Dehydration and your stoma

As we are having a bit of an Easter heat wave, it’s more important than ever to talk about dehydration.

The NHS says:

Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it isn’t treated it can get worse and become a serious problem.
Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:

  • feeling thirsty
  • dark yellow and strong smelling pee
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling tired
  • dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day

 

Its bad news for anyone but if you have an ostomy, it’s far easier to get dehydrated than someone with all their intestines because the large intestine plays an important role in helping absorb water from food waste.

Severe dehydration can be life threatening, and any dehydration can make you feel poorly causing tiredness, a feeling of sluggishness and more.  If your output loosens and you find you are emptying your bag more frequently then it’s worth upping your fluid intake.

Dehydration and your stoma

The NHS also say:

With an ileostomy, you will be losing more salt and fluid. This happens because your colon is not being used and therefore is not absorbing extra fluid. You will need to include a teaspoon of salt a day into your diet. Salt is an essential requirement for your body and low levels of sodium (the main ingredient in salt) can affect how well your heart works. Signs of salt depletion are tingling in the fingers.

If you are also a renal patient, you will need to discuss your salt intake in more detail with your Renal Nurse Specialist, as your salt and fluid requirements may be different.

You will need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. The recommended amount is 2-2.5 litres per day (a minimum of 8 cups per day). If you are becoming dehydrated it can generally make you feel very unwell.

We recommend that you have isotonic drinks, which are higher in salt and sugar. Isotonic fluids are better for you because of the higher sodium (salt) and glucose content. They encourage fluid to be absorbed into your gut, rather than passing straight through into your stoma bag.

These types of drinks include Dioralyte (which you can buy from supermarkets and chemists) and Lucozade Sport or Powerade, or you can make up your own rehydration drink using:
• glucose – 6 flat teaspoons
• salt (sodium chloride) – 1 flat teaspoon
• sodium bicarbonate/citrate – 1⁄2 teaspoon • make up to 1 litre with tap water.
You can flavour this with small amounts of fruit juice.

 

Its so important to keep on top of hydration when you have a stoma, I would say it’s one of the most important things. The make up of your body has changed and you need to readjust how you look after it. I remember after my first surgery the shock of just how thirsty I was.

My tips would be to have a bottle and sip through the day. I always drink sugar free squash and water as I find water alone goes straight through me. I also take a jug to bed with me as I know I get so thirsty in the night.

Rehydration sachets are not just for when you’re ill! I have them in all the time, I have one in my handbag for emergencies and they’re part of my ostomy kit.

Theyre my go to solution if I feel more tired than usual or if I have loose output, if I have any alcohol, I have one before bed and one in the morning and I highly recommend getting some in! I like the ORS tablets available from chemists and supermarkets.

When the temperature rises either at home or if you’re off on your holidays, then be very mindful of dehydration.

And as always, I can’t give medical advice so if I’m doubt, speak to a medical professional.

 

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xx

 

 

The best mental breakdown I ever had…

Five years ago, I was preparing for j pouch surgery, I had a date booked in (ironically 30th April which is the date of my next surgery!) and I was mentally preparing myself for a big operation. When suddenly it was postponed by 6 weeks and all that emotion and adrenaline bottomed out and I was left utterly devastated.

I was so wound up readying myself for this huge surgery and when the plans changed it really knocked me and was a mess. I was crying and shaky, I couldn’t sort my head out and it was all a bit much. So I decided to run away from home! 

I spoke to my aunt and uncle in Spain and booked flights to go have a week with them on my own to try to sort my head out. It was such a difficult time and I was overwhelmed by everything, the pain, the fear of surgery, the unknown were just all too much and I went into shutdown.

traveling with a stoma

A week of sun, relaxing and time out was just what I needed and my family were so lovely to allow me to come stay with them when I was so down in the dumps.

“Just so you know” my aunty added “the boys will be here too!”

The boys are my cousins and I was thrilled that I’d be able to see them.

“And do you remember J from primary school? He is coming with his girlfriend and her daughter!”

Oh. I thought. That’s a lot of people. People I don’t know. And another woman. A stranger woman who might judge me. How can I have a mental breakdown in the sun with a strange woman watching me?!

Then I met her. Wrighty. And instantly fell in love.

Sam Cleasby

Five years ago because of having a total breakdown and running away from home, I met one of the kindest, funniest, rudest, silliest, most loving women and gained a new friend for life.

She is so open and generous, kind and caring and has an awfully sick sense of humour that makes me cackle. I feel so honoured and blessed to have her in my life.

The break was just what I needed, I came home feeling refreshed, positive and ready to face the surgery.

Over the years I have told Wrighty that I was dreading meeting her, that I couldn’t bear the thought of a strange woman being there in my lowest ebbs. And funnily enough she said that she thought ‘oh great! Some random cousin awaiting surgery! What a laugh this is going to be on our holiday!’

But we met and instantly connected, sometimes you meet someone and know immediately that you’re meant to be friends, and I knew from the very first evening I met her that we are meant to be in each others lives.

Though our friendship was so new, it felt like we’d known eachother a lifetime. She visited me in hospital weeks later, helped me, Timm and the kids out and was there in the dark times of recovery when I just needed someone to cry at.

And over the past five years, we’ve become firm friends. I’ve learnt so much from her, she’s so open with her love (that sounds weird) in that she is a very touchy feely person (I’m not making this better am I?) She made me realise how important it is to tell and show your friends that you love them and just how I probably had these walls up before that didn’t allow me to show my love so openly.

We’ve both faced good times and bad over the years and I just hope that I have been there for her as much as she’s been there for me.

It’s not often that you meet someone who you connect with so intensely, so when you do, hold it tight because that is bloody special.

Thank you Wrighty for being my friend.

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xx

Do you remember when you learnt fat=bad?

Though nowadays we hear that social media, marketing, films and TV are putting more pressure than ever on people to feel they have to look a certain way, we also are in a time when there are many voices standing up for body confidence which was something very lacking as I was growing up.

I was born in 1981 and so was a teenager in the era of Kate Moss, heroin chic and waifs. But I remember vividly the first time I realised that society equates fat with being bad.

And ironically enough it was a story about Princess Diana, someone who later we found out battled eating disorders and was also considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world by many, that first made me go on a diet and feel rubbish about myself.

It was 1996 and photos came out in the tabloid press of Diana leaving the Harbour Club fitness centre in London wearing shorts and the story said she had cellulite on her thighs. One newspaper called her Princess Lumpy Legs. Wow, just wow.

It was literally front page fodder and was on the tv news, everyone was discussing it. So much so that the princess denied she had cellulite publicly saying the dimples on her thighs were imprints from a bar stool she had been sitting on for some time before leaving the club.

Several tabloids then actually hired models and attempted to re-create the photographs to prove or disprove whether the bar stool could cause these marks.

I’d never even heard of cellulite before this, but suddenly it was all anyone could talk about. I remember seeing girls at school squeezing the flesh on their thighs to check if they had it and thinking to myself that it must be a horrific thing to get it if the worlds most photographed woman had to speak out and deny it.

It was probably the first time I really started judging my body, I was 15 and very skinny but these stories told me that even the slim Princess could have cellulite and be totally shamed around the world for it, so what hope did I have?

In the weeks after, every newspaper, magazine and tv show was all about what diets and exercise you should do to avoid this dreaded scourge of cellulite and I took it all in. I went on my first diet and starting buying fitness videos, I never had an eating disorder but the story really affected me and changed the way I viewed not only myself but other women and I dieted for the next 20 years.

Nowadays I have learned to love my body, whatever size or shape it is. I’ve been very slim and currently due to two hernias and extreme pain stopping me from even walking very far, let alone exercising, I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m not actually happy with my weight and shape right now, but that’s down to feeling out of control and weak not the weight itself.

After surgery I will be working on getting strong, but none of this is for anyone else nor any other reason than I want to feel strength in my body, I am so looking forward to getting back out and walking my dogs, in dancing in bars and my kitchen, in swimming and kayaking and gardening and just being a happy, active me! I have no aims to lose a certain amount of weight or to look a certain way, I just want to feel strong and like me again and I know I can feel that at a size 10 or a size 18.

sam cleasby ileostomy colostomy bag blogger body positive so bad ass

I have learnt that fat does not equal bad or ugly or shame, it’s only hateful and hurtful words that make us feel those emotions. I have learnt that my body is beautiful and wondrous and my wobbly bits, my cellulite, my scars and my ostomy bag are all part of that. I’m beautiful because of those things, not despite them.

So though social media does expose us to so many more negative images and stories, I’m glad we live in an age where we hear the positive stories too. Where we can see women of all shapes and sizes looking fabulous and telling their stories of self love.

I saw this photo of Jameela Jamil in her Instagram this week showing her cellulite and it made me reflect on how differently that image was accepted compared to the photos of Diana and it makes me feel like things are changing and it is becoming easier to love your body, however it looks.

I’d love to hear your stories, do you remember a time when a news story changed the way you feel about your body?

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xx

 

Handover documents for life

I’m due to have a big surgery on 30th April and I’ve been told I will need 2-3months off work, obviously this is pretty stressful and I’ve been spending time creating my handover document to give to my manager and colleagues so my work will still go on whilst I’m off.

Writing all this down has actually reduced my stress levels, I’d been feeling pretty upset as I love my job and a big part of it is managing volunteers. The thought of my volunteers not getting support was getting to me but writing all the tasks down on paper made me realise that it will be fine and other people will be there to do the jobs I can’t.

And so I started to write a handover document for home! Not that my husband is stupid and can’t do all the household chores but I thought it would reduce my worries of how life is going to continue with me in hospital for two weeks and then laid up in bed  recovering.

Its nothing mind blowing, but the jobs I do that Timm and the kids don’t. Cleaning the condenser on the tumble dryer, cleaning the oven, things in the allotment. Also things like doctors and dentist appointments, kids plans with friends, house and family tasks.

But it got me thinking about what advice and guidance we leave behind when we die. (Sorry, that got morbid quickly!!!)

What words of wisdom, what thoughts and hopes and dreams, what would you want your loved ones to know if you died suddenly? What would your handover document for life be? Here’s mine.

Success is not how much money you have in the bank; success is living a happy and fulfilled life surrounded by people you love and who love you.

Time is so valuable, so spend your time with the people who make you happy, doing the things that bring you joy. It’s so easy to lose hours, days, weeks on things that aren’t joyful, some things we just have to suck up and get through, I don’t find joy in cleaning the loo but I am happier in a clean home. But the time you do have, use it wisely.

Make the time for the things that make you happy, this is about those day to day events that make you relaxed and happy, for me it’s dinner with friends, reading, gardening, sewing, my kids, my husband, watching a movie with someone I love.  I know work is important but it’s not more important than friends and family.

Be kind. Kindness is the most powerful thing in the world. Give love, kindness and care to those around you. Not just people you know but to strangers. Try and think the best of others rather than falling into negative assumptions. Think about other people, their needs, their struggles and if you can help, help.

If something or someone makes you smile, tell them. Tell your colleague how great you think they are, tell that stranger on the train that you love their boots, tell your kids they are awesome, tell your partner you appreciate  them, tell your friend how special they are to you.

Travel as much as you can. Going to new places broadens your mind, opens you up to new opportunities and teaches you more than you can ever know. This doesn’t have to be far flung destinations (though I do love visiting new countries!) but it could be your own country, even your own city!

When you get into an argument with your partner, remember that you have the same goal, to resolve it and be happy. Even if you have totally opposing views, even when you both feel hurt, what you both want is for the argument to end and for things to be sorted. It’s easy to fall into negativity and wanting to be right, to “win”, even if this means you say something hurtful. Stop, breathe and think before you speak. Words hurt and are hard to take back.

If you stand for nothing, what’ll you fall for? Stand up for things that are important to you and for people who need your support. If you have privilege then use it to stand alongside those who don’t. Stand up against racism, sexism, hate and oppression.

Tell the people you love that you love them. You may think that they know you love them and they probably do! But give it a voice, tell your kids you love them every day. Don’t forget about your friends! Think about how nice it feels to be told you are loved and give that gift to someone else.

Make sure your partner knows that they are the most important and brilliant person in your life. It’s easy to take the people closest to you for granted, but let them know how much you love them.

Listen to music, read books, go to the theatre, go see some art. Creativity is what sets us apart from animals and it brings so much joy.

Follow your heart, is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Maybe you think it’s daft, beyond your reach or even have been told you’ll never be able to do it. Give it a go! I was told by my English teacher that I’d never be a writer, that people like me can’t write, yet here I am with a blog that’s been read over 3 million times! Ok, I’ve never written a book yet, but I’m going to keep trying!

Get outdoors. Nature, fresh air and being outdoors is so beneficial for your physical and mental health. Get outside whenever you can.

Be silly. Don’t be so serious, enjoy the ridiculous things in life. Laugh, giggle, sing, dance, do whatever makes you smile.

If you are struggling, reach out and ask for help. When times are hard don’t be afraid to ask for support, whether that’s friends and family or a doctor, support service or charity. Don’t suffer alone.

Whether it’s physical health or mental health, when you’re facing challenges it can be so tough. Over the past 6 years I have dealt with so many surgeries, so much pain, depression, anxiety and feeling totally overwhelmed and that it was all too much. I understand how hard it can be. But I also know that going through life challenges has also changed me in so many good ways and has made me a kinder, tougher, more empathetic person. Whatever life throws at you, learn from it and use it.

Be the best person you can be, life is short and we never know what is around the corner, so make your life the best it can be, do the things that make you happy, be kind, show love, try your hardest and find the joy no matter how difficult.

If you had a handover document for life, what would it be?

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xx

 

When do morals matter more than money?

You may have seen the queen that is Jameela Jamil calling out the Kardashian’s and other celebrities for their promotion of weight loss products such as appetite-suppressant lollipops,meal-replacement shakes or “cleansing” teas that act as a laxative. Also her satirical video.

In response to Khloé’s promotion of Flat Tummy shakes, Jameela said “If you’re too irresponsible to: (a) own up to the fact that you have a personal trainer, nutritionist, probable chef, and a surgeon to achieve your aesthetic, rather than this laxative product…and (b) tell them the side effects of this NON-FDA approved product, that most doctors are saying aren’t healthy…then I guess I have to.”

Kim has said regarding her Instagram adverts “If there is work that is really easy that doesn’t take away from our kids, that’s, like, a huge priority. If someone was faced with the same job opportunities, I think they would maybe consider.”

No. Just no.

I’m a working mother living with chronic illness, I’ve got one kid going off to uni this year and a 14 and 16 year old who are all bloody expensive! If I can get work that is easy and doesn’t take me away from my kids then hell yes I’m going to consider it!!

But despite the fact that my families need for financial security is far more intense that the multi millionaire Kardashian’s, morals come first every single time.

If you are a blogger, an influencer, a public speaker, someone who has a following then you have a responsibility to use that privilege with care, sensitivity, thought and love. You have a responsibility to put your followers health before your own bank statements.

I have been offered money to advertise so many things; Diet shakes, miracle IBD cures, weight loss fads and more. Money that would make my family more financially secure, money that would cover the loss of earnings of having 8 surgeries in 5 years, money that would relieve some of the stresses of having to reduce my work hours because my body can’t keep up with the physical strain.

Ive been offered money by companies that may well believe in their claims that their products can reduce symptoms of IBD, but until I see doctors telling me that these things are safe, that they work and having the knowledge that they aren’t just out to make money from desperate patients, I ain’t going to advertise it!

I run this blog because I care deeply about raising awareness of chronic illness and disability issues, because I love sharing my story in the hope of making just one person feel less isolated. And I do it for free and out of my own pocket.

I do take adverts, but each request is only taken if I truly believe in the company and can find proof that they are decent businesses providing something that I know at least some of my followers will have an interest in.

If you take into consideration the hours and money I put into this blog and the So Bad Ass social media, I run at a loss. This blog will always be free to access, I always want the support offered to be available to as many as possible and yes, I am trying to think of ways to bring in some revenue so I can keep it going.

You may notice I don’t have many ads, this is because I’m so careful at what and who I will advertise here because my blog matters to me, it’s my baby. And my readers deserve the best.

So forgive me for not shedding a tear for a multi millionaire who chooses to promote potentially dangerous and certainly questionable weight loss products to their audience because it’s easy money.

When do morals matter more than money in blogging and social media?

Every. Fucking. Time.

 

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xxx