I can’t believe it has been five whole years since my little blog came to life and I am so proud of all I have been able to do in this time. I began the blog as a diary for myself, a cathartic space for me to blurt out all that was going on in my life, I thought that perhaps my sister and friends may read it, but I never thought I would be sat here with over 3 million views!!
In 2013, I started with a flare up that just wouldn’t shift and for the first time, the options of surgery were mentioned. I started to google and though I found lots of medical information, I couldn’t find any UK based bloggers who were talking about Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or life with an ostomy bag. There was one amazing American blogger called Inflamed and Untamed and her blog normalised this brand new life that I was facing, but there was a lot that didn’t feel very relevant to me as a Brit.
And so So Bad Ass came to life. A place for people to read about my experiences in the hope that they wouldn’t feel quite so alone if they were in a similar situation.
Five years, over 3 million views, TV appearances, magazine and newspaper articles, radio shows and talks all over the world, I can’t believe that I have been honoured enough to take the mantle and to become the poo lady!! I am so happy to have had such amazing opportunities and all of them came from this little part of the internet.
My first ever post on here was this picture… I am really pleased that my first message is still my strongest message, that kindness is at the root of all good things and that we all need to look after each other a lot more.
My first proper personal post was called Why Im choosing to have my bowel removed, a post about the options I was facing and my (probably somewhat naive) feelings about it all. Little did I know that this planned conversation with my consultant would never happen as within weeks, my flare up landed me in hospital for a week on IV steroids trying to relieve the symptoms and then I would face emergency surgery to remove my colon and get my first stoma, spend time in the HDU and then come to terms with the reality of life with an ostomy!
Five years and seven operations later, I have shared my story with you all, the highs and lows, the good times and the terribly shitty ones and I want to thank every one of you who reads, shares, likes and comments on this blog and my social media. I can’t explain how much it means.
I get hundreds of messages every month and I do my best to reply to each and every one, to know that people trust me with their stories and want to share with me means everything. To know that people all over the world think of me and send me their love brings me strength every time. I just can’t thank you all enough.
Life has changed so much in this time, highlights have been going on This Morning with Holly and Phil, going viral with the open letter, going on BBC breakfast, TWICE, going to the houses of parliament, doing talks in Edinburgh, Barcelona and many other places and co hosting an event with Ian Harding! It led me to work for the Metro and to so many unbelievable opportunities and experiences including my job at Scope and it developed my absolute joy and love of radio.
But more than any of those things, I just feel so honoured that I have been able to talk to so many people, to help and support, to give strength, honesty and hope. Every single message means the world, I don’t take this role lightly, I feel blessed to have this space and to have a voice and I hope I will always use it to help others and spread a bit of kindness.
Thank you to Timm, who always believed in me and helps me so much with the blog, he takes care of all the techy side of things, takes photos and is always there to bounce ideas off. He also doesn’t mind that I share so much of our life with the whole world! He is my rock and I don’t think I would have managed five years without him.
And so today I just want to celebrate this blog that came from such humble beginnings and has grown more than I ever thought possible. As I said, five years ago I couldn’t find one single UK based IBD blog and so I started my own, now there are hundreds if not thousands and I am chuffed that someone heading into ostomy surgery in 2018 won’t face the isolation and feelings of being totally alone as I did in 2013. They will be able to find so many stories to inspire them, bring them hope and answer their questions.
And that’s all I ever wanted, to bring some understanding around this disease and strip away the fears and taboos around ostomy bags and IBD. I wanted to be able to hold out a hand to someone and say ‘yes, I understand’, I wanted to share this journey I have been on to give it meaning and a reason! I wanted to help, and I hope I have.
Happy Birthday So Bad Ass – here’s to the next five years!!!
Love Sam xx