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Cure for sleepless nights with an ileostomy

Remember when I blogged about my lack of sleep? I’ve been waking once or twice a night for the last six months since my surgery to empty my bag.

It was starting to really get to me and I was struggling to deal with getting up in the mornings.

Well I have cracked it! It seems it was all about the fizzy drinks!!

I have cut carbonated drinks almost completely out of my diet and for the last 6 nights I have slept through. I think the fizz was causing gas which filled my bag and made me feel like I needed to get up and empty.

I feel like I’ve won the lottery!!! It’s such a great feeling to sleep all the way through the night, I’d forgotten just how much it is needed!

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I was told post surgery to avoid fizzy drinks but as I healed I drifted back into drinking coke or lemonade. I’ve reverted back to water, squash or juice and it really has solved the sleep problems completely.

I know things aren’t the same for all ostomates, it really is a case of trial and error.  The best advice I had regarding diet was just because something doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean it won’t forever, give it a few weeks and try again.  In the early days I just couldn’t manage onions, but now they cause no problems.

But for now fizzy drinks are all a no no and Im ok with that as I am finally sleeping!

Love Sam xx

Tiredness and Ileostomies

One of the things Im struggling with at the moment is tiredness.  They tell you before and after your operation that you may need to empty your bag several times a day and a couple of times through the night, but at those times you have bigger fish to fry.  Now on the whole I am well, Im used to dealing with my ileostomy bag and life is slowly get back to normal.  Having to wake two to three times a night is really getting to me.  Im so tired.

I wake at least once a night, but usually two or three times a night to empty my bag, this disrupted sleep pattern is touch to deal with.  I never wake in the morning feeling rested and ready for the day.  My husband has been great and he is getting up with the kids and doing the school run, but I feel guilty about that.

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Im trying to resolve this as much as I can by not eating after 6pm and getting early nights.  The problem is that I have so much going on at the minute that my head is buzzing with all the things I need to do that no matter how early I go to bed, I just can’t drop off.  I run photography company The Picture Foundry and as anyone who runs their own business knows, there is ALWAYS work to be done, Im also planning our wedding renewal which is happening in September and as a little sneaky whisper… we are moving house this year too! Shhhhh!!!!  All this along with having three kids, a dog, two cats and two chickens, running my family, caring for my own health and planning my next surgery means my life is a little hectic right now!!

The months of broken sleep are creeping up on me now, I haven’t had a full nights sleep since probably June last year when I started on the steroids… Man, now I have worked that out, it is NO WONDER Im exhausted!!!!  Im actually shocked at that.  To be honest it was probably before June as my flare up was bad before they steroid treatment began.

I can’t do anything about the reason Im waking through the night, I don’t have a large bowel and so my body can’t store waste, I have to wake to empty my bag and this is never going to change.  So after some extensive googling, I have come up with a few things that Im going to try to get a better nights sleep.

TURN OFF THE TV, COMPUTER AND PHONE

I have a terrible habit of bringing the laptop to bed, where I will either surf the internet, watch netflix or get work done.  This is such a bad thing to do, it means I have no winding down time and all that staring at a screen is bad for sleep, the artificial light apparently suppresses melatonin which is the hormone that regulates sleep patterns.

I have also started putting my phone on aeroplane mode and putting it in my bedside table so the buzzing doesnt disturb me and Im not tempted to pick it up!

MAKE THE BEDROOM DARK

I read this in a book recently and so we have been covering any little blinky lights in our bedroom as well as covering the alarm clock and making sure the curtains are shut tight and there is as little external light as possible.  I have an eye mask that Timm and the kids got my whilst I was in hospital and so this is going to make a comeback!

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AVOID BIG MEALS LATE AT NIGHT

This is a biggie for me as the reason I wake is because my ileostomy bag is filling with waste overnight.  You are apparently meant to limit drinks in the evening too but due to me being susceptible to dehydration I don’t do this.

EXERCISE

Regular exercise really helps with sleep, so Im aiming to exercise at least three times a week, whether it is swimming, the gym, a class or just a long dog walk.

MAKE YOUR ROOM A NICE PLACE TO SLEEP

Im trying to make my bedroom a bit of a sanctuary, a peaceful and restful place.  This is not easy with three kids.  Im forever finding lego in my bed and Monster High dolls under my pillow.  There is usually a stack of paperwork on my bedside table along with business books and a stack of laundry to be put away in the corner.  My room is usually a bit of a mess as its the last thing on my list of priorities.  I need to make it a priority.

I read something that said ‘Make your bed a place for ONLY sex or sleep’ – this makes a  lot of sense!!!

RELAXATION

As soon as I lay in bed, I start thinking of all the things I need to do, and it sometimes feels endless.  I worry about money, work, kids, my health, my family… Basically everything!!

I need to accept that I have a lot on right now and so Im writing lists.  If its on my mind, it goes on a list and hopefully this will help my inability to drop off once Im in bed.

If anyone has any other tips on sleep and tiredness, I would love to hear them!

Thanks

Sam xx

Sleep

After months of insomnia I’m thrilled to say that it is gone! That drug induced grind of being unable to sleep no matter how much I want to seems to have disappeared. The nights of being sat wide eyed and wired are in the past.

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But my sleep patterns are still a bit crazy. I wake several times a night, sometimes to empty my bag and sometimes just to ‘check’ my bag for leaks. I don’t think I’m really getting into that deep sleep, every noise and every creak wakes me. I can get back to sleep fairly easily and quickly but on average I wake 5-6 times a night and I’m tirrrrrred man.

Today is my first day back at work. Luckily I work from home running our business with my husband. (Take a look at The Picture Foundry ) so the stress isn’t on too much but I REALLY wanted to get up and do the school run this morning and I slept through the alarm. Timm has been doing all the school runs for 7 weeks now and I do feel guilty. Now I’m kind of back on my feet I know I need to share the role again but it’s so hard when I feel so exhausted.

My sleep patterns are really skewed, I can’t complain because after months of just NOT sleeping and having to take sleeping tablets it’s a joy to be getting any sleep. But it does make getting back to normal life a bit tricky. Waking at 7am and getting up to sort the kids then driving them to school just seems like a bit of a mountain to climb after a restless night.

Being a mum of three I have obviously had my share of restless nights, but when it is night after night and I’m never feeling fully rested or like I’ve had a deep sleep it is hard work getting through the day! I can’t even remember how I did this when the kids were little and I was up with babies in the night!!

It’s been 6 weeks since my surgery now and I’m feeling really good. Physically my wound is totally healed, I occasionally have a little pain in it. My stoma is working well, the stitches around it are healed and though I have the occasional leak, I’m kind if getting there with it. I still tire easily, doing normal every day tasks exhaust me and so I’m careful to allow myself rest and healing time still. Mentally I have good days and bad but it feels like there are more good ones! On the bad days I want to lie under the covers feeling sorry for myself, weeping and drowning my sorrows in tea. And so I do.

I allow myself to have shit days.  Days where I just don’t have the spirit to smile through the day, days where Im tearful and fed up, where I am pissed off and angry.  I think its important to let yourself release these feelings, that it helps with the healing process.  You need to have the dark times so you can appreciate the bright ones.  You know Im all about the positivity and so although I let myself have the pyjama days watching terrible tv and eating ice cream, I make sure that the next day I get up and do something that makes me feel good.  I won’t let myself go down a spiral of feeling lower and lower.

Today is a good day, Im off to walk the dog this morning and then back into the office to get back to work!

If only I can stay awake through it…

Love Sam xx