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A Light to Guide

I have worked with arts collective Responsible Fishing UK for the past eight years or so. It is made up of myself, my husband photographer Timm Cleasby, and our best friends; artist James Brunt and Graphic Designer Caroline Hayes. We have done work all over the UK and one of the projects I played a bigger part in was A Light To Guide, a story told through light tubes hung in a forest for Coastival in Scarborough.

I wrote the story of Johan, a little spider who goes on a journey through his home town of Scarborough and then the words were carved into cardboard tubes and lit from inside. We hung them in the woods so the story could be read as you walked through. You can watch the video here.

I have always loved creating art, whether that is through writing, textiles, ceramics, painting or any of the amazing projects I have been involved in with RF. Over the past year, this creativity has been a life saver. It has been my therapy, my escape and my joy. I have loved making more and more art projects but I have always felt a little shy in sharing them.

I want to change that. I want to recognise myself and know that it is OK to feel pride in the things I create. And so I thought I would start with the beautiful Light to Guide that I am so proud of. Hopefully, this will encourage me to share more.

Peace and love

Sam xx

Pouch issues

If you follow me on twitter or Facebook you may have seen that I’ve been having a few problems with my j pouch recently. After everything had settled a little, I was going to the toilet around 4-5 times a day which is pretty good for a pouchee. But for the last few weeks I have gone downhill and I’m currently going to the toilet 15-20 times a day and I’m having periods of bleeding.

I’m taking 4 loperamide a day and it’s just having no effect. I went into hospital last week for a flexible sigmoidoscopy/pouchoscopy and the results came back quite normal with a tiny bit of inflammation but not enough to be causing problems. So next step is to try and figure out what us causing the problems.

I have been tested for coeliac disease and I’m awaiting the results from that. I am going back into see Mr Brown on Thursday in clinic and we will see where we go next. Through email we have discussed a little plan of a low residue diet and using fybogel and then discussing an MRI to see if there’s any inflammation elsewhere in my system and use of medication.

So there’s the medical side… From a personal perspective I am struggling. I’m feeling quite down about this setback, it’s difficult to feel like I am back to square one. I’m going to the bathroom as much as I did during a flare up before my bowel was removed! It’s tough to feel like this after a years worth of surgeries and recovery.

I have been away this weekend with the marvellous Responsible Fishing, an arts group that I work with. We put on an event called Tidal Gatherings in Sandsend with stone balancing, sand and land art. It was fantastic but dealing with running to the toilet 20 times a day was very hard work. I had an accident once and waking several times a night was exhausting both physically and emotionally.

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It makes me feel a little removed from the situation when I’m like this. Like I can’t be fully engaged with the people around me as I’m constantly thinking about my guts and where the nearest toilet is. I feel like I need to just keep going and can’t let the team down but at the same time that I’m doing a half a job. All in all I’m just feeling quite sad.

I woke early one morning from our caravan and walked with Timm and our dog out to see the sunrise. I tried to find the silver lining by thinking about how I would have missed this gorgeous sight had I not been sleeping so poorly. That early morning silence was a really lovely time with just me and the husband and it was perfect.

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I’m worrying lately that having pouch surgery was a mistake. It is so hard at the minute and I kind of miss my ileostomy bag. Though it had it’s problems it did make running for the toilet fairly defunct! I was informed that recovery from pouch surgery can take up to two years and so I suppose that I need to have some patience.

I’m still really happy under Mr Brown and the team in Sheffield. These problems are unfortunate but I do feel like I’m being heard and that I’m being cared for really well. And so I will just have to see how I go, I will update after Thursday to see what happens next.

Thanks for reading

Love Sam xx