Tag Archive for: pouch

Medical Alert bracelets

I have been considering a medical alert bracelet for a while but haven’t seen one that I would actually WANT to wear till I stumbled upon the lovely Twisted Typist website and found this one.

medical alert bracelet for ibd jpouch

Medical Alert ID bracelets or necklaces are used for quick recognition of your medical conditions, allergies, medications, or treatment wishes leading to faster and more effective medical treatment.  Medical personnel are trained to first look for medical identification jewelry in an emergency and will immediately alert emergency medical professionals to your critical health and personal information.

It is questionable as to whether they are necessary for people with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohns unless you are on specific medication or have had surgeries.  It is a personal decision that can only be made by the person themselves.  Though it is recommended to wear a bracelet to alert caregivers that you have had colectomy and pouch procedures.

medical alert bracelets ibd pouch ostomy

I am still in two minds as to whether it is necessary but then I think about a scenario where I have an accident and am unconscious and alone, a medical alert bracelet would make sure the people who are in charge of my care know everything possible in order to avoid giving any medications or performing any dangerous procedures or operations.In the end I suppose it is up to you, if you are concerned have a chat with your doctor and see what their thoughts are.

I also saw this cute aluminium band that can be personalised with any writing you want and so could be used as alert jewellery.  If like me you have never seen any you like then do take the time to have good search, don’t limit yourself to the official ones, easy is fantastic for getting in touch with artists all over the world who make beautiful bespoke jewellery.

medical alert jewellery pouch ostomy ibd


Let me know what you think and post any recommendations in the comments!


Love Sam xx

Periods and IBD

I’m going to warn anyone who cringes and faints at the mention of “wimmins problems” to step away right now as this post probably isn’t for you…

Still here? Good. Let’s talk menstruation!

Now since my surgery to create a j pouch, things are, well, different down below.  I suppose it is to be expected, the new pouch is right up alongside my uterus and vagina and I was warned before the surgery that there could be changes in my vagina especially during the old sexy time.  But what I wasn’t expecting was the change in menstruation.  My periods are now particularly heavy and really painful, they are lessening in severity as the months pass but at first it was crippling, bent over, gripping the stomach, water bottle pain.  I am also finding that during my period, my pouch plays up.  I get a lot more diarrhoea and find myself going to the toilet a LOT.

periods and j pouches poo ibd menstruation

Annoyingly there is little information I can find about j pouches and menstruation, google brings up lots of personal accounts on blogs but little from the NHS or any other official websites.  It’s an odd thing really, you expect in this day and age that you can find out anything and everything online.  It got me thinking about how taboo menstruation is even in this day and age!

I have a friend called Chella Quint who is a menstruation education researcher and blogs, talks and writes about menstruation in her project #periodpositive  Her work shows just how little we like to talk about periods in general, about the historical use of shame and fear in advertising for sanitary products and how taboo a subject it is.

Chella also created the marvellously brilliant STAINS™, a spoof brand that explores blood stigma in menstruation product advertising. You can see the STAINS™ exhibition in the Bloodworks exhibition at Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin launching on 23 October. The STAINS™ section opens with a fashion show and mockumentary film, and the entire exhibition runs until the 25 January 2015.

“STAINS™ is a removable stain you can wear on your clothing as you see fit; it’s a fashion statement that really says something. We like to call it Leak chic. Be part of this fashion moment by downloading or purchasing your own STAINS™ stain from www.stainstm.com and wearing it with pride. Display your photos using the #periodpositive hashtag and following @periodpositive

stains chella quint



But it seems when it comes to periods AND poo, it’s just a step too far…

After scouring the web, here is some information on IBD and periods.  As with everything on this site, it is my opinion and information gleaned from the Internet so please do see your own doctors if you are having issues.

“Many women with active IBD have irregular periods. When the disease goes into remission, regular periods sometimes return. No one knows for sure why. But inflammation does affect the hormones that cause periods. Nutritional problems may also interfere with the monthly cycle of women with IBD.

Some women with IBD tend to feel worse right before and during their menstrual periods than at other times. Diarrhea, abdominal pain, exhaustion and other symptoms are often more severe during these times.”

periods ibd jpouch ulcerative colitis menstruation

“The interaction between GI function and menstrual function is complex, and not completely understood. Prostaglandins are an important part of the inflammatory process in active IBD, and are associated with diarrhea and abdominal pain. Prostaglandins are also released by the body during menstruation, causing contraction of uterine muscle and resulting in the cramping pain of periods. By this mechanism, symptoms attributed to menstruation and IBD may overlap.”

And I’m afraid that’s your lot.  Not much is it; this was the best information I could find regarding menstruation and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Anything specifically to do with a j pouch was even more rare!  I am really surprised at the lack of information on periods and jpouches, especially as it seems it is a big problem for a lot of women.  On many of the IBD blogs out there, women are discussing menstrual and sexual problems.  Some of the symptoms talked about are:

Increased diarrhoea

Pelvic pain

Bum pain

Heavy Bleeding

A heaviness in the vagina and pouch




Some coping methods found around the web are:

Painkillers (a struggle really as ibuprofen is a no no for IBD-ers and codeine can make you constipated)

Heat pads

Bed rest

Mirena coil

Contraceptive pill


I am shocked at the lack of easily available information on menstruation and also sexual problems associated with IBD surgeries.  I have found pages and pages of advice and care for men facing impotency issues following surgeries but anything to do with the vagina is shied away from and labeled as ‘intimacy issues’.  For we are but delicate flowers who can’t deal with talking about our own sexuality, no?

I’m not one to talk about my personal sex life on this blog, and the reason for this is that I have three kids who I know peek in from time to time.  I have an open and honest relationship with my children and we talk about sex and all the issues surrounding sex regularly.  But no one needs to read about their mother’s vagina do they!  What I will say is that I am dealing with problems post surgery and I want advice, information and resources to deal with it, yet turning to Dr Google is pretty useless! Where is all the gynae information?!

What we need is to have a more open dialogue regarding any bodily function that goes on within the underpant area.  I find it hilarious (read appalling) that we still have Page Three girls in a daily newspaper yet we can’t discuss the uterus without men gagging.  For the record, this idea that all men find periods gross is silly, yes, there are men whose ears are offended by the M word but to them I scream MENNNNSSSSTRRRRUUUUUAALLLLLL BLLLLLOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDD…  Most men in long term relationships have overcome the pubescent thoughts that it’s gross ‘girl stuff’ and recognise that it is a healthy part of the woman in their lives body.

So apologies if you found this page hoping for some answers, I’m afraid I can’t give those.  But I hope I have given you hope that you aren’t alone in dealing with this and I hope you will go speak to your doctor and get some answers of your own.  Finally I hope I have inspired you to start talking about traditionally personal and intimate issues that most women have at some point in their lives.  Please do take a good look through Chella’s work and share, it is damn fine stuff and helpful to us all.

If you have any experience, advice or links to information, it would be great if you could share them in the comments below.

Muchos Gracias!

Love Sam x

Adventures in Menstruating image courtesy of Chella Quint


So for the past two weeks I have been bleeding, Ive kept it to myself as we had our wedding renewal on Saturday and I just wanted the day to be about Timm and I, not about my illness.  Our whole lives had been about my illness for the past year and so I kept my mouth shut and just dealt with the symptoms.

After the wedding I got in touch with Mr Brown, my consultant and today I saw him in clinic, because of the quite heavy bleeding and increased pooling along with a hefty load of fatigue he suspects I have pouchitis.  I had bloods taken today and Ive been booked in for an urgent flexible sigmoidoscopy.  Im pretty gutted and feel like my recovery is being hindered once again, but Im glad my doctor takes it seriously and is getting me sorted asap.  The treatment is a course of antibiotics but we are waiting for confirmation that my markers are up from the blood tests before starting that.

Pouchitis is when an internal pouch becomes inflamed. It is a common complication in people with an ileo-anal pouch or continent ileostomy.

Symptoms of pouchitis include:

  • diarrhoea, which is often bloody
  • abdominal pains
  • stomach cramps
  • a high temperature

Im trying to keep my chin up but to be honest I do feel a bit down about it all.  After the massive highs of the wedding renewal it feels like a real bump back down to earth.  I spent the whole wedding day rejoicing on just how far I have come, thinking about how there were points when I was really ill and in hospital that I couldn’t imagine making it to that day.  But all the while I was thinking about this bleeding and worrying about the causes and feeling set back.

wedding renewal sheffield rock n roll

Pouchitis is a common problem for people with a pouch and so Im relieved that its probably just that but in this recovery it seems to be two steps forward and one step back.  I need to remember that though this is a step back, I am always moving forward and things are getting better.

I have been given picolax to prepare for the flexible sigmoidoscopy which seems pretty scary.  I have of course had so many camera tests and so had all the laxatives before but now I have no large bowel, I can’t imagine what the results will be!! I had a flexi sig last time I was admitted to hospital and though I was terrified before I went in, it was actually less painful than I imagined.  Im not happy about having to have more tests but I am glad it is getting under control and I feel heard and cared for.

Ill keep you all updated!


Sam x


PS My AMAZING ‘prickly tits’ dress is from Syd and Mallory in Sheffield.

As I sit here on a bidet crying…

Well THERE’S a title I never thought I would post!

Seriously though if you are reading this looking for some of my usual positivity, step away now. I am writing this in my bathroom sat on a bidet having spent the last 20 minutes crying. Right now I am feeling bloody sorry for myself.

My kids are away this weekend at scout camp and as they have a whale of a time, Timm and I are having a weekend to ourselves and so far it’s been fab. On Friday I had a new tattoo!!! By the fantastic Glen at Fat Stans in Dinnington, my newest tattoo is line drawings of flowers. My tattooist is great and I’d recommend him very highly, I know he reads this blog from time to time and he makes a point of asking me about my surgery and recovery. It is brilliant to talk about it and normalise the whole process!


Last night we had friends over and had a brilliant evening with good food, booze and daft games. Today we have been to a double bill cinema day (Tammy and The hundred year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared)

I was having stomach pains in the cinema and had to go to the bathroom a couple of times. I HATE going to public toilets now. The reason is embarrassing. When I go for a poo since having my pouch surgery it is VERY loud. The passing of stool comes with gas and it sounds pretty much like this.

The plan was to then come home, have a Chinese and just hang out together. Only I was desperate for the loo, we’ve got home and unfortunately my (hilarious) chalk board has been reset to 0…


As much as my comedy board does make me chuckle sometimes today it’s made me so sad. It was on 7 and so this feels like a huge set back. I’m embarrassed. I’m angry. I’m heart broken.

I don’t want to write about this really as I don’t want everyone to know.

But I promised myself I would talk about all aspects of my disease, surgery and recovery.

I hate that my husband has to deal with this. I hate it. I don’t want him to see me like this. He is wonderful and just gives me a kiss and tells me it’s fine. But I feel like I’ve taken a punch to the gut when I think about how this aspect of my illness makes me feel so low.

I’m sat on a bidet because of the butt burn. I’ve yet to blog about this yet. Basically the large intestine neutralises the stomach acid in poo. Without it, my waste is really acidic and harsh on my skin. I wear creams and potions to help but sometimes it’s still unbearable. It feels like acid is burning into my butt. It’s itchy, painful and does really feel like a burn.

So I’m feeling particularly pathetic tonight. Please forgive my moaning but right now I just feel weepy, sad and disgusting.

All I can do is dry my eyes and remember tomorrow is a new day.

Thanks for reading, at the times when I doubt whether I should write about these things, when I cringe at the thought of people reading this and laughing or judging me I remember the reason I do this. The reason I run this blog and bare my soul is to share my experiences, #stoppoobeingtaboo and to hopefully make life a tiny but easier for others living with ulcerative colitis, crohns or with an ostomy or a pouch.

I know this helps because every day I get emails, messages and comments from people all over the world telling me it’s helping them. I am eternally grateful for every one of these messages, I can’t put into words how important it feels to be making a difference in the lives of others and it spurs me to continue.

If you are reading this as an IBD patient and I’m scaring you I am sorry, the only thing I can say is this.

You are not alone. You CAN get through this. It’s OK to have rubbish days as long as you pick your self up the next day and carry on being awesome and so bad ass.

And now I’m off to take my own advice!!

Sam xxxxx


I just wanted to say a quick ‘I’m sorry’ for not blogging much at the minute. This surgery has hit me so much harder than last time and I just have no inspiration to write.

It’s an odd feeling for me as usually writing is my escape and feels so cathartic but right now I’m struggling to put pen to paper and I’m not sure why.

I think I’m filled with chaotic emotions at the minute and I’m struggling to share that with anyone. Everyone around me is being so kind, supportive and loving but a part of me still feels numb to it. I can’t really explain my feelings. I don’t understand them so it’s nigh impossible to get them out on paper in any way that makes sense.


I’m definitely starting to feel more human, the painkillers are working well and so at least I’m pain free, I’m still in the phase where I have to go to the loo every 3 hours, including through the night so I’m quite tired. But everything seems to have gone well, my pouch is functioning properly and my wounds are healing really well.

Physically I’m doing good but emotionally I’m a bit all over the place. I’m finding it really tough to communicate this with anyone though as I really don’t understand it myself. It’s easier to smile and say everything’s ok than to be a stuttering idiot who can’t explain how I’m feeling.

I’m just having to remind myself that I’m only three weeks out of major life changing surgery and so I’m bound to be a little mixed up.

I’ll get there. I know I will. I just need to take one day at a time.

Sam xxxx

Feelings about surgery

I am struggling to write this post.  I just don’t seem to be able to find the words, which is an odd feeling for a loud mouth like me.  I am due to have my pouch surgery in the next 5 weeks though I don’t have a date yet, and Im terrified.

I was scared before the last surgery but I was so ill that I knew I had little option but to have my bowel removed, but this surgery is different.  I am making the choice to have this one, I could choose to keep my ileostomy forever and the idea is tempting.  Now I am used to the bag, it causes few problems day to day, my hernia is a problem but that could be fixed and I could keep my bag.

sam cleasby so bad ass ulcerative colitis blog sheffield

But I am choosing to go for the pouch surgery to give myself an opportunity to have a more normal digestive system.  The surgery means that my small intestine will be formed into a pouch and connected back to my rectum so I will no longer have a bag and will go to the toilet ‘normally’.

I say ‘normally’ but it will never be back to normal again.  The pouch will be a lot smaller than a colon and so can’t hold as much, so I’ll be going to the toilet 5-10 times a day.  Also the colon takes a lot of the liquid out of food which is why normal poos are reasonably solid, as I don’t have a colon, my poo will be liquid all the time.  The colon also neutralises a lot of the stomach acid from our food, with my bag if I get the poo on my skin it can burn and make it really sore.  I will have this same issue with my bum when I have the pouch getting the dreaded “butt burn”.

The surgery itself is a long one, 6-7 hours I have heard and then Im having the hernia repair as well and so I am really nervous about the actual surgery and being under anaesthetic for all that time.  I have huge fears that something will go wrong and I won’t wake up.

The recovery is meant to be very difficult.  Ill have at least ten days in hospital as I am having the one step pouch surgery which means I won’t be allowed solid food for 10 days and all liquid has to be measured in and out…

I haven’t used my bum muscles for over 6 months now and so that combined with the new pouch and my intestines being forced to perform a job they were never meant to do means there is a good chance of incontinence in the first few months.  I am embarrassed to talk about this but this blog is meant to be about honesty I suppose.  There is a chance Ill have to wear some kind of sanitary device at night to keep clean.  Im devastated about this possibility.  I literally feel sick at the thought of it.  As I write this I am unsure whether I can hit publish as Im so upset about it.

Full recovery can take 12 -18 months, this is the length of time it can take for the pouch to be at full working order.  It is going to be a long hard slog, I am trying to prepare friends and family for the difficulty of my recovery as I feel that people are expecting me to bounce back from this surgery as I did with my bag but the fact is that this recovery is going to take longer and affect me a lot more.

I feel quite a lot of pressure actually.  Pressure of others expectations, which I know is daft and what will be will be, but I do worry that people are going to be shocked at how tough this op is to get over both physically and mentally.

Im scared.  Terrified to be honest.  Im scared that I won’t be able to cope, that Im going to be house ridden for months and months.  Im scared I won’t be able to deal with it emotionally and mentally as well as physically.  Im quite good at being tough, but Im not so good when I feel out of control.  Im worried I am making a mistake, should I just keep my bag forever? Logically I know that this is what I want to do, I know that if the pouch recovery goes terribly wrong that I will be able to go back to a stoma and bag, but if I choose to keep the bag now there is no going back as the removed everything in the rectum and anus and sew it all up, so I want to at least attempt to live with a pouch.

Timm is, as ever, being amazing.  He listens to all of my worries and we talk through everything, he tells me he will be there every step of the way.  I suggested we sleep separately whilst I recover and he has just plain refused, which I am secretly pleased about.  I just felt that I should give him the option of sleeping away from me during the first tough months but he says we will always share our bed no matter what.  He talks with me about coping strategies and if all else fails, he makes terrifically sick jokes that make me laugh.  A lot.

sam cleasby so bad ass ulcerative colitis blog sheffield

So there it is, this is how Im feeling right now.  Shaky, emotional, frightened yet oddly looking forward to the surgery just being over and done with.  I will, of course, be blogging as much as I can through my treatment.  Please keep commenting, emailing, calling, texting and messaging me.  Your support means the world and I feel properly blessed to be able to share my journey with you all.

Much love

Sam xx

J Pouch surgery

So this morning I had an appointment with my lovely surgeon Mr Brown, it was an 8.30am appointment and so with it being half term we got the kids ready and set off at 7.30.

We got to the hospital, parked and was in the clinic for 8.15. The receptionist said she couldn’t check me in as she was medical and I had to wait for the surgical receptionist to get there. At 8.35 she arrived and then told me we were at the wrong hospital!!!

I showed her my letter that said it was at this hospital and she said ‘oh yeah, we sent the wrong letter!’

We then had to drive across Sheffield in rush hour traffic to get to the other hospital right on the other side of the city and just wait to be fitted in.

I could have cried! You work yourself up for these appointments, worrying about what the outcome will be and to then face more travel and time is a total pain.

so bad ass sam cleasby ibd awareness

Anyway we eventually saw the surgeon. Timm came with me for moral support and to remember the questions I always forget I want to ask and the answers given that drift out of my head before I reach the lifts.

Mr Brown is so nice, he’s my favourite doctor and always makes me feel better. We discussed the hernia that I have developed (Ill be doing a separate blog post about that) and then we talked through the pros and cons of pouch surgery.

I have to have a test done to check the muscle strength in my arse… Lovely. Basically they put a tube up your bum and it checks the pressure and sensitivity of your butt muscles. If they aren’t strong enough, it’s a good indicator that post pouch surgery you could be incontinent.

I’ve never had issues with that before so were all hopeful it won’t be an issue. Once that test is done, he is happy to go ahead with the surgery. Due to work and family commitments we have asked for the surgery to be done at the end of September or beginning of October.

Our photography business The Picture Foundry is sooooo busy at the minute, I also work with arts collective Responsible Fishing and this summer is crazy busy for us with creative workshops for children, arts installations and festivals.

I also am beginning to get busy with presenting talks on self esteem and body image and working with teenagers on a whole host of projects. I’m writing a lot more and got a few guest posts on blogs, magazines and even a bit of copywriting and blog writing for other companies on the go.

Oh yeah, and I’m moving house and renewing my wedding vows!!! So I have just a bit on my mind right now.

But come October things will calm down a bit and I can afford to have the time off work and timm will be less busy and able to look after the kids and me.

so bad ass sam cleasby ibd awareness

So the surgery…

colectomy and ileostomy diagram

The first picture is a normal digestive system, the second is after a colectomy and showing an ileostomy.  Im currently at the second picture stage.

J-pouch diagram

This is what the digestive system looks like after j-pouch surgery. You can see that the entire colon has been removed and that only the small intestine is left.  The end of the small intestine currently forms my ileostomy, during pouch surgery the surgeon constructs a pouch out of the small intestine by folding it up on itself and making it into a reservoir.  This is then attached to the anal canal.

This is called pouch surgery or ileo-pouch anal anastomosis or IPAA… Also known as J pouch, Internal Pouch or ileo-anal pouch.

After this surgery I will no longer have my stoma or ileostomy bag, my waste will go through my system and then be stored in the pouch, because I still have control of the muscles in my bum I’ll be able to hold waste and pass it normally into the toilet.

There are a few issues surrounding pouch surgery, one is that as the pouch is no where near as big as my large intestine was, Ill need to go to the toilet quite a few times a day.  Most people after everything is settled go 4-6 times a day or whenever they pee.  This may seem like a lot to someone without IBD but when I was having a flare of of Ulcerative Colitis I could be going 20-25 times a day with urgent, bloody diarrhoea and painful stomach cramps.  Currently with my ileostomy I go to the toilet and empty my bag around 5 times a day plus once or twice during the night, so this part doesnt bother me too much.

Other problems can be butt burn… basically, the large intestine neutralises your poo, when you don’t have that, the waste that leaves your system is quite acidic.  Currently with an ileostomy if I get waste on my skin through leaking, it can burn my skin and leave it really sore.  So after pouch surgery that same waste will be coming out of my butt.  Hence the butt burn.  Using a barrier cream and baby wipes is told to really help with this and apparently the skin soon toughens up and learns to deal with it!

Pouchitis is inflammation of the pouch, it is treated with a course of antibiotics.

Mr Brown would like me to have the one step surgery.  This means that the pouch will be formed and connected in one step, Ill wake up without an ileostomy.  It requires at least 10 days in hospital, during this time I will be on a liquid only diet and have a tube placed into the pouch that will irrigate it three times a day.

The alternative is the two step surgery in which the pouch is formed and attached, but another ileostomy is created further up the digestive system to divert waste from the pouch till it is full healed.  Then after a few weeks, the second surgery is performed to close up the ileostomy and the pouch begins to work.

There are risks to both, as with any surgery.  The one step is quite a tough recovery but I trust my doctor and having researched a lot I am happy to go with the one step. (I think!!!)

There are risks associated with fertility, but as I already have three kids and Im definitely not planning any more this isn’t a problem for me.  Other potential problems are internal leaking which can lead to all manner of bad juju, incontinence, abcesses, fistulas and all manner of other scary stuff.

I really want to go into surgery as informed as possible, its so important to me to feel like I know exactly what Im getting into BUT I have just spent the last hour terrifying myself by reading forums of people with pouches.  I need to remember that people are more likely to write about bad experiences than good ones.  There are always complications and problems possible with any surgery, its not good to get caught up on every single what if.  Ive done my research, spoke to my surgeons and specialised nurse and I *think* I have made up my mind.

Its not an easy decision.  My ileostomy is now healed and I have very few issues with it, I eat pretty much what I want with only a few exceptions and my life is a million times better than before I had surgery.  So it does feel like a risk to have another surgery that could possibly make things difficult again for a while.

They say it takes around 18 months for your body to become used to the pouch.  Thats a bloody long recovery time, but the chances are good that my life will be better and I won’t have the ileostomy bag any more.

As for success rates of pouch surgery, the generally accepted figures are these…

40% will be perfect/excellent

40% will be acceptable with some issues

10% will be poor but the patient will put up with the problems as they are stoma averse

10% will need to be defunctioned

So I have an 80% chance that things will be fine.  I need to remember this when Im stressing out and crying because Im reading yet another forum with people screaming their woes.

Im feeling quite stressed about the whole decision process, but Im lucky to have a fab husband to support me and a great doctor who in knowing my worries has given me his email address so I can talk any concerns through direct with him.

Thanks for reading

Sam xxx

Pouch surgery after ileostomy – making the decision

I had my first surgery on 3rd September and that was a subtotal colectomy with ileostomy.

My options from that point are…

To keep the ileostomy permanently, this would mean one more surgery where they remove all my rectum and anus and sew everything up! (Barbie butt…)

To have a pouch made out of my small intestine that is attached to my butt so that I can then empty my bowels through my bum and not have an ileostomy any more. This is two more surgeries.

To wait. There is no immediate need to make the decision. I can wait till I’m entirely sure. They like you to make the decision within 3-5 years as the risk of cancer in the rectal stump (least attractive words ever…) increases after this point.

There are pros and cons to all options. I’m dealing with my bag well now, but I just don’t know whether I’m happy to have it forever. The surgery is so FINAL…

But the pouch surgery can be a difficult recovery. They say to give yourself a year to recover. The muscles in my arse haven’t worked for do long that it takes a while to re learn how to use them. The pouch is also quite small and so learning how to use it can take time.

There’s also the thought of two more surgeries which is pretty terrifying.

I’m scared of going back to hospital, I’m scared of being helpless again and I’m scared that the recovery will break me.

BUT I think I have made the decision.

I’m not ready to give up on my arse, as much as my bag is now easier to deal with I just don’t think I want to keep it forever without even trying the pouch surgery. So I’m going to see my consultant in a couple of weeks to let him know that I’d like to move forward.

My life is currently crazy busy, between our family photography business, family stuff, planning our wedding renewal, a summer working with our arts group Responsible Fishing around the UK and a million and one other things, I’m hoping that the surgery could take place after September when things should calm down a little!!

The decision is a big one and I’ve spent a long time deciding what I want to do as well as talking to my husband and a lot of people on forums around the net. Who knows if it’s the right one? If the pouch surgery didn’t work or just wasn’t the right option for me, I now know that I could deal with keeping my bag forever, but I think I’ll regret not trying to regain a more normal life and having the pouch.

I’ll post more after my hospital appointment!

Sam xxx