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Christmas Gifts for people with an ostomy or IBD

It is coming up to my favourite time of the year, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! And so I thought I would pull together a few ideas for christmas gifts for friends or family with IBD, especially those with an ileostomy or a jpouch.

 

SPA TREATMENTS

I love a massage and adore a relaxation day in a spa, but with an ostomy there were a few alterations I needed to make.  I could never feel comfortable laying on my front, the weight pressing on the bag made me nervous about leaks and the pressure on my stoma was uncomfortable.  But there are tons of other treatments that would be great.  Just be aware that some treatments require you to fill out medical forms before hand and may not offer treatments if surgery was recent.  It is best to give them a call and chat with the therapist.

I would definitely recommend the Clumber Park Hotel and Spa, there are a variety of spa packages to all different budgets and the setting is gorgeous.  I have been invited to spend the day at their spa and so look forward to giving you all a full review of the experience soon!

climber park spa

FOOD AND DRINK

A christmas hamper, bottle of fizz or box of chocolates are usually an easy gift, but it is worth considering that some people have to alter their diet quite a lot with IBD.  Many people with an ostomy avoid nuts, some avoid carbonated drinks, some avoid dairy and some really struggle with fruit and veg.

It is such a minefield that it may be worth asking them first if there is anything they don’t eat or drink.

 

CLOTHES

If you are buying for someone with an ostomy, you need to be aware of waistbands, and unfortunately not all stomas are in the same place so it can be difficult to gauge.  When people have asked me for advice I tend to go for the simplest option, so when asked which pyjamas to buy for a woman with a stoma, I suggested a nightie instead.  For men I would go for a dressing gown and slippers.

stoma ileostomy bag woman junk food ulcerative colitis crowns ibd

Again everyone is so different, I didn’t mind wearing tight fitting clothes where you could see the outline of my bag, for others they may prefer something baggy and loose fitting.

 

GIFTS TO PASS THE TIME

For someone who is often ill and sometimes spends time either as an in patient or at many hospital appointments, items to pass the time can be a life saver.  I bought myself a kobo e-reader last year and people bought me kobo vouchers so I could buy whichever books I wanted.  It was fantastic to be able to have so many things to read on hand in a package that fit in my dressing gown pocket!

Other things could be a magazine subscription, my favourites are Psychologies (currently £22.85 for 12 months with a great free gift!) and National Geographic (currently just £19 for 12 months with a free fleece jacket)

App vouchers

Itunes vouchers

kobo e reader

 

PAMPER TIME

For women I don’t think you can go wrong with some great beauty products, I ADORE L’Occitane hand creams, they are a bit of a luxury treat that always make me smile.

Lush also do some amazing ranges and I find the staff instore so helpful, go in and ask for help and advice.  When I had my stoma I was very careful about using any bathing products or cream around the ostomy that could dry out or irritate the skin but found their products really lovely to use.  Plus any gift given to me that is wrapped in a gorgeous scarf will always be a winner!

LUSH GIFTS FOR IBD

USEFUL GIFTS

I recently spoke to a reader by email who wanted to do something nice for a friend who was in hospital after having an ileostomy formed.  She asked for advice on a gift and I suggested an IBD Hospital gift hamper including the following;

Eyemask and earplugs – Essential for getting any sleep in hospital!

Nice hand cream

Organic, non carbonated dilute squash

Notepad and pen

Slippers – the ‘slip on’ kind as you don’t want anything that you need to bend down to put on

A home made voucher offering a cooked meal/house cleaning/babysitting/movie night – just to remind them you will be there when they get home.

 

FUNNY GIFTS

I would definitely laugh at a poo based joke gift.  Only you know your friend/family member and so if you think they have a sense of humour about it all, what about something a little bit funny?

52 Things to Do While you Poo perhaps?

A Bristol Stool chart mug?

bristol stool chart mug

Anything from poopsoap.com…

 

POO POURRI

Yep, you heard me… Poo pourri is a toilet air freshener with the BEST EVER ADVERT…

 

A MEDICAL ALERT BRACELET

Read about why these are a good idea here, I especially like the ones from Twisted Typist.

medical alert bracelet for ibd jpouch

 

And finally…

 

If you have a spare £500, how about a heated toilet seat bidet magical loo thingamabob? Yes, really…

With a hot seat, bum wash, massage and a blow drier, this is the ultimate toilet for your IBD mate!

bidet heated toilet seat

 

 

If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know by using the comment box below.

Happy shopping!

 

Love Sam x

 

A day of firsts…

A day of firsts and not all good ones Im afraid.

The day started at 4am when I woke to find my bag had somewhat exploded…  Im thinking making it three weeks before having a full blown blast out is good though, yes? Poor old Timm was woken up and helped sort me out and get me in the shower whilst he did a full bed strip and got some washing on.  I know this is gross, but it’s life for someone with a stoma so I thought it was important to share.  Basically my bag was completely filled with air and so all output was forced out of the sides of the flange (best word ever)… Not a good start to the day.

Anyway this morning my lovely friend Caroline took me into Sheffield for a bit of shopping.  Its the first time I have been out without Timm in a month so it was a little nerve racking but lovely, we went to the Forum for brunch and it was just so nice to be out as a ‘normal’ person.  We chatted, shopped and were generally just a bit giddy.  Ive not had enough giddiness in my life for the past few weeks so it was fantastic to have some time with my friend.

We did have a bit of a laugh when I was explaining to Caroline about ‘phantom rectum’ which is where despite the fact that I have no colon and nothing is connected, I sometimes feel that I need a poo… This is known as a phantom rectum – As I was giggling about the funny name, her response was “Well it does have a ring to it!” Cue hilarity…

Then comes my next first.  I went to the loo and realised I had some leakage on my bag, so I came out and used the disabled loo and my radar key for the first time! I also had to do a clean up and put a new flange and bag on in a public toilet! A bit terrifying as so far Im used to taking my time and doing it in my bedroom.  But I managed it and was just really glad I had my full pack up of products with me.  It really made me realise the importance of being able to use the disabled toilets.  I need the space, but more importantly the use of the basin in the cubicle.  Also the importance of having a spare set of everything I need to do a change.

stoma products

I got a travel bag from Fittleworth who are my delivery company for all my ostomy supplies.  Its not the most fashionable thing in the world but it keeps everything together and was a lifesaver today.  The only thing is that its quite big and so I need a large handbag to fit it in.  I have a couple of larger bags but thought it was VERY IMPORTANT that I had another… Right?? I bought this beauty today from one of my favourite shops Within Reason by The Bombay Satchel Company.

bombay satchel company bag

 

Coming home from our few hours out, I could barely keep my eyes open.  I can’t believe how exhausted I feel after doing so little.  Its a reminder that my body is still mending and healing and though I have more energy now, I really need to make sure I don’t push myself too hard.

So Im off for a nap now to recover from a hard day drinking tea, eating and shopping!!

Love Sam xx

First day out after surgery

Tomorrow my eldest son becomes a teenager!!! Surely I’m not old enough for this? I still feel like a teen myself never mind mother of a teen!

So today we needed to go shopping for his birthday presents, everything is last minute because of the manic last three weeks. Timm was happy to go alone to get everything but as I’m feeling stronger each day I thought today could be the day to get out of the house!

It felt so good to dry and straighten my hair for the first time in three weeks. I had it cut by a lovely local mobile hairdresser last night so I immediately felt better. My hair has been scraped up in a bun and gripped back for weeks, totally neglected and due to meds and surgery was feeling dry, brittle and was snapping off on the ends.

I put on some make up and then faced my wardrobe…

I’ve been worrying quite a bit about clothes. I’m just not sure what to wear, trousers need to go under or allllll the way over my stoma and bag. Underneath is fine but then tops need to be long enough to cover the bag. Tight tops like vests would be perfect but they all seem a little short. Long tops or dresses cover the bag but then I feel like its kind of swinging freely which doesn’t fill me with confidence.

My mum suggested getting some if those over the bump maternity trousers. At first the thought of having to wear maternity clothes depressed the life out of me. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

So today I wore I pair of high waisted, wide legged trousers. They were just the right height on my waist and kept everything tucked tight against my stomach. And a black vest with a stripy cardi. It felt great to be back in ‘real’ clothes. I felt more like myself today.

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Ileostomy bag wise – I’m currently using a two piece system. I chose the midi bag today over the maxi that I’ve been wearing since the op. I do have some mini but I worried about how often I’d have to empty that so went down the middle. If anyone has questions about the bags, please feel free to ask. Ill do a post about them soon.

So off to Meadowhall we went!

I was really nervous, I was worried my bag would leak and generally just worried about being out in public! I worried Id be knocked into or maybe I’d fall. It’s an odd sensation to be out somewhere so busy after spending so much time in hospital or at home. Timm was with me and made sure I took it slowly and best of all, he carried all the bags!!

I took a spare kit with everything Id need to change the whole bag plus a set of clothes just in case.  It made me realise that I would feel a lot more confident if I knew I could use the disabled loos.  Partly for the space and partly as they have a basin in the cubicle so if there were any issues I could deal with it all in private.  Definitely need to get one of the disabled loo keys

We went for lunch at Eds American Diner, the food was great and if you go to their site and sign up to their club, you can get a free burger and then we got Charlie’s birthday pressies.

We then went to H&M where I bought two pairs of maternity jeans. They are perfect!! The waist band sits on my hips under the stoma but the elasticated top goes over the stoma and bag holding it close against my body. I’m not necessarily trying to hide the bag but trying to make it both comfortable and allow myself to feel confident. When it’s held against my body it feels safe. When it feels safe, I feel a lot more confident!!

Also got a new pair of boots because… well I think I deserve them!

All in all its been a great day with a big move forward.  Im tired out tonight but it was all worth it.

Love Sam xx