Little me, my ostomy, and Ulcerative Colitis versus the Cardiff Half Marathon – I came out on top!


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I can’t walk down stairs without wanting to scream out in pain right now.

Weirdly after running a half marathon at the weekend on Monday I felt surprisingly ok – but I was a little bit distracted.

Apparently the not being able to sit down comes in after two days and for the first time ever I can’t stop eating everything in sight.

Anyway, even though the pain is getting just a little bit on my nerves now, I am I beyond proud with what I achieved on Sunday.

I ran a whole half marathon without stopping, walking or really slowing down – yes me!

I finished the race in 2hr 14min and 11 seconds (those seconds make all the difference) which is awesome compared to the 3hrs it took all those years ago when I did the Great North Run at the height of an Ulcerative Colitis flare.

Funnily enough about half way through the Cardiff race on Sunday I started to really need a wee (well I thought I did). It got to the stage where I thought I might burst, but there was not a chance in hell I was going to stop and queue for a loo if it wasn’t my ostomy that was the problem.

I stubbornly carried on determined not to let needing the loo ruin my time – I mean after a life totally ruled by toilets I was not going to give a queue for the lavatory the satisfaction of ruining my pace.

Somehow despite a few hills (which I ashamedly and rather vocally swore at) and this desperation I ran the whole thing and even sprinted at the end, crossing the finish with a few fist pumps as I couldn’t believe I had done it.

What amazed me the most is how well behaved Winnie was. She didn’t start kicking off until about three hours later, when I was obviously ridiculously dehydrated and starving – it is often easy to forget I should drink more than the average person (and that doesn’t include wine).

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me, encouraged me on the way, and tried to make me see the challenge was possible – it was all so worth it and Crohn’s and Colitis have bit more cash from my pain.

Anyway, I appear to have caught the running bug. My mirror is slowly getting decorated with medals and I’m collecting running t-shirts at a bit of an alarming speed.

I might not look pretty when I run but I am starting to love it. I get time to think, get fit and often see stunning sunrises and sunsets. I also like the respect runners have for each other – a little bit like the hello walkers in the country feel obliged to give each other, like it’s part of the highway code or something.

So I’ve decided this time next year I’m going to do that marathon I’ve always talked about. I’m thinking the Chester marathon so I can see friends and family and have a bit of a celebration after.

I am the fittest and healthiest I have ever been in my life. To be honest I need to grab this chance while I can, as I’ve learnt how my life can flip when I put things off, and where better place to train than Cardiff Bay.

I know I need to work up to it, so my plan is to do two or three more 10k races and another half to prepare and then go for the big one. Don’t worry I won’t ask for sponsorship for them all, but the plan is by the end to have raised £1,000 for Crohn’s and to raise awareness of Ostomy Aid on the way.

People think I’m crazy, but you only live once – and I want to be able to say I ran a marathon!

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Don’t eat coconut when tipsy – the nastiest wake up call I’ve ever had #ostomy


It’s six o’clock on a Monday night and I’m in bed with a penguin hot water bottle.

Usually I’m still in work trying to finish something at the last minute or better still running around Cardiff Bay.

But tonight I’m more poorly than I’ve been in a long time – I know it’s bad when the festive hot water bottle comes out.

The worse thing is that all this pain could have been totally avoided and is entirely self inflicted.

On Saturday I went a bit mad you see and in my fairly tipsy post rugby watching state I decided to gorge on dairy free chocolate macaroons.

Pre drinking madness

Pre drinking madness

At the time it seemed like a decent idea, I wasn’t bothered about calories or fat content, I just wanted something sweet and there they were – they should never have been in the house.

The worse thing about it is that I know my stoma doesn’t like Mrs Crimble, in fact while my lips love a bit of her tasty biscuits Winnie is repulsed by them, and tries to get rid of them as soon as possible. But while they have caused me a bit of pain in the past it’s never been enough to make me 100% avoid them.

But I’d never eaten a whole packet!

Yes you are hearing me right – the whole damn lot of them, I have no idea what came over me or how I even managed that amount of macaroons (I can imagine it was like the cream cracker challenge getting drier and more chalk like by the second). It was what some might call a moment of madness!

Anyway, I was shockingly ok on Sunday (a bit of a sore head) but at around 6pm the pain began while I was walking around Cardiff Bay enjoying the sunset and it got worse and worse while Winnie tried to push through mountains of undigested coconut – which i seemed to have inhaled and not chewed!

I can only imagine that for her it is like trying to push a boulder through a button hole.

Anyway it’s shockingly awful, and the last time I was in this much pain was sprout gate at Christmas and the time I realised I could no longer eat quorn a few weeks after my first operation.

To be honest I’ve had this wake up call coming for a very long time. I eat the worse things possible for Winnie, i stuff my face with spinach, lettuce, rocket, all manner of green high fibre indigestible stuff every single day, all of which is healthy but hardly any of which she can actually digest – I mean goodness I even went through a chocolate Weetabix phase.

But today the thing that’s weirding me out more than anything is that everything is still working fine, overly working you could say, but that she has grown, all be it doubled in size and swollen, no doubt through the intense pressure.

This hasn’t happened before, and after two years of mishaps that makes me very anxious.

I didn't mean to look this pathetic

I didn’t mean to look this pathetic

I’ve taken some tips off you all on my Facebook (thanks guys) and despite my fizzy pop ban which has been going incredibly well, i had a can of coke to try and flush out all the badness – so far that hasn’t worked but I am willing to try anything.

For now this has floored me. I’m exhausted and really disappointed that this idiotic mistake could mess up my half marathon on Sunday, but I’ve decided to just try and ride it out (keeping eating as much and as kindly as I can) and hope I haven’t done myself any long term damage.

I desperately don’t want to be the ill girl again, and no doubt will soldier on after an evening of feeling very sorry for myself and crying a bit.

There are lessons to be learnt here, the main one, don’t get drunk and eat a bucket load of macaroons.

Ok, there might be better things to take away from it than that, like don’t get drunk, know your limits, respect your body – a wealth of serious moral-ridden lessons.

But who knows my new coconut motto might well end up being the thing that saves my life – I should have a bumper sticker printed!

Training for Cardiff Half and the falling of the first leaves of Autumn


It’s my favourite season at last.

There’s nothing I like more than Autumn, although like many things in my life I have a love hate relationship with it.

The falling of the leaves and stunning colours mean the return of snuggly jumpers, thick duvets and cuddling under thick blankets, but it also means the end of summer – meaning no more coral nail vanish, flip-flops and beer gardens.

I love Autumn fashion. I find it easier to dress myself with the layers, colourful prints and return of the little black dress making dressing effortless with an ostomy. It’s not that I feel that uncomfortable in the summer, Autumn just suits me better.

But while the first fall of the leaves welcomes in my favourite and most breathtaking time of year, it also means dragging myself out of bed to run in the cold, wind and dark….which is not very fun at all.

I realise I haven’t blogged since I ran the Cardiff 10k.

It might have only been a few weeks ago but it was so hot it felt like I was running in the height of summer, despite the heat and a few training hiccups and injuries on the way I did pretty damn well.

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I finished the race with a sprint – looking far from pretty – in under 59 minutes. Not my best ever 10k but pretty good for how nervous, hot and bothered and confused I was.

Next week is the Cardiff Half and my training has been rocky to say the least.

The start of Autumn, with some confusing hot days, has led to a weird cold and stuffy feeling. I also had some sort of virus which made me dizzy – and a brace fitted making me feel like crap and behave like a total cow in heat for a few days.

But after a few very disappointing runs, on Tuesday I dragged myself out in the dark and plodded around 15K in 1hr 30min, my furthest run to date – very proud indeed.

I just hope that I stay well for the next few days, avoid the heavy drinking which seems to come hand in hand with the stresses of work, watching the rugby of a weekend, and well everything at the moment, and perhaps get some sleep.

I have started to fall in love with running.

Next year I’d like to do a marathon – perhaps then I won’t be so enamoured.

If you’d like to sponsor me for my running challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis UK please click here 

Ostomy on the run – and a wealth of injuries on the way #cardiff10k


 

IMG_0979In just a few hours I will be running the Cardiff 10k.

While my fitness has shot through the roof since I moved to Wales, having become obsessed with weights at the gym, I’m getting the feeling I’m going to be hobbling over the finish line.

Over the past three weeks I’ve been blighted with twinges in my abdomen, and earlier last week (horrifyingly) I had a few hours where I couldn’t seem to sit down without feeling stabs of pain.

Ironically for all the ridiculous weighted sit ups I’ve been putting my body through it was a run that caused it (well I think it was).

It all started after a 14k run – the longest on my own – where I felt 100% fine and got an amazing time (well for me anyway) making me feel all so proud.

Well, until I was suddenly in agony!

Shortly after I arrived home I started getting stabbing pains in my pelvis or lower abdomen, for days after it felt like pressure was building up in my abdomen and pelvis….all very uncomfortable and very, very odd.

So I signed up for the Cardiff Half Marathon – and then thought that wasn’t enough let’s do the Cardiff 10K too.

Horrific mistake.

My body has tried everything to collapse under me since I took up this new challenge, it seems to want to try and throw my training out of the window.

But right now I seem to be ok (famous last words)….

Thankfully, following some antibiotics, the pains seem to have subsided and I am back in action.

This week I managed to knock 25 seconds off my best 10k, and I’m on track to do the 10k tomorrow in under 59 minutes – if nothing goes wrong of course.

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I’ve always had a love hate relationship with running.

I have days where I’m in the zone, motivated and nothing can stop me on my mission towards my half marathon goal, on other days my legs feel like jelly, my stomach twinges around my stoma, and everything from ducklings, my mobile phone, hair, and the thought of a glass of wine tempts me to stop sooner than I should.

I often think I look pretty hot while running, with my bright pink kit, but I think the couples dining in the Bay would say I look frankly gross (I often do my sprint finish right in front of people enjoying romantic meals, sorry!)

To say I’m not a sexy runner would be an understatement. I often totally forget people can see me: I mouth random words to songs, sweat profusely, get hair in my mouth, and well seem to always get a fly in my eye.

But there again if you look good you can’t be doing it property, right?

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Anyway tomorrow will be my second ‘race’ since my ileostomy operation. A few months ago I did the back to the stadium 10k which finished in the Olympic Stadium.

It was an unbelieveable experience, but backbreakingly hot. I finished the race in 1hr 1min and something, which was gutting as I had been doing 10k in under an hour.

Anyway tomorrow’s race – which I’ve combined with the half to raise cash for Crohn’s and Colitis UK – will kick start my real training in the run up to the half.

I’m determined to get a good time next month, the last time I ran a half marathon was the Great North Run at the height of a Colitis flare. I was so tiny, exhausted, and my training had been sporadic due to illness and hospitalisation.

I only managed to stumble round due to the support of kind strangers who were also running for Crohn’s and Colitis and ran alongside me, pushing me on, encouraging me and sharing their loved ones’ stories.

This time I am the fittest I’ve ever been, happy and motivated, and I’m getting a little bit addicted to smashing personal bests.

I want (have) to prove what I can do without this illness. I want to show my own body that anything is possible and that with my ostomy I can make it all the way round the course without going to the loo – a miracle.

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Meanwhile my sister (who is a self confessed non runner) will be taking on the GNR to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. I’m beyond proud of her, and hope she gets round in one piece and with a big smile on her face.

Anyway, good luck to everyone running the GNR or Cardiff 10k, especially if you’re doing it for Crohn’s or any Ostomy charities….I’ll be rooting for you!

If you want to follow my training I will be putting a new section on my blog for you to follow my progress, and as per usual if anyone has any tips on exercising/ running with an ostomy please share.

And, just in case you are feeling generous, here is my Justgiving page.

https://www.justgiving.com/Rachel-Flint

 

 

 

Beating the January blues #dryjanuary after over indulging in Bruges


IMG_7145It’s official, I’ve made it through the first week of January without drinking and not had a nervous breakdown. Ok, so that makes me sound like an alcoholic, but team that with giving up sweets, Dr Pepper and Diet Coke (basically brown drinks) I’m surprised I’ve not killed someone!

In the run up to Christmas I really indulged. Naturally I stuffed myself with turkey, pigs in their fatty blankets and other yummy thigh boosting treats on the big day itself, but it was the drinking and general pigging out in the run up and post hangover indulgence post-Christmas that really did the damage to my health.

For my birthday my lovely partner surpassed himself with a romantic and totally surprise trip to Bruges. It was stunningly beautiful, and, after weeks of working around the clock and feeling unfestive, just what I needed to get me in the proper spirit. But while exploring the windy streets and pretty chocolate box houses and shops, I confess I may have tried a few too many beers, chocolates and well, lets just say anything I could eat I damn well put in my mouth – it would have been rude not to right?

If you’ve not been to Bruges, a few tips:

1) Go on the brewery tour – it’s really cheap and you get a massive beer, the guide is also incredibly knowledgeable and very entertaining!

2) Go to the proper bars, not the ones in the square, which are touristy and over priced

3) Visit the windmills

4) If there before Christmas, go to the ice sculpture festival – almost froze off my hands but well worth it

5) Don’t drink the wine, they have no idea about wine (the only wine bar we found only seemed to know white or red), stick to beer and spirits

6) The best chocolate shop is tucked behind the square – it’s tiny, I wish I could remember the name, but it is great and they select the chocolates for you – even Rick Stein gives it his seal of approval

7) Go to Lizzie’s Waffles – amazing ROSE hot chocolate (even does soya milk) – I was surprised how many places did soya – and Andy had a shockingly large waffle

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Luckily as a lactose intolerant person (meaning I’m the one in the office who always refuses the home-baked treats) I didn’t manage to put on too much weight. Being lactose intolerant in the capital of chocolate is not the best feeling, but did stop me from eating the front of every building in a manner similar to Hansel and Gretel. But I did manage to push my ostomy to the point of meltdown by drinking beer. Apparently, as someone who NEVER drinks beer and pulls that funny, repulsed face, looking like I’ve eaten very sour grapes every single time I’m forced to try it, my body HATES beer. I did like the fruit beer, but even that, despite tasting yummy and like cherries, is too much like beer for my ostomy and body as a whole to cope with. That teamed with numerous sausages from the German market, stews and mussels, made for a particularly revolting sight and smell every morning in the toilet bowl.

While in Bruges my ostomy went into meltdown. It basically hated me. But as per usual I was determined to enjoy myself, didn’t listen and carried on stuffing my face – when in Rome (well Brussels) and all that!

Anyway we had a lovely time, but just like when I came back from Germany my appetite is still ridiculous. I’m constantly craving meat and bread, and for someone who normally lives off spinach, rocket, avocado, porridge and fish (ok and sweets) this is a nightmare. I’ve carried on drinking and eating at a ridiculous pace, and I basically need to stop as I feel ill all the time – all out of my own doing!

So it’s 2015 and I’ve vowed for the whole of January to abstain from the dreaded booze. I’ve also cut out Diet Coke and Dr Pepper (basically all the fizzy pop I like) and the dreaded sweets. It’s only 30 days – it should be easy – during my life I’ve given up food for months on end and lived off disgusting shakes (Ensure) to give my bowel a rest, and I’ve given up alcohol for months on end in a bid to sort out my illness and to recover from surgery. But January is always hard, everyone seems to be beating themselves up at the moment, it’s hard to get out of bed, dark all the time, and everywhere looks empty without all the decorations – not to mention everyone is broke.

I’m proud that I’ve made it to day eight without being tempted. Last night we went to the cinema and I didn’t touch any pop despite Andy having a bottle of Coke next to me. I’m starting to feel better for it, something which didn’t happen straight away as I’ve had a number of unshakable viruses. I’ve got more energy and I’m sleeping better.

I even managed to force myself to go for a run today, something which I have a love hate relationship with. I love running but hate the first minute!

My other new years resolutions are:

To run a half marathon – aiming for one in around March, April time.

Run at least twice a week

Write this blog more regularly

Be more organised – especially with appointments

Get back in touch with old friends and be better at keeping in touch

Finally do that bloody reading challenge

Learn French properly

Get a new job

And, obviously, do as many challenges as I can and as much as I can to raise awareness of Crohn’s and Colitis and Stomas – if anyone has any ideas let me know!

I have a good feeling about 2015!

Dashing Santa style – racing for new born babies with a Lego man in tow? Challenge #no53


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Not many people know this but I’m a miracle. That might sound incredibly big-headed, but I really am a miracle. You see I was born incredibly premature. So premature that I was incredibly ill…in fact I died a number of times. Before you ask I don’t remember anything about it, I didn’t see the white pearly gates or a light at the end of the tunnel, but it happened.

I was born dramatically early. So yes I guess my life continued the way it would stay DRAMATIC! They do say start the way that you mean to go on – I undoubtably did that. I was born so small I fitted into the palm of my dad’s hand with room to spare (unbelievable, yes I can’t imagine it either) and was the smallest baby in Burnley General – I even appeared in the paper with smiling school children holding me (yes a little bit weird, but cute).

Yes being small is cute, but it presented its problems. In my eagerness to get out into the big bad world I didn’t give my little body enough time to develop, meaning that in the rush to get out my body simply didn’t finish the job. The result was a I closed hole in my heart valve. Obviously this meant I was fighting from the very second I was born….something it seems I’m really very good at!

Ok, let’s be serious a moment, because really this is no laughing matter. I don’t remember anything about any of this, my little body was broken, but really I had no idea, but my poor parents did. I can’t imagine the pain of having to watch your baby suffer, to not know if they are going to live or die. I can’t imagine having the baby I just gave birth to being snatched away and the pain and anxiety while waiting to hear their fate, while I should be holding my child and celebrating bringing them into the world. It must have broken my parents’ hearts.

I’m alive today because of a number of people who simply wouldn’t let me go. My parents, the doctors and nurses, and obviously my very stubborn little self, who fought back from the brink and mended over night (the start of a trend throughout my IBD and adult life) just as all hope was lost. But I’m also here because of my late Step grandad Nick; an amazing man who bought me an incubator to keep me alive because the hospital didn’t have one to save me. He died a few years ago, but I like to think he would be proud of what I have done with the life helped me to experience.

Anyway, why am I talking about this? Because today me and Andy (my boyfriend) ran the Chester Santa Dash to raise money for a number of charities; among them the Baby Grow Appeal. The BG appeal is to try to raise £3 million to build a new neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital to provide a more private place for families going through what my family went through; a place where support can be given to those who are going through uncertain and emotional times, and where the best care can be given to babies who are clinging to life and fighting with every little bone in their bodies.

Ok, you all know The Countess isn’t on my Christmas card list due to everything that’s happened over the years, but who cares when they are trying to achieve something so important, which could save lives and give comfort to so many people in such difficult times. So with that in mind we donned our Santa suits to race 4k around the city with hundreds of other Santas.

But being me and Andy we couldn’t do it without a bit of a twist, so Andy wore his giant Lego head and I donned my Press jacket and we suddenly became the stars of the show. We ran the whole thing, even though Andy could hardly see. We were a massive hit…well Andy was. I think he has started trending on twitter and is probably in hundreds of photos (there’s even a Where’s Wally style shot on the Dee 106.3 Facebook page). It was an incredible experience, and despite stinking and being bathed in sweat by the end we were incredibly happy – and even got interviewed by Dee 106.3 an odd experience with some bizarre questions which I didn’t handle that well – I’m used to the other side of the camera really!

So that’s another challenge down – what next?

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Exercise with a stoma – me & Winnie and the joys of moving and shaking


It’s official, me and Winnie (my temperamental stoma bag) are back in the saddle.

Me and a very naughty petting pony in Chester

Me and a very naughty petting pony in Chester

Ok, so before you go shielding your children’s innocent eyes from my blog post and blocking this site using parent protection, I have to make it clear that this post is not about my sex life…I’m afraid it’s much more boring than that (sorry guys), today I’m going to talk about getting on my bike and exercising despite my temperamental stoma.

So if you read my last post about my appointment at the surgeons you’ll know that I have been feeling a bit down in the dumps over the past few days. Well, if I’m going to be completely honest, that’s a bit of an understatement. The way I’ve been feeling is totally down-and-out depressed. I’ve been feeling totally confused about my body, about my disease and about my future. I’ve been feeling like everything is working against me to stop me healing and being able to embrace the normal, amazing and pain-free life, where I wouldn’t clock the toilets the moment I walked into a building, which I was promised I would have after my operation. Basically, I have still been feeling better and weller (I know still not a word) than I did before the birth of Winnie, but recently I’ve pictured myself standing in an open square, throwing my arms out and screaming “I’ve had 13 years of the godforsaken disease, pain and vomiting, give me A BREAK!!!”

Last time something stopped me running/ swimming

Last time something stopped me running/ swimming

Anyway, anyway, anyway, despite feeling like an emotional yo-yo and forcing my friends and extremely understanding boyfriend to tip-toe around me like I’m a ticking-time bomb, a few days ago I decided it was time for me to try to start to build up my muscles again and get exercising! Ok, so it’s not like for the past 12 weeks I have sat in sweat pants and stuffed my face with takeaway and chocolates (I wish), so please don’t get the impression that my longing to start exercising was triggered by some sort of lose weight fast or crazy body image issue where I see myself in the mirror as a giant whale – I have to make it clear here that I KNOW I AM TINIE TINY!! The idea to start trying to exercise again was not brought about by vanity or self-loathing, but by the itching to start moving again and the longing to feel that satisfying burn that tears through your muscles after a really tough workout is over.

Ok, so maybe I am lying a little bit about the vanity thing!

If I’m going to be honest with you (and if I’m not, what’s the point in this blog? seriously?), 70% of my idea to exercise was health related – to help get my muscles, body and bones (due to my osteoporosis) stronger, and transform my twig-like legs back to their stronger, half-marathon selves – and 30%, I have to admit, was more to do with pride.

Ok, so I know that sounds ridiculous, so let me explain. This weekend me and a group of my girlfriends are heading to Centre Parks for a couple of days of girly fun and laughter without the prying eyes of the male species (well I am sure there will be boys in the vicinity, otherwise that would be weird). This will be my first ever weekend away with my friends – EVER! I know, I’m so sad, I never went mad and took part in one of those mental booze-fuelled rampages to Ibiza in my youth. I never felt the need to get bladdered abroad, drinking out of funnels and having shots off naked bodies – I totally missed out on that one, I don’t think i was in that sort of crowd, and to be fair I don’t think my IBD would have let me go even if I’d wanted to. Instead I stuck with the family caravan trips, where we visited every historic monument in Britain, got flooded out of camp site, ate biscuits in bed and even dressed-up in bin bags in public. My childhood holiday memories are made up of me leaving my sister to drown as the tent filled with water, waking to find sheep carrying us down a very steep hill, and many many paddies that I can’t remember exactly why I threw!! Ah memories!! (At the time I didn’t appreciate those holidays enough, now I wish I had)

Anyway, where was I? The Centre Parks trip was booked months before I realised that my surgery (that I knew was going to happen) was imminent. When we booked the trip I was seriously ill but still incredibly active. Despite the crippling pain and exhausting fatigue which filled my bones I still loved nothing more than to exercise. I have always been that way. No matter how ill I get I still find the energy to get my bum off the sofa and do a bit of jumping about. In fact I find it helps my illness. Exercise makes me feel happy…it makes me feel in control when everything else is spiralling downhill at an incredibly fast rate. When I’m at my worst getting motivated can be hard, but the hardest step is getting out of the front door in between the toilet visits, once I’ve passed that hurdle and started running/swimming/cycling, I can run/swim/cycle for forever (well not forever) without letting my Crohns/Colitis cross my mind. You could say that exercising is the only time when I feel free, that I feel my illness comes second and I come first.

So, I’d been really looking forward to this trip until we had a meeting to discuss activities a few weeks ago. This is when the realisation that this was not the average relaxing holiday lounging around drinking wine or exploring monuments finally hit home. I really don’t know what I had been expecting or what I thought Centre Parks was, but I really didn’t expect that we would be spending our few days of blissful girliness zip wiring, jumping off cliffs and racing around a forest. Everyone else was really enthusiastic as my friend read out the activities, but I kept saying “oh that sounds energetic” or “not for me”…and you know what, I hated myself for it! Usually

A daring but very painful experience in the month before surgery - extremely ill but determined to enjoy myself

A daring but very painful experience in the month before surgery – extremely ill but determined to enjoy myself

I would be the first one to jump onboard with the craziness and fling myself off a rock face or something equally energetic (as long as it was certified as safe), and I hated hearing my little wining voice winging about how little I could do because of my op. Even the cycling seemed out of the question with my open wound, stoma and fistula…I left the meeting without putting my name down for any of the activities, in fact I wasn’t even sure how I was going to get around as I didn’t even know if I would be able to cycle! I went back to my flat devastated with an image of me sitting in the villa alone all day while my friends did fun-filled activities, waiting for them to get back before asking how their days had been…STUPID OPERATION!!!

But I was determined this wasn’t going to happen, I was going to have fun even if I couldn’t throw myself off a cliff or zip to my death down a ridiculously high wire. So I broached the subject with my surgeon (who I adore) and to my amazement he said I could do light exercise, just as long as I didn’t forget I had had major surgery. I mean, like I’m going to forget, I’ve got a flaming stoma bag to remind me every second of every day. I heard my heart-break into a million pieces when he said I wouldn’t be able to swim because of my open scar…I knew it was no good pleading so I just sat looking dewy-eyed and upset, hoping it would at least make him feel like the most evil person in the world. You see swimming is my most favourite thing in the entire world, I find that no matter how much stress or how much pain I’m in all my troubles float away when I get in the water and I can swim for hours on end at an absurdly rapid pace with the only thought bobbing through my mind being did I do 26 or 27 lengths…if I don’t concentrate on counting I quickly forget and have to go back to the lowest number.

swimming in the ocean - happy days pre surgery

swimming in the ocean – happy days pre surgery

But he did say I would be able to cycle. But I didn’t want to find out I couldn’t mount the damn thing in front of all my friends or get on and wobble around and fall off with my bum in the air exposing Winnie to the world. Basically I didn’t want to be humiliated. So on Monday I got on my bike for the first time in, well, forever. I have to say I was excited and petrified! The last time I got on my bike I was on a busy main road (I don’t know why we started out there DOH) and I was wobbling around all over the place. This time we went to an abandoned (well not quite abandoned sorry guy who owned Landrover I almost hit, I wasn’t sure if the look was pity or annoyance you gave me from behind the wheel), to get me used to the motion and to see if I could even get on the seat with all my bags dangling off my utility belt! I had this weird image of me getting Winnie stuck on the handlebars or her falling off as I whipped along the bumpy tarmac – obviously that didn’t happen.

Anyway, I have to say it was the most fun I have had in ages. I raced around in my little helmet and luminous jacket (yes I know it was broad daylight) like the happiest little kid in the world. In fact I think the man whose car I avoided crashing in to thought I was a child because of the massive grin on my face (if you watch vid you’ll see what I mean). It was exhausting and exhilarating, and because I enjoyed it so much we did it all again yesterday, but instead of a short ride in a derelict car park we took to the canal tow path and successfully avoided dogs, pedestrians, children and cyclists for a three-mile ride which left me shattered and feeling like I’d been sat on a sharp rock for the rest of the evening (ouch) – I didn’t however feel half as bad as Andy who ran alongside me.

Next step…light jogging, but I’m going to give it time and invest in some mega supportive underwear!!!

If you have a stoma or Crohns/Colitis and exercise and have any tips please comment below…