; or will it just stay on? (at the moment when I swim I change my bag immediately after I get out to avoid leaks).

Other niggling things include: What’s in butter beer? Is it made of butter? If so that will be a no go unless kids wandering around Hogsmeade want to see a bright green gremlin vomiting and passing out….not a good look! Also, how good is America with lactose intolerance, will there be things for me to eat in the theme parks? Can I eat pretzels? Will there be ice-cream (sorbet) for me to eat? How will my ostomy cope with the weather? Are there a lot of toilets? What happens to my bags while I’m on the rides? 

I’ve sorted my travel insurance, which didn’t cost any more than £100 thank God, and also thanks to AllClear. Which is already a massive weight off my mind. But I would love any advice that anyone has about theme parks with an ostomy, swimming outfits that are flattering and youthful and any other tips you have for long haul flights/and/or visiting America with dietary requirements.

Don’t worry, you have a month to get back to me!!!!! 

Oh, and I have been nominated for the ice bucket challenge – GREAT – I will share it later!  

An unbelievable evening watching The Lion King and a trip up the London Eye


After an eyeopening evening exploring London’s vibrant nightlife – experiencing everything from cosmopolitan bars filled with suits swigging champagne, groups of doctors huddled in toilets moaning about understaffed A&E departments, to pubs filled with legless women stumbling around downing pints of colliery band beer – on Friday morning I woke excited yet slightly worse for wear ready for my magical and much anticipated trip to see The Lion King.images

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so excited about anything. I honestly have no idea where I first heard about the stage version of the Disney film. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go and see it, but have never found the time, money or the energy to go. Andy knew this, and so acting as only a devoted boyfriend would, decided to surprise me with tickets to see the show while we were in London.

In the hours to spare before the show we headed into the capital to enjoy sightseeing. It didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Finding something for me to eat that was a) healthy and b) lactose free appeared to remain a monumental challenge despite the fact we were in a city filled with the largest variety of different culerany delights imaginable. It was like trying to see the wood through the trees, we just couldn’t find anywhere, and because I was starving by this time that turned me into a raging bitch. It was totally unreasonable and unfair on Andy, but at these moments (and everyone has done it) I often realise I’ve taken it too far but by that time I’ve gone too far with my sulk to take it back and realise I’m at fault. In moments like that, where I’m standing on a packed high street refusing to move and waving my arms around at my poor boyfriend blaming him for everything from not having planned our day out fully to being unable to create world peace, I often feel like I’m floating on the outside of my body watching and shaking my head as I realise how ridiculous it all is – but once you reach a certain point you just have to go along with it or dissolve into hysterical laughter….those are the rules, never backdown.

London Eye

London Eye

After finally being fed and watered (obviously I maintained the sulk and refused to enjoy what I ate) we ventured towards The London Eye. As the sky grew gloomier and dark clouds loomed on the horizon I didn’t hide my worry that we would see bugger all but rain and mist when we got to the top, and as we were queuing the rain got worse and a thunder storm threatened in the distance. Despite my fears the London rain and grey skies would spoil the once-in-a-lifetime experience (this was my first venture up the Eye) the views were still spectacular. Of course I didn’t agree with Andy that London looked better in the rain, but I have to admit it seemed ironic that my first time on the Eye would be on a murky day, where rain dribbled down the glass, and we ended up peering into the grey mugginess to try and spot MI5 and Wembley which had been engulfed by the fog.

On reaching not-so-dry land we were greeted by a full blown thunderstorm,  we both got soaked as we dashed across the bridge towards the Houses of Parliament and I almost had my eye poked out by a rouge umbrella – I’m not exaggerating I was left with a nasty red mark just under my eye after the brolly took on a life of its own.

Arriving back at our Camden Hotel looking closer to drowned sewer rats than tourists, me and Andy headed to the pool to relax for an hour (and what a pool it was; illuminated with purple lights underneath and filled with buoyant salt water) before getting changed and heading into the city for our much awaited Lion king adventure.

Anyone who has met me will know that getting me to be silent for more than a couple

Ready for the most amazing adventure

Ready for the most amazing adventure

of minutes can be an almost impossible task. The Lion King stunned me into silence. I can honestly say I have never seen anything more remarkable or unbelievable in my life. For the entire show I was well and truly captivated, everything from the outfits to the way the actors moved around the stage left me astounded. My mouth hung open in misbelief for so long I must have swallowed a gallon of flies and I was aware that I probably looked ridiculous with a clown-like smile of glee frozen on my face throughout the entire performance. But the whole thing was like a dream – I’d heard it was good but I didn’t realise it was what dreams were made of.

What was my favourite part of the musical? Honestly it’s hard to say….probably the opening number The Circle of Life. Original I know, but that was the moment the genius of the animal costumes was revealed and, boy, was it spectacular.

When the final curtain finally descended I wanted to cry. For the entirety of the production I had felt like a child unwrapping mountains of presents at Christmas, but then it was suddenly over and the area under the tree was suddenly empty. But despite the fact all the costumes were gone and the rousing music had ended the colourful scenes were still with me, I still felt in awe of what had just been achieved. It was one of the best presents I have ever had. It was magic in action.

After theatre treat - Loch Fyne

After theatre treat – Loch Fyne

A close call in court – the joys of court reporting with an ostomy and IBD


Before my operation my Crohn’s/Colitis made court reporting an almost impossibility.

Exactly!

Exactly!

I used to sit in agony in courtrooms wringing my hands together until they went white with pain under the press desk, jiggling my legs up and down to try to distract myself from the agonising need to go to the toilet – a need that never left me and always raised its ugly head at the most important moments of a case.

Covering the courts became both a joy and a punishment for me. The real challenge lay not in the reporting of the cases but the endless sitting and waiting, waiting, waiting for your case to come on. For most people the waiting would just be boring, for me it was agonising. While I was interested in the cases (if you have never sat in court and listened to mitigation and witnessed the general drama it is definitely a must – and is nothing like the telly) the constant need to race to the toilet every ten minutes made the waiting unbearable. I once dared to nip to the toilet after waiting through around three hours of driving offences, curfew amendments and restraining orders while feeling like my stomach was being ripped apart from the inside by a claw hammer. I remember racing out of the courtroom to the toilet – which is NEVER near enough to the courtroom you are in – thinking it will just be my luck if they finally hear my case now. I finally raced back to the courtroom five minutes later, still very much in the grip of the blood and pain, only to bump straight into the barristers for my case as they walked towards the Robing Room having heard the case – just typical.

Lesson learned – in the past two years I would rather have passed out than nipped to the toilet again!

Yes, I admit it the fear was always very real that I would pass out through the sheer effort of staying up right in my seat, and I am sure there were times that a jury member or even defendant has looked at me and thought ‘dear God that woman is about to collapse’. I lived in fear of an accident, and in even greater fear of someone making me move whenever a wave of pain flushed over me – when I was still I felt slightly more in control. And I am sure that all the press benches in the magistrates and crown courts that I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in have finger nail marks indented so far into the underside of the wood their imprints could almost be seen through the top.

So after years of covering court cases with the nightmare of my constantly flaring Crohn’s/Colitis, dealing with my ostomy while doing my job seemed like a reality walk in the park. Yes there was always the slight embarrassment of having my ostomy bag changing kit searched through by the security team, (and once or twice having to hand in my rounded cutting scissors at security as a ‘dangerous’ implement) but apart from that attending court was a relatively easy experience. So imagine my surprise when today my ostomy started acting up while I was sat in court patiently listening to each case and waiting for a jury to return. I won’t go into details but I could feel something was going on, and going on, and going on…and boy it just wasn’t holding back, in fact Winnie was going hell for leather. And for the life of me I couldn’t understand why.

So the next two hours were quite frankly hell. I quickly realised that Winnie was going to have to be emptied or we could end up with a pretty crazy situation in the courtroom. Basically Winnie was a ticking time bomb, and I sat sitting nervously trying to concentrate on my shorthand and what the counsel were saying to try to distract myself from the imminent explosion that was building up inside me. The pressure was unbelievable…but I was determined not to leave the room..my old fears about missing things while on the toilet returned and after grimacing through some of the worse pain of my life, there was not a chance in hell that I was going to miss the verdict because of my ostomy – yes, that is how stubborn I am.

Ok, the situation was made worse by my remaining colon continuing to contain active Colitis and me feeling the need to go all the time. The whole thing was unpleasant to say the least, and I just knew I needed to rehydrated and possibly stuff my face with marshmallows to stop this onslaught from Winnie or I would be in a whole new world of trouble soon.

The moment the judge broke for lunch was a blessed relief. I think I actually sighed audibly. As I stood up the weight of Winnie was horrendous and I had to hobble like I had bricks in my pants down the stairs, round the corner to the loo. Court toilets are never an extremely pleasant experience, but I won’t bore you with that.

By the time the day was over I had avoided several natural disasters and learnt a real lesson. While I was in agony with my IBD and the urgency and pain often led to accidents, I could often cope even though it meant me almost passing out with pain until I had a chance to reach a bathroom – with my ostomy this is not the case. There is no grin and bear it. Yes the pain is considerably less, yes the blood is there but it isn’t by the bucketload, but no I can’t stop the flow or ease the pressure when its started…if I wait, sooner or later she will fill up and then, eventually….BOOM! (now that would be a story)!

I will have to learn to cope with it. I love court reporting and I love my job, but I have to keep a close eye on things and remember I’m no superwoman, I’m still human…and, well, Winnie is just a stoma bag she’s not a miracle worker.