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What to do when bad things happen

When bad things happen it is so easy to get into a spiral of feeling down, whether its something big like illness, relationship troubles or a relatively minor thing like your car won’t start or your best top gets boil washed and comes out small enough for a Barbie…

Feelings of sorrow, sadness, anger and frustration are normal but are they helpful?  Focusing on the things that are going wrong in your life feeds the negativity.  Try to focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.

Here are 10 things to do when bad things happen.  Will they make everything better? Probably not, but will they make YOU feel better in that moment, I hope so.

1. Remember that you aren’t alone

Whatever your issue, you are not alone.  The internet is a big place and there will always be someone else going through or come through what you are.  I blog about my illness so much because when I was sick it helped me to read other peoples experiences.  It gave me practical tips and ideas on how I could manage but it stopped me feeling quite so alone.

Talk to family and friends if you can, but if not there is a whole world of support waiting for you online if you just look.  Asking for help is not failing, it is being sensible and accepting when you need a hand.

My one caveat to this is that forums can be depressing… people like to write about the bad times but are less likely to write about positive experiences, so if you feel that reading a forum is not helping just switch that shit off!

2 Take a deep breath

I would have titled this ‘Meditate’ or ‘Practice Mindfulness’ but those words turn off some people, they thing its hippyish or a bit silly.  The reality is that focusing solely on your breathing clears your mind.  Close your eyes and think about your in breath and your out breath.  Are you breathing through your nose or mouth? Control your breathing, inhaling slowly and the gently release that breath…

This simple act WILL calm you down.  I try to do this a couple of times a day, I find it really focuses my thoughts and makes my day calmer.

stoma ileostomy photo shoot woman beauty

3 Knowledge is Power

I really believe that knowledge is power, it gives you control and allows to to make informed choices and rational decisions. If you feel out of control, everything seems worse.  Google it.  Go to the library.  Ask someone.  But learn about what it is you are going through.

4. Be kind to yourself

When life slaps you in the face you need to be kind to yourself.  What makes you feel better? Is it a night out with the girls or a movie in with the kids? Do the thing that relaxes you and makes you feel good, whether that is cooking an amazing meal for yourself, going to the library and hiding there reading all afternoon, a deep bath with oils and bubbles or a pamper of painting your nails or having a facial.

I don’t know what makes you feel better, you do, so do it.

5. Hide away

Its ok to feel you need to hide away, as long as its only temporary.  When things are bad I like to make myself a nest of cushions and duvets, I bring a picnic of foods to the nest that are easy to eat and need no cooking.  I climb into my nest with a remote and watch films or tv series… I love Netflix (my friends laugh at me, because I talk about it a lot!) My hideaway means slobbing in a corner and allowing myself to switch off.

6. Things will get better

I saw this quote that said “Everything is ok in the end, if its not ok, then its not the end”  Perhaps things won’t get better in the way you think they should but even the darkest night has a sunrise.  Be open to new experiences, be positive and grateful for the things you have and things will get better.

stoma ostomy ileostomy colostomy ibd ulcerative colitis photo shoot

7 Look for the love and kindness around you

No matter what the Daily Fail wants you to think, people are generally good.  Of course there are arseholes in this life but most people have a heart filled with love and kindness if you just look for it.

Give out love and kindness to others and you will receive it back.

8 Get moving

I know its a cliche, but thats because it works.  When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body.  It is proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety, boost self esteem and improve sleep.  You don’t have to go to the gym or run a marathon, but a long walk in the woods with my dog always makes me feel a bit better about the world.

walking dog exercise for when things go wrong

9 Get organised – gain control

You might not be able to control what has happened, but you can control how you react and deal with it. Making lists or having a clear out is a physical way to help your mind feel organised.  I know that control is a big thing for me, if I feel out of control I get frustrated, angry and like Im in free fall.  Organise your space, use pinterest, get a note book, anything that helps you feel organised is going to help.

10 Know that you always have a choice.

No matter what happens, you do have a choice in how you react. Accept responsibility of your own actions, educate yourself, take a deep breath and know that you can face the worst things in the world, your reaction to them is your own doing.

EE Cummings said “remember one thing only; that it’s you – nobody else – who determines your destiny and decides your fate.  Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else”

Sam xxx

15 ways to make your life happy


happiness

1. Make your own happiness a priority.

Your happiness matters.  Everyone, but especially women tend to put other people’s happiness before our own.  We make excuses for why we neglect our needs – we are too busy, too skint, too stressed out.  If you don’t value your own happiness then no one else will.  It is entirely possible to look out for your own needs and still care about your friends and family.  If you are happy, you are more likely to spread happiness and care for those around you.

Think about what makes you happy.  Now what would make me delirious would be to wake late, eat cake, drink wine and spend the day sunbathing somewhere hot and beautiful.  Thats not realistic at this point in my life as I think my kids would have something to say about it!  But what does make me happy is blogging, making pretty things, reading, watching a good film, open fires, sauvignon blanc, walking in the woods with the dog and my family, my chickens, a good meal with awesome friends, a lie in with Timm, going dancing with my friends, a full english breakfast…  There is a LOT that makes me happy that costs little or nothing and that I make time for.  Its easy to neglect your own desires but important that you don’t.

happiness a priority

2. Spend time with people who make you happy

Who are the people you enjoy spending time with? Who make you happy, love, respect and appreciate you and who make you be a better person.  If you surround yourself with negative people then your life will be filled with negativity, and the opposite is true also, being around positive, happy people make you aspire to be positive and happy.

Sometimes we can’t help who we have to spend time with, we may have work colleagues or family members who are Debbie Downers and we have to hang out with them at times.  But in our social lives it is so important to keep awesome positive people around us.  The ones who make us laugh, who are joyous to be around.  Im not saying fill your life with Mary Poppins’, some of the people who make me happy are filthy minded, raucous and quite dark! But they are interesting and make me feel good about myself.

3. Take responsibility for your own life

This is a biggy for me, the trait I hate the most in people is refusing to take responsibility for their own lives.  People who have constant excuses for their bad behaviour, who think it is always someone or something else’s fault.  People who say “its alright for you because…”

Own your life.  Own your mistakes.  Live and learn and move on.  The world doesn’t owe you anything, you make your own path through this world.  Everyone faces hardships throughout their life but you can choose to be a martyr to your tough times or own the shit out of them and move forward a stronger person.

4. Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken

Be the best version of yourself that you can be.  Be true to yourself and be proud of the person you are.  It’s easy to compare ourselves to others, the fact is there will always be someone thinner, smarter, prettier – but honestly? Who cares?  Whatever part of yourself you admire the most, be that more.  The parts you dislike about yourself, be that less…

Be proud of your quirks and weirdness, stand tall and proud and applaud your inner awesomeness!

be yourself everyone else is taken

5. Create your own happiness

No one else can change your life and make you truly happy.  Choose positivity over negativity, smile because you can.  Choose to be happy.  Be happy with who you are right now and allow your joy to shape your present and your future.  Do the things that make you happy more often, spend time with those who bring out your smile and create your own happiness.  If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you may be waiting a long time.

6. Find the silver lining

This is a toughie.  When you are going through a really tough time it is easy to slip into feeling defeated and that life is just too hard.  We go through things in life that we think will break us, illness, bereavement, job loss, money troubles, and it can feel like there is no way to get through these times.  The truth is we are stronger than we think.

It is important to look for the silver lining even if that is only the tiniest sliver of hope.  When I was recovering from my bowel surgery and was in pain, I was feeling humiliated by leaking bags and the inability to care for myself.  During  that time I struggled to see the silver lining, but the reality of it was that I was no longer sick.  My Ulcerative Colitis was gone, ten years of illness, pain and medication were now in my past.

If there is no silver lining in your situation, for example the death of a loved one, then try to count your blessings and be grateful of the good things in your life.

When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.

7. Be kind

Be a kind person, one who is caring and thoughtful, who thinks of others and treats people with respect.  Kindness breeds kindness.  Its a simple one but so important, kindness sometimes is confused with being a doormat – this is bullshit.  You can be a strong person who has a kind and loving heart.

8. Be open

Be open, share your thoughts and feelings with the people closest to you.  If you are hurting then accept the hurt and allow yourself time to heal – let your loved ones in and be honest with them.  A problem shared is a problem halved is a great saying, the act of speaking your troubles out loud can be of as much help as any advice you can receive.  Becoming a more open person can lead to real happiness.

happiness is chickens

9. Let go of the past

Our pasts define who we are and we can learn lessons from the things we have gone through, but when your past is keeping you from moving forward it becomes a problem.  We have all had tough experiences but if you are reliving the pain of this experience again and again and it is affecting your present then it is time to let go.

Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting what has happened or pretending it didn’t happen, it means letting go of the pain and resentment that is holding you back.  This is easier in some situations than others, but be honest with yourself and if something from your past is affecting your present then it may be time to talk through those issues either with a trusted friend or family member or a trained therapist.

let go of your past

10. Take a chance

Last December my husband and I took a leap of faith, we sold our home and rented a 15th century mill to push our photography business forward.  It was a risk, but a calculated risk.  I knew that if there was a motto to live by (other than ‘If you can’t sing well, sing LOUD’) it was ‘I’d rather regret the things I did, than the things I didn’t do.  We plotted and planned, did the sums a million times and then decided to take a chance.  And it was the best thing we ever did, don’t get me wrong there have been some very tough times but throughout the year I knew we had made the right decision.

Life is not about getting a chance, it is about taking a chance.  If there is something you have always dreamed of doing, then try to make it happen.  If it works you will have achieved a goal, if it doesn’t you know you at least tried it and you WILL learn a lesson from it.

regret quotes

11. Be mindful

Live in the present, in the here and now.  It is so easy to let busy lives, technology and procrastination take over our lives, but being mindful of the things around you can bring peace and happiness into your life.  Take time to notice the things that are important in your life right now, experience life as it happens.  Don’t dwell on the past or imagine how great things could be in the future.  This moment is the only thing guaranteed to you in life, we never know what the future holds so enjoy today.

mindfulness

12. Concentrate on the things you can control, not the things you can’t

Worry and stress is a normal part of life but when your day is taken up with worrying about the things in life you cannot control it is a sign that things need to change.  Worrying about things that are beyond your control is such a waste of your time and emotional energy.

Worry affects you, not the person or situation you are worrying about.  If it is important to you and you can control the outcome and positively help a problem then great, if not then let it go.  You have enough genuine problems to face in life without upsetting yourself with things beyond your control.

13. Face your problems and make a positive change

There’s no point in burying your head in the sand, if you have a problem you need to face it head on and make a positive change as no one is going to do it for you.  The problem will not just disappear on their own without action from you, no problem is too big to overcome.  It takes acceptance from you and then a plan, no matter how small the steps you need to do little and often and move it forward.

Some problems you will be able to overcome alone with a good old fashioned list and a bit of hard work.  Others are bigger and need support from others.  There is no shame in asking for help, whether it is the help of friends, family or a professional.

14. Appreciate the things you have

Perspective.  There will always be someone better off than you and someone worse off than you.  Learn to appreciate the things you have rather than worrying about the things you don’t.  Im not saying we shouldn’t aspire to be greater than we are now, but just not to be so busy in thinking of the things you don’t have that you forget to appreciate all you do.

15. Love those around you

Appreciate and love those around you, bring joy to the people who mean the most by telling them how much they mean to you.  Since my sister moved to Australia I end all our conversations with “love you!” I didn’t do this before she left but her moving half way around the world brought out something in me that makes me want her to know how much she means to me.

This isn’t about huge grand gestures, it is about personal, meaningful acts that let your friends and family know how awesome they are.  A text message, sending a photo that you think they’ll find funny, a hug, a few words.

Love Sam xx

Four weeks post op

Wow! What a difference a month makes! Four weeks ago today I had my surgery, I had my large bowel removed in a subtotal colectomy and an end ileostomy formed.

Four weeks ago about now I was being taken to the HDU, I was covered in wires, drips and tubes. It was a scary day and a month on I think I’m still a bit in shock that it actually happened.

In the past four weeks there’s been ups and downs, good days and bad. On the good days I’m thankful that I no longer have ulcerative colitis, that Im not on any medication and that my life can begin again. On bad days I feel sorry for myself. I feel angry that this had to happen to me and sad that I have this bloody bag on me all the time.

The weekend was fantastic. Definitely good days. On Saturday my best friends Caroline and Jamie were round and we had a work day planning all the exciting things we are doing in the next year with our arts group Responsible Fishing – it felt great to be getting back to some work and then we ended the evening with food, wine, a fire and a film.

Sunday we went to my mums for dinner, my friends, Aunty and cousins joined us. Mum made her amazing curries and we had a lovely day eating, drinking and laughing. It’s my first curry since the op, so I was terrified it was going to react badly with my stoma. My mum is from Aizawl, near India and so family curry days are a big part of our lives. I can report that my stoma likes beef curry, chicken biryani and dahl!!!

My friend Corinne (aka Motherscuffer) had her baby this weekend which was huge cause for celebration! I haven’t met her newest son Arthur yet but I can’t wait to see him for a squeeze!!!

Yesterday I had trouble with my bag leaking. And then when I was trying to change it, it kept ‘going off’. There’s no muscle in my stoma and so I have no control over when output (poo to you and me) comes out. Yesterday it was bad timing on when I changed it and EVERY time I cleaned up, put on the powder and barrier and then tried to put a bag on it ‘went off’. It was really frustrating and took me 45 minutes ending in me crying and feeling very down.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m off the steroids and no longer taking the sleeping tablets. But it was the fear off leaking in bed that kept me up. Timm told me it was fine, to sleep and if anything happened he’d deal with it all. He is fab and not at all squeamish with the whole thing which really helps but every time I was about to drop off, I’d imagine I was leaking and wake up. Very frustrating as I was telling myself to sleep, that it probably wouldn’t lean but if it did, it would be all ok,but my mind just wouldn’t accept that!

I’ve seen my stoma nurse today who is helping me try different bags to get my confidence back up and to get a bag that works for me. The problem is that my stoma is very close to both my belly button and my scar, I also have changes to my skin where the scars are pulling it inwards so I have dips in my stomach.

These things mean that it’s quite awkward to fit the base plate to my skin and that I have to fill the dips with paste. This means that changing my bag is stressful and time consuming. It’s really frustrating and makes me worry about how Ill get on with it in the coming months. I’m worried about working, I run a photography company with Timm and I worry that all the pressure is on him. I just hope things will get easier.

I’m recovering really well though. My wound which is around 6 inches long that 4 weeks ago was opened up and allowed surgeons to have a good rummage around is closed and just looks like a red line with dots around it (the staples marks!) My stoma is healing really well. I’m off ALL meds which just feels amazing!! And I’m starting to get my strength and stamina back.

I still have to take it really easy, one task can mean an hours nap but its great to be back on my feet and to gain back a little independence. I still rely on Timm a lot but its nice to be able to make tea for the kids now and again or to do little things around the house and garden.

We have a few large apple trees in the garden and tonight I was out with Timm collecting all the wind falls. I did have to sit on the ground but it was fab to be getting out and doing. We have soooooo many apples so were planning a lot if apple based dishes and more excitingly cider!!!

My body has healed so well over the past four weeks and I know it’s going to get better each day now. Though I sometimes feel emotional, angry and upset I keep trying to stay positive, be mindful of all the good things in my life and look to the future.

Because four weeks ago I was cured of ulcerative colitis, the disease that rules my life for ten years. And so for that I am truly grateful.

Love Sam xx

Happiness and Optimism

I am getting a lot of emails from people who read this blog who are going through tough times, whether it be through illness, relationships or just life in general. Firstly thank you to everyone who emails or messages me, the reason I started this blog is that I wanted to help people. I wanted to give a voice to people with IBD or who are living with a stoma. To get people talking and the break the ‘poo taboo’ so it means so much to see that it is doing that. And more!

Though my blog is about life with IBD and a stoma, Im realising that many people who are reading it don’t have either, but are finding strength and inspiration through the topics I talk about. Wow! You have no idea how much that means to me. It makes my blethering into the ether of the internet feel worth it. If I can help one person, I will be the happiest person alive!

So I thought I talk about happiness. Ive said before that I think happiness is a choice. No matter what shit we are going through, no matter how dark our mood, we can all make the choice to be happy. Even if that happiness is one fleeting moment through an otherwise crappy day. I really believe that trying to be positive, looking for the silver lining and opting to smile rather than frown, laugh rather than shout makes us feel better.

happiness quotes

Sometimes that is hard. A bereavement, an illness, a divorce… Of course there are times when we feel life is against us. In those dark times, thinking of something positive can feel impossible. And feeling sad is a natural thing, we need to feel sad, to cry, to shout to deal with the situations we go through in life.

Having a moment of happiness, or gratitude, or pleasure does not take away from the gravity of whatever problems you face. But thinking positively and trying to be happy, whether it be the hug from your child, or ten minutes sitting with the sun on your face, or a phone call with a friend, or just a damn fine cup of tea can make you feel better even if it is just for a minute. In being mindful of these moments you can give yourself the choice to be happy.

happy good for health

Plate by MBart Studios

There have been many studies about happiness and optimism, and it has been found that positive emotions can undo the effects of a stressful negative experience. You can read a great article about The benefits of Optimism here.

I think we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves, we say things about ourselves that we would never say of a friend (or even foe!) If when we are feeling down about ourselves we could try just for a moment to think of the positive things about us and say them I think we could be happier. We are very British though and hate to be seen to me immodest, but screw that! What is fantastic about you? Are you kind? Are you a good friend? Are you loyal? Or brave? Or hard working? Do you do the BEST Tina Turner dancing in the world? Are you funny? – Seriously, think about the characteristics that you admire in others and ask yourself if you have them too. If you do, then celebrate that! If you don’t, think about why not.

Think about what makes you happy.

I LOVE having friends round for dinner, a bottle of red wine, the fire blazing, a great dish in the middle of the table that everyone tucks into. Sitting around the table, talking, laughing and being together.

Sitting in the garden with my eyes closed and the sun on my face. Listening to the noises around me and just being.

I really love being curled up with a book. I like to be totally snuggled with a blanket and cushions and just sink into the book.

A cuddle with my children and the smell of their neck.

A date with my husband.

Painting my nails.

A really good nap!

Listening to music. SInging loudly. Dancing wildly.

Walking the dog.

Watching a good film – we have ‘cinema night’ where we all pile on the sofa, lots of blankets – a film on, and lots of goodies to eat.

Think about the things that make you happy. Its not about money, its about the small things you can do that make you feel happy and good. Think of those things and then DO them!

Of course we all have time and money constraints but we can do one thing a day that makes us feel good. Whether it be getting up before everyone else and having a cup of coffee or wearing your favourite pair of shoes. We can do it. But it means making yourself and your happiness a priority.

You are worth it. You deserve to be happy. Make time for it.

happiness quote

So today, my mission for you if you choose to accept it, is to think of one positive thing about yourself and celebrate it. And to do one thing, no matter how small, that makes you happy.

MIne are:

I was told today by someone that I inspired them. I feel really bloody proud of myself for that.

I ventured out into my garden with a cup of coffee and sat in the sun. I had 10 minutes of just being outdoors, alone, in the quiet. Not worrying about things that need to be done. Just sat… And it was heavenly!!!

So go on, get to to it. It would be lovely to know how your mission goes, so please leave a comment.

Love Sam xx

Patience and Recovery

Its been 17 days since my surgery and Im healing well. My wound is closed and I have no pain in it, the scar is about 6 inches long and as it was stapled together I have the line and dots of a staple scar. A friend told me that after she had surgery, her doctor told her to use any sort of natural
oil, grape seed, olive etc – that you didn’t need posh bio oils or other ‘scar healing’ lotions or potions, and to massage her scar for 10 minutes a day. The motion of massage encourages healing in the scar, it improves blood circulation and increases the collagen. She showed me her scars and they were thin white lines, barely visible. So I have taken this advice and I hope it will help mine too.

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My stoma nurse visited today, she is fantastic and answered a few questions I had. I have some soreness to my skin where the ileostomy bag sticks to my skin right at the bottom, she advised that I am carefully peeling off the top of the bag when I remove it, and then pulling it off quickly at the bottom. And yep! She was totally right, that’s what i have been doing! The enemy of anyone with a stoma is sore skin. Sore skin can become open wounds very quickly, open wounds are wet and you cannot stick a bag onto wet skin. So good skin care is vital.

Im less weepy than yesterday, I think part of my problem is that I am still tapering off the steroids and they are notorious for affecting moods and emotions. Today feels more positive but I am struggling with one thing. Patience.

Im not the most patient of people at the best of times. I can’t leave christmas presents under the tree without a good squeeze. If I hear that someone is planning something as a surprise Ill pick at them trying to get clues!

Physically I am healing well. I am still taking painkillers regularly but everything is going to plan. Im well on the road to recovery. Im doing slightly more each day, this week I had the trip shopping and last night we went out to dinner for my son’s birthday. But I feel it when I do more, I tire very quickly and feel the pain more. When I lay down at night, I ache. Im walking well now and working on my posture as I have been stooped for weeks in protection of my stomach.

But now I can do more, it is very difficult to have patience with my body. I know I have to take it really slowly, that doing too much will hinder my overall recovery and could cause problems but Im struggling!! Timm won’t let me lift a finger, he’s still doing all the cooking, cleaning, school runs plus running our business so I feel bad in not being able to help him. He tells me off and just wants me to have the proper rest and recovery. Its nice to be looked after but quite difficult to accept. Im so used to doing everything for myself so it takes a big shift in mindset to look after myself first and allow others to help.

So I try to be patient. I know I need to put trust in my body and give it time to heal and get used to the huge changes that have been made to it. Im grateful and happy that it is doing this so well! I have had no complications and everything is healing well. My stoma is functioning really well and the pain is lessening. I find that the time between painkillers is lengthening slightly. Im not watching the clock to see when I can have more which is an improvement! The body is a bloody clever thing and mine is doing a great job.

I want to get back to work as soon as I can. I run our family photography business with Timm (go check us out – The Picture Foundry) and also work with arts group Responsible Fishing and we have really exciting projects coming up, so Im looking forward to getting back in the saddle. Weirdly, I also want to do some house work – I can’t even believe Im saying that!!! Timm is doing a great job, but you know what its like, no one can do things just as you do (nor do I expect them to!!)

I really want to walk our dog Lola. I want to do some gardening. I want to sand down the piano and paint it. I want to go to the pub with friends. I want to sort out my whole wardrobe. And make all the craft projects I ever put on pinterest. I want to go pick all the apples on the trees in the garden. I want to go on a bike ride. I want to be well enough to be at my friend Corinnes birth. I really want that. I want to drive. I want to visit friends.

Patience. It’s a virtue right?

 

patience

 

I will be patient. I have to be because I need to allow myself to heal and not do anything that could set me back.

So Im doing nice things whilst I recover. I watch a lot of films on netflix, Im watching a lot of TED talks (TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design) I watch a lot of documentaries. I thought if Im sat in front of the box I can at least be learning new stuff!!

I am knitting. Im a crap knitter, I can knit squares. So Im knitting a LOT of squares that will eventually be sewn together to make a blanket.

Im reading. Im a big reader anyway but my concentration levels have been really low for a while, its nice now to be able to read more than one sentence (over and over again!) I was bought a book called The House of Leaves over ten years ago and got a third of the way through it before giving up. Its a very difficult read requiring you to flip back and forward and read things out of sync. My good friend James has just started it and has inspired me to try again with it… If you fancy reading it you can get it on Amazon.

Im blogging. Obviously as you are reading. It feels good to blog, its very cathartic for me and I can’t believe how many people are reading! Since I started in July Ive had over 10,000 views of this site – bloody hell chaps!!! Thank you!! From the bottom of my heart thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you.

Im planning our trip to Australia!!! This is a fab one. We are going to Australia via Vietnam to visit my sister, brother in law and niece in December this year, its the most exciting thing!! I was so worried about the trip before my surgery, nervous that I would have a flare up and ruin the trip, that we wouldn’t be able to do the things we wanted to do as I would be ill and need to be close to a loo. So now I have the bag, its exciting!!! There is no reason I can’t do anything everyone else can do. The only thing I need to think about it making sure I take enough bags and products that I need.

I meditate. Now don’t laugh!!! Im not ommmmming away in a corner, but I am spending ten minutes to sit and close my eyes, relax and partake in a bit of mindfulness. Its ten minutes of quiet. Ten minutes of feeling myself grounded, concentrating on my breathing and clearing my mind of everything. It makes me feel centred and calm. So don’t mock – try it… You might like it.

And I try to be patient.

Love Sam xx

Be kind to yourself

Today I need to remind myself of this.

 

kind quotes

 

I woke feeling unsettled, I didn’t sleep well again. Im still tapering off the steroids so have awful insomnia, Im still on the sleeping tablets that I have been on since June.

Its my son’s birthday today, so we got up early and Timm made birthday pancakes. Charlie opened his presents and we had a lovely morning together.

Timm took all the kids to school and I was changing my bag. My mind wasn’t quite on the job and I left the dry wipes on one side of the bedroom whilst I took off my bag, Timm came in just in time to get the wipes and crisis was averted. Such a non event. But it hit me hard and I had a big cry.

Such a silly thing. Nothing at all really!

Ive been so good at keeping positive and then one distracted decision makes me weep?! Blimey!

So Im reminding myself now. Be kind to yourself.

Im being kind to myself by chilling out today, I have surrounded myself on the sofa with cook books as I feel like baking as soon as Im up to it. I have my knitting out (Im knitting the only thing I can, squares, that will be eventually sewn into one huge blanket) I have blankets on and the fire is lit. For lunch Im going comfort food all the way with cheese toasties and soup. Im going to put on gorgeous expensive hand cream, a present from my lovely friends. Im going to paint my nails. Im going to drink hot ribena.

Tonight we are going for a family meal for Charlie’s birthday. I kind of did a bit too much yesterday in going out and feel exhausted and have some pain so its really important that I relax today so this evening goes off without a hitch!

As you are reading this now, I want you to remember how important it is to be kind to yourself.

Do one thing today to be kind to yourself, no matter how small…

Im not kidding… Go do it now!

 

Love Sam xx

 

Self Pity Vs Staying Positive

I think in general I am a fairly positive person. I really try not to wallow in self pity and I always try and find the silver lining. Not always of course, but on the whole I really try.

I’m struggling at the moment. I want to shout and scream like a toddler. I want to bang my hands and feet on the floor and get all Chinese crying baby. I want to say ‘ITS NOT FAIR!’

self pity

I feel like I’m a fairly decent chap, I’m kind and caring and I love my friends and family. I try hard to be a good person, I think of others before myself and I try to put more niceness into the world than badness. So it’s hard when I feel like I’m getting dealt a shitty hand! If I believed in a God if be thinking that he had something against me right now!!!!

Part of me would find it so easy to sink into self pity. Part of me wants to lay in bed with my curtains closed, Alanis Morrissette on full blast, a bottle of red wine and a box of tissues… Crying, weeping, wailing. A good chunk of drama, hand to forehead, perhaps some swooning.

But you know what? Logically I know that’s not going to help ANYTHING! It won’t make me feel better. It won’t stop me being in pain. It won’t take away my stoma, it won’t heal my body from surgery. It won’t bring back my doggy.

It won’t stop me feeling sad. It won’t stop this deep grief inside. I’m grieving Elvis. But I’m also grieving my bowel – that’s an odd one!!! I’m grieving a ‘normal’ life without a bag.

So I make a choice. Every day I make a choice that however this day goes, I’m going to try to deal with it positively.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments. When I’m sad I will have a cry and a bug cuddle with Timm. We talk a LOT. About how I’m feeling, how Timm is feeling. About how I am physically, mentally and emotionally and that helps so much.

I’m not suggesting I’m a bundle of sunshine!! I think it’s really important that I talk about the negative things as well as the positive. This blog is helping me so much to be able to pour my emotions onto the page.

But I think the most important part of my recovery is going to be an emotional one. So I try. Every day I try to stay positive. To be mindful. To think of the good things in my life. To stay centred. To take ten minutes to meditate (yes really!!!!). To appreciate. To be grateful. To love. And to be loved.

Being happy is an option. No matter how shit life may seem, whatever is thrown at you. You can make the decision to try to be happy. Take control of whatever you can, no matter how small. I’ve realised control is quite important to me, I realised that when I lost it and suddenly was post op in a hospital and couldn’t move, couldn’t clean myself or do anything. But I can control how I react to it. So I try to realise that though I have had to rely on other in the last two weeks to do things that I wish I could do myself, that Blimey, aren’t I lucky to have people around me who are willing to help me!!!

positivity

I can’t control that Elvis, my awesome dog has died. So suddenly he is just gone!! I feel in shock. Timm has been to get his body from our neighbours and Ive had a few minutes with him this morning. He looks perfect, there is not a mark on him. If you don’t have pets, you may not understand just how heartbreaking it is to lose an animal. He was part of my family and we all loved him so much. I miss him. He has been by my side since I left hospital, I think he did know that I was in pain (either that or he was just enjoying the warmth and my allowing him in my bed!!) I feel like its so unfair that he is gone, and for it to happen now when Im already dealing with so much bloody sucks.

Its hard to find any positivity in the situation because there isn’t any. But I can make a choice, I can cry and say its not fair (and I have done that for a while!!) or I can cuddle my children and encourage them to talk about all the things we loved about him. About the funny way he scrunched up his nose so he looked like he was smiling. About just how greedy he was and how he’d do anything for a treat! About his soft ears, his helicopter tail and his big wide eyes. I know the kids will mirror our reactions, so its important that they see us smiling. We have all had a cry together. We have talked about how it is ok to cry, ok to be sad. But important that we think about the things we loved about him. The things that made us happy.

This weekend Timm had to work away again, he took our two eldest children and my amazing friend Caroline came to stay. We had our two youngest kids with us and she has cooked, cleaned and cared for me. She is an awesome person and just a truly beautiful friend. How lucky am I? I cant be grumpy and sink into self pity when I have people around me who are so caring and wonderful.

positive thinking

I’ve said before and ill say again. I am BLOWN AWAY by the messages, cards, gifts, flowers, texts, phone calls and visits I have had from you all. Every single one genuinely makes me feel better. With all the support and care I have had from so many people, I choose to stay positive…

Thank you for reading and for caring.

Love Sam xxx

How Im feeling today

Firstly thank you so much for the wonderful response to my last blog post about Why Im Choosing to Have my Bowel Removed. I had so many messages and emails of support and so many from people facing their own battles. Every message is so greatly appreciated.

Today Im writing about feelings. About how I feel dealing with Ulcerative Colitis and how it affects me mentally and emotionally.

On Thursday my consultant upped my steroids again, I had tapered down but started flaring again. The meds don’t seem to be working. Im feeling worse and worse each day… Im waiting till 2pm so I can call my specialist nurse for advise on what to do next.

So here’s what Im feeling today…

ulcerative colitis feelings

Fear – Im afraid of what is going to happen to me – afraid of the medications, the thought of surgery. Im fearful that people will get fed up of me always being ill.

Sadness – Man, I feel so sad right now. It’s a sadness so deep it feels like a punch to the gut. Im VERY good at pasting a smile on my face and being the silly, happy joker but this sadness is creeping right through even my fakest of smiles.

Frustration – Im frustrated with my body, I wish I had a magic wand that would just make me not be sick…

Envy – I suppose this leads on from frustration. I envy people who are well and just wish I could have a normal body.

Anger – Im angry that this is the hand I have been dealt – I want to shout like a toddler ITS NOT BLOODY FAIR!

Anxiety – My anxiety levels are sky high, I lay in bed at night worrying about EVERYTHING.

Confusion – With all these other feelings going on it is probably not unusual that Im confused. At times I feel like I just want them to operate. Today. Then other times Im terrified and wonder if there are any other options. Should I be looking at a raw juice diet? What if I were more spiritual and started meditating and doing yoga every day? Perhaps if I could just lose weight it would be better? Or maybe it’s because I am stressed? Logically I know that I have a disease and this disease needs treating with medication, I didn’t do anything wrong to get this but at times I can’t help but blame myself.

Guilt – This is my biggy. I feel so guilty. All the time. I feel guilty that Im not the mother I should be because Im ill in bed. I feel guilty that my kids worry about my health. I feel guilty that the steroids make me have flashes of anger and I tell the kids off when they probably don’t deserve it. I feel guilty that my husband doesn’t have a ‘normal’ wife. I feel guilty that my friends and family have to help me out with childcare. I feel guilty that Im not pulling my weight with the business because Im laid in bed. I feel guilty that my husband has to take on both our roles. I feel guilty that I ruin days out because I need to be somewhere near a loo and then spend most of the day in the bathroom. I feel guilty that we can’t plan to do things because we don’t know how well I’ll be. I could go on forever… Guilt is a shit feeling.

Love – I thought Id end on a nice feeling. My husband is fab, he deals with my illness so well. He doesn’t pander to it, or treat me like a sick person. He takes the piss out of me. He makes me laugh. He sits with me when the insomnia kicks in and listens to my random questions about giraffes at 2am. He sends me to bed when he sees I am struggling. He takes on the roles that would usually be mine without complaint. He pinches my bum and tells me Im beautiful even when we both know I look like shit. He sits in bed with me and we play dice for hours. He tells me everything will be ok. He comes to my appointments and makes sure my voice is heard. He say ridiculously inappropriate things and makes me howl with laughter. He makes me feel better. He loves me.

Thanks for reading xxx