Worst Selfies Ever

No, I’m not talking about that terrible shot of you from an awful angle on your work night out, or that one where you think you look amazing and then when you look back you have a bogey…

After 12 years of IBD, more colonoscopies than I can count, several shitting accidents in public and going on national TV to discuss poo, I thought I had faced all my most embarrassing moments.  I have shared the majority of these cringe inducing events with you lot, earning me the moniker The Poo Lady!

Yet today, I have sunk to an all time low.

I am working away in Wales and struggling with this prolapse, only it has got worse and now I think I have a pouch prolapse too.  My consultant asked me to send a photo.  No, he doesn’t want one of my lovely press shots, or that hilarious photos of me dressed as the Crack Fox when I went to see the Mighty Boosh.  Nope, he wanted a photo of my damaged arse and vag.

This morning was the worst photo shoot of my life… There was no way I could ask my photographer husband to get involved in this, he’d get all arty and be thinking about composition and lighting and so I have taken selfies of my butt.  I’m sure I have warned my kids about this!!!

Worry not, I’m not planning to share them here! These are for Mr Brown’s eyes only! (Poor man!)

I know it sounds odd, but he is fab and this way he can get an idea of what’s going on without delaying treatment, it takes a while to get an appointment with him and so it is a good way for him to ‘see me’ without ‘seeing me’.

Just when I think my days can’t get any weirder, this happens…


Love Sam x

Wolf whistling is FINE! Right fellas?

These women who get pissed off about men wolf whistling need to wind their necks in, right? I mean, it’s just boys being boys!

Women should appreciate that men find them attractive! They should know it’s all a bit of fun, no harm done.

Guys, when you and your drunk buddies whistle, jeer and shout sexual comments at me as I stand alone on a train platform, I should enjoy it, shouldn’t I?

Only I actually feel threatened, scared and I decide to not get on your train and wait for the next one because a group of loud, drunk men make me fearful when they’re shouting at me to “get my tits out for the lads”.

When you and your builder colleagues whistle and call out to the woman as she walks past the building site, she should understand that it’s only a bit of fun.

Only it makes her self conscious and embarrassed. She pulls her coat a bit tighter, looks straight ahead and walks a little faster to just get past.

When you and your school pals talk loudly about the size of a girls tits as she is in ear shot, she should enjoy the attention, right?

Only when that’s your little sister, it makes her feel objectified and sexualised. And she’s in a fucking school uniform.

When you are in the office and stand just that little too close, you make a suggestive comment and a risqué joke to your female colleague, she should take it as a laugh, shouldn’t she!

Only when it’s your sister, it makes her  feel disrespected, angry and demoralised.

When you call out to a woman as you both walk alone at night, she should know you’re only being friendly.

Only when that’s your mum, she feels nervous and walks faster, head down, just hoping to get home safe.

sam cleasby ibd blogger sheffield chronic illness

It’s easy to assume that those who call out the wolf whistlers, the jeerers, the men who stand a little too close and who cross the line, that those people are over reacting.  It’s all bants mate!!! There’s no harm done is there?  Yet the reality is that this sort of behaviour is at best unsettling, at worst scary, upsetting  and bloody annoying.

I’m a confident person yet in the past few weeks have had all of these events either happen to me or someone close to me and both myself and the other people were upset and angry that we’d been subjected to it.

I know this isn’t all men. Most men are respectful and kind and lovely… But it is some men and the fact this happens in our day and age sucks.  The defence is always that women should see it as a compliment. Or a joke. Or being friendly. That we should get a sense of humour. Or stop being so sensitive. Or my all time fave internet comment, that I’m just a feminist dyke… (Hooray for all the feminist dykes!)

But it does still shock me. And yes, as I stood on a platform at 10.30pm after a day’s work, a train filled with drunken shouting men, whistling, calling out to me and chanting, scared me.  I made the decision to stand alone and wait for the next one.  I’m a loud, bolshy woman, yet I felt I couldn’t even meet the eyes of these men in case it provoked them further.

I’m not trying to be dramatic. And I’m aware that they were probably all nice fathers, brothers, colleagues. Perhaps they just didn’t think it would bother me? Maybe they weren’t thinking.  Perhaps alcohol was involved and it made them act in a different way to how they usually would.  I wonder who they are, as I don’t see it in the men I know, I don’t see my husband or friends wolf whistling and voicing their opinion on other peoples’ tits.

I felt powerless at that point but now safe at home, I know my power is in the written word. Maybe they’ll read this and think again next time. Perhaps the builder, the school boy, the colleague, the man on the train, the man walking home late, perhaps they can look and see their wife, sister, daughter, mother and understand that their words and actions may be affecting that person more than they think.

sam cleasby timm cleasby so bad ass sheffield

There are those that will undoubtably shout that it’s Political Correctness gone mad.  Who will say you can’t ever smile at a woman without being called a misogynist. Who will say that men can’t chat a woman up these days.  To you, I would say that my opinion is all about context. Of course it’s nice for strangers to smile! It’s nice to chat to people on the bus or at work. It’s great to joke with people you know are on your wave length. This is not about human kindness or even people being attracted and making conversation in the hope of letting someone know you are into them!

In my opinion, it’s about power.  The men on the train weren’t hoping to chat to me about myself. Unless you count their interest in my breasts. The builder isn’t hoping I stop and ask his opinion on current news. The man on the desolate dark street may well be friendly, but should be aware that it can be quite scary to be approached by a stranger at night.

Context and common sense is key.

And for those who will say that sometimes some women are sexually aggressive towards men, I would agree and say that too is wrong.

As I speak to my female friends, every single one had a story of feeling afraid, embarrassed or self conscious because of the actions and words of a man unknown to them.  Even more worrying though, every one had a story of being flashed, approached or having some interaction with a man who had being openly lewd and sexual. Seriously, every one. That’s scary.

When I was a kid, probably around 9 or 10, I was at a friends. As we skated up and down her road in our roller boots, the phone box rang. And it kept ringing every time we went past. Eventually we answered, I was secretly hoping that it would be the beginnings of an Enid Blyton style mystery. It wasn’t. It was a man, he was silly and made jokes. At first we were scared, then we were giggling away. He asked what I was wearing and I told him I was dressed as She-Ra. (I bloody loved She-Ra). He replied and said I was a liar and described my clothes. It was then we realised he was watching us and we skated away home to my friends home, terrified and crying.

That’s an awful story isn’t it. Yet I know Im not alone.

This has happened for a long time. It happened when I was a kid, a teen and it happens now. I just hope it’s something that will change so my daughter isn’t dealing with the same issues.

I don’t think that every builder who wolf whistles is a sexual predator waiting to pounce. But I do think it’s time for a change, time we stood up and explained how this behaviour makes some women feel.

And that’s why I support the Everyday Sexism project. Head over and check it out now.  They “catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest.  By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.”

Sam xxx

I don’t know how to deal with sadness

“I don’t know how to deal with sadness” These are the words I said to a friend last week and more and more, I feel this is true.  My usual outlook is one of happiness, positivity and general silliness and so when I feel sad, I find it very difficult to know how to cope.

Things are quite tough at the minute, I’m getting over pouchitis and then there’s the whole prolapse thang going on. As I said in my past few posts, this has hit me hard and I just don’t know how to deal with the feelings that have come up.

I smile, I laugh, I joke. And I do mean it. But inside I have this chest thudding anxiety and stress that at times is totally overwhelming.  My head is so full, my thoughts are swirling around and my jaw aches from the constant clenching that crops up when I’m not feeling my best.

I just don’t know how to talk about it out loud, which is frustrating as I am usually good at articulating myself. I find it much easier to write it down but speaking out loud feels like a mountain to climb.

Along with the health problems, things are quite stressful. We’re moving house, I am really busy with work, there are family troubles with close members falling out with me (yet choosing not to explain why!) and my book proposal has gone out to publishers so I am trying to give myself a break and accept that it’s ok to be feeling anxious when you have a lot going on.

As usual I attempt to psycho-analyse myself. I think I have problems with the idea of letting people down. Perhaps I worry that people will walk away and leave me if I become too much trouble. I’m concerned that if I’m a burden, no one will want me. Daddy issues much??!!

I was listening to a podcast yesterday with Adam Buxton and Jon Ronson, a comedian and writer who I think are both brilliant. It surprised me to hear these celebrated and outwardly confident people discussing their anxieties with life, their confidence crises and the struggles they face with dealing with stress.  It kind of made me feel better to think I’m not alone. That actually most of us are dealing with some form of crap in our lives and that we may seem “fine” outwardly (the word “fine” mostly means we’re “not fine”) but inwardly there is a battle with ourselves.

I feel like locking myself away right now, things seem overwhelming and I’m putting stuff off because it all feels too big.  I have a really long list of work things that I need to get done, but I am in full on procrastination mode as I just don’t have the energy or confidence to get started.  But I’m trying hard to fight against this and I’m making myself spend time with great friends.  It’s important to me that I don’t retreat into myself, mainly because I’m scared of what is in there. I’m scared that if I sink in that hole, I may not surface again.

As discussed before on my blog, I do have control issues and I think I’m forcing myself to keep control. I’m making myself go out, see friends, be open, laugh more. I’m making myself trust. Trust that I have the love and support of so many awesome people and I need to respect them by letting them in and believing they will be there for me. In the way that I would (and have) been there for them.  I have made myself go out and see friends or have them over for dinner three times this week, each time I wanted to cancel as I just felt so anxious but I am so glad I did as being around awesome people can only make you feel better!

I heard a quote that said:

those who mind quote

I remember this when I am feeling sad and unable to talk to friends.  “Those who mind, don’t matter, those who matter, don’t mind”  But anxiety isn’t logical is it? Despite knowing that I have some wonderful support around me, the mean, sad voice in my head tells me otherwise.

Chronic illness is a right fucker.  It is never ending and that realisation that this is life long is pretty soul destroying.  I worry that I am a constant burden to the people I love the most, and I worry that they will get fed up of me and want to walk away.  I hate the idea of being a burden and I do worry that the time will come when it all gets too much for others, especially my husband Timm.  He tells me that this won’t happen, that he will always be there for me, but I feel so sad that his life is overtaken by my illness.

My default setting is to try and find the positive and make things better, and so I think I struggle when I have an illogical emotional response and feel sad.  Though I get that it is ok to be stressed out and down in my current circumstances, my usual reaction isn’t working and I can’t shake this sadness.  And that is tough.

Thank you so much to you all for reading and for the lovely messages I have received in the past few weeks.

I don’t find it easy to write this stuff and so I do appreciate your acceptance of me whether I am shiny, giddy Sam or slow, quiet Sam.



Just thought I’d do a quick update as I’m getting so many lovely messages asking how I’m doing. 

I saw my consultant Mr Brown today, he did pouchoscopy and is happy that my pouch looks healthy! So the meds last week must have done the job. 

With regards to the prolapse, he had a look and agrees there is a definite prolapse in my vagina and has referred me to a gynae doctor to get it sorted. 

The pouchoscopy was fine. I was so nervous before my first one but just want to assure those who may be facing it that it was much easier than any colonoscopy I had with a colon!  They use a much smaller camera and it’s quicker and far less uncomfortable.  I felt no need for the sedation and though there’s discomfort in the air they pump through, the procedure itself is much easier.


The staff were lovely, they’re kind and reassuring. I told the staff nurse about my blog and he asked I would be writing about today. He asked for a name check if I were going to be nice and I feel terrible that I forgot his name already!! (*waves hi if he’s reading!) But the staff at Northern General endoscopy unit are all fantastic and make an embarrassing procedure a lot easier to deal with.  So huge thanks to them all. 

Thanks also to my mum for taking me and bringing me home as Timm was teaching today so couldn’t be my usual hospital buddy. 

I’m still feeling quite emotional, the prolapse thing has really thrown me and my head’s all over the place.  It was good to see my regular doctor, Mr Brown, he is so lovely and you know you’re not just a name to him. He saw my tension and said I looked upset and not my usual self. It meant a lot to know that he notices these things and actually cares. 

After my last post, I was very nervous about what sort of response I would get. I was scared I’d overshared. But your messages have made me weep. Those of support and those of thanks and gratitude that I had spoken out about something that had affected them too. Those messages make everything worthwhile, to know I’m helping others gives me the strength to keep writing.  So thank you all, you wonderful readers that give me your time, your thoughts and your support. You’re all awesome. 

I’m writing this tonight, unable to settle, I’ve some tummy pain after the pouchoscopy but also with a head swirling with thoughts.  Many are dark thoughts, but I’m blowing them away with the strength of a child blowing out their birthday candles, and the wish I’m making is for the strength to get over this blip, for the courage to keep fighting and for the continued support of this worldwide gang of bad asses! 

So I have little news, I’m waiting for the appointment with the gynae team and we’ll go from there. I did have one thought though that made me giggle… 



Well you have to find the funny somewhere, eh?!
Sam X 

I think I’ve found a topic even I feel shy in talking about… 

Type. Delete. Type. Delete. Draft. Scrap. Write. Burn laptop and bury remains in the woods.

I’m struggling at the minute with something that even I, Poo Lady Sam, am finding it hard to talk about.  I’ve shared with you all every high and low of my illness journey in the past two years, from shitting myself to surgery, tears to joy, complications and photos of my intestines!

So why is it that I can’t bring myself to talk about what I’m going through right now?

The truth is that I have a vaginal prolapse. My intestines and pouch are pushing against my vaginal wall from the inside and I am struggling with a rectocele.

This is really uncomfortable, makes toilet trips very difficult and hardest of all, I am so desperately embarrassed and sad about it all.

Why this complication feels SO MUCH WORSE than anything to do with my IBD I have no idea.  I suppose it’s because your fanny is so private, that it’s the centre of your womanhood, that the connotations around a less that perfect vag-j-j are humiliating and hurtful.

Perhaps it’s because we are taught to not speak about our genitals? Perhaps I am worried people will laugh? Maybe I’m concerned this is too private to talk about on a blog?

Even as I write this, I am very unsure of whether I’ll hit ‘post’.  But like every other medical ordeal in the past few years, I thought that the act of writing this could be cathartic, whether I share it or not.

When I say the word ‘prolapse’ out loud, I cry.  I get a lump in my throat and tears spring into my eyes. I feel shame burning across my chest and making my cheeks glow fiercely.

I’m in pain. It hurts, this dragging back ache and a psychological terror that everything will fall out.  Going to the loo is stressful, upsetting and scary.

But worse than all of that is this feeling inside like a small black hole that’s slowly absorbing any good feelings. It’s making the colour drain from life, sucking at happiness. I can’t think how I can cope with this setback, I’m scared.  It doesn’t feel fair. I’ve had my bad luck, surely I get a break now?!

I am trying hard to maintain a jolly personality and ensure that from the outside, everything is ok. I can sense, and I think others can too, that it’s all a bit forced, that my laugh doesn’t ring quite true, that my voice is a little too loud and my smile not very genuine.  I just can’t bring myself to admit to others that I am struggling as I don’t want to talk about my broken fanny!

And this is me! Bloody hell I talk about some of the most embarrassing conditions known to man! I go in the newspapers and on TV and talk about my arse!!!! Jeez, it’s ridiculous that this is throwing me so much.  I keep reading this post in my drafts and adding to it, all the while very much doubting my ability to send it out to the whole world.

As I read up on the problem, I see the nhs suggesting that often they will leave the issue if it’s not severe. This upsets me as I wonder what their levels of severity are?  Right now this is all I can think about. It always feels like there’s something in my vagina, it’s painful in my groin, I spend my evenings with a hot water bottle inbetween my legs!! I also can’t use the toilet very well, having a Jpouch means that on a good day, I poo 5 or 6 times and I currently have pouchitis so I’m going a lot more and I’m feeling very poorly.  So this added problem is firstly making me too scared to go and secondly taking so much time.

I don’t want more surgery. I’ve had 3 in 2 years! But I also don’t want to have this become my life.  I’m developing this intense fear of anything to do with inside my knickers!  The idea of using the toilet is too much to bear, so anything else is just a million miles away.

The thing that makes me want to share this post is that I have learnt that it is a complication that many women are dealing with, some due to IBD and the Jpouch and others due to childbirth, illness, cancer etc and I’m fairly confident many of them feel this embarrassment and shame that I’m experiencing.  So maybe I need to be brave for them in the way I stood up and was brave for those with IBD?

I’ve seen my consultant and I’m back on Tuesday for him to do a scope in my pouch and he’ll also see what’s going on in the front too. So hopefully will have more answers soon.

Till then I am trying to freeze and shrink that swirling vortex of doom that is this mental black hole. Trying to paste on a smile, get through each day and not let this sadness take hold.


Pouchitis again

Sorry I’m not about much right now, I’m getting over another bout of pouchitis and its knocked me quite a lot.

Pouchitis is when an internal pouch becomes inflamed. It is a common complication in people with an ileo-anal pouch or continent ileostomy.

Symptoms of pouchitis include:

diarrhoea, which is often bloody

abdominal pains

stomach cramps

a high temperature.

So after a trip to the hospital, I’m on a course of antibiotics called Ciprofloxacin that are definitely helping with the symptoms but are making me very dizzy and nauseous too. I’m also taking fluconazole to counteract against the dreaded thrush that I get with any antibiotics now.

I’m back at hospital on Tuesday for a scope and to reassess whether to keep going with the meds.

Sorry this is so brief but I’m struggling to put sentences together right now!
Sam X

World Ostomy Day

Today is World Ostomy Day! This is like my poo lady Christmas!

When I had my surgery, I never thought I would be celebrating my Ostomy but as I have learnt to accept my illness, I can recognise that my Ostomy was the start of a new life for me. It is a different life to the one I imagined but my ostomy has had so many positive effects on my life.

Writing about ostomies, jpouches, IBD and invisible disabilities is an honour and a privilege and I have heard so many stories both of struggle and of overcoming adversity.

Today lets celebrate our ostomies whether we still have them or not!  I now have a jpouch and so no longer have my ostomy but I loved my stoma that helped my body come through ulcerative colitis.

Having your body change so massively can be a huge challenge, both physically, emotionally and mentally.  It can be a very isolating experience and so talking out about life with an Ostomy is so important to help others.  I speak out in the hope that people following in my path will have a slightly easier time.

If you need support or help, here are a list of amazing people that I would highly recommend.

Colostomy Association

IA Support

Crohns and Colitis UK

Feel free to share my World Ostomy Day images with links to www.sobadass.me or make your own pictures to share and celebrate!


Sam x